Sprint Nextel recently developed a flexible set of space, furniture, workplace, and technology guidelines called Sprint Mobile Zones that individual teams within the company can use to develop workspace and programmatic arrangements that best support their particular needs:
[The guidelines] encompass not only new space and furniture standards, but also new technology and altered workplace policies. Each Sprint Mobile Zone uses policies and design criteria outlined in the company’s guidelines, but implementation of these elements varies based on individual project constraints such as time, funding or cultural issues. Sprint’s goal is to save cost, improve process and increase mobility.
By giving teams a flexible set of guidelines and policies to configure based on their needs, the company has invested in change management in way that increases employee involvement, commitment, and satisfaction:
Sprint used the same basic change management principles for each project, but modified the message and delivery based on the culture of the target group. Sprint’s process involved identification of a sponsor, or senior-level person, to initiate the change and take responsibility for the project’s ultimate success. A change agent was assigned to implement the process. Advocates were identified to advance the change, and identify and remedy roadblocks in “selling” the change. Sprint aims for approximately one advocate per 25 associates.
If you think that managing change sounds like a lot of work, consider this: A study conducted by the International Workplace Studies Program at Cornell University indicated greater dollar investments in change management produced better employee satisfaction with new workplaces. In fact, greater investment per employee can more than double the employee commitment to the new workplace strategy.
At the end of 2008, Sprint had moved about 5,000 people into Sprint Mobile Zones, with a productivity increase of 30 percent, equating to $4.4 million in annual revenue. As of October 2009, the organization has shed about 1 million square feet of space, with annual real estate savings of $25 million.
Through post-occupancy evaluation, Sprint discovered its pilot program resulted in happier people in a more densely populated space with smaller, more open workspaces. Surveys showed a significant increase in satisfaction for mobile workers: 72 percent would recommend mobility to their peers. Best of all, 100 percent of employees indicated they preferred their new space over the old workplace and would not go back to the old way.