The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be. – Reid Hoffman
If you know anyone who works at Southwest Michigan First, you might know that we recently moved offices again. Not physically left our address, but within the building we rotated offices and desks. This office rotation strategy is something that I’ve shared before on the blog, but each time we move it is usually for completely different reasons. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, read here first.
Today, I’m pulling back the curtain a little more on this concept and sharing the top 5 reasons to rotate offices:
1. When you are a small organization with people who specialize in their own responsibilities, it can make an organization vulnerable. If someone gets ill or decides to leave the team, there could be a fairly significant gap until they can be replaced or responsibilities can be shared. As a leader, this could keep you from sleeping some nights.
Changing offices and sharing space allows people to learn each other’s roles and understand how each person makes decisions, simply through proximity. Even if you don’t lose a team member, but they are out of town traveling and an important issue comes up, the team can now jump in and say, “I know how they would handle that. I can lead on this.” Simply moving offices every 6 months or so creates great value for the organization without having redundancies that you can’t afford.
2. Rotating offices also fosters incredible creativity and innovation. By putting two people together who do different things and exposing them to new information, all of a sudden you come up with solutions and creative ideas that wouldn’t have happened any other way. Serendipity takes overs and the pieces often fall together on major initiatives just as they should.
3. When I start to notice that people are gathering too much stuff in their offices like boxes, extra pairs of shoes, lots of paper files, it is a good time to rotate. This move encourages everyone to take their extra stuff home or move files from paper to digital and cut back on the junk. I just finished a book called Essentialism that talks about making sure you are investing in the things that are essential for your life, not the clutter. By rotating offices, it forces us all to do away with the clutter and focus on what is essential to move our mission forward.
4. Perhaps one of the best benefits is the pure energy it creates. By changing environments, it creates energy and new perspective that far exceeds the effort it takes to move things around. This recent move happened in just one day and you can feel the fresh energy that came with it. In fact, I think most people on the team even look forward to a move every half year or so.
5. Last, and I mentioned this in the previous blog post, it builds chemistry. New team members share new ways of thinking and experienced team members help extend our culture and brand. By putting the creative writers together with the jobs project leaders, it improves our work on all front and builds engagement with team members who might not naturally connect.
If you’re looking for something to add new life to your office environment this summer, it might be worth playing our version of “musical office chairs” with your team. It has been a great inside secret for our team’s success and incredibly high engagement; I believe it will work for yours too.
Question: What unique strategies work for your team in achieving these similar results?