Aug 27, 2018 in Viewpoint

What science says about workplace habits

Employees who are resistant to change can make implementations a challenge. So how do you implement a new workplace strategy, a new software tool, or even move a desk without upsetting employees?

Anne Wernand
by Anne Wernand
Mapiq
Workspaces will have to accommodate for the increasing diversity in both habits and working preferences

The first step is understanding why it upsets them in the first place. Habits are a big deal, about 40% to 45% of what we do every day feels like a decision, but it’s actually a habit. In the context of activity based working, habits become the obstruction, the negative. But habits actually do us a great favor; they give us more time to focus on our task.

Possibly, because this space characterizes all kinds of cues that enables employees' automatic pilot. They don’t have to think about certain behavior, such as walking into the office and sitting down so they can focus on the tasks that need to be done. When you change this... you're actually asking them to reset this automatic pilot, this is also known as changing your habits. Which is, as we all know, not as easy as it may seem. Many employees have deep-seated habits relating to their workspace, and the power of habit is one of the biggest risks to workplace change programs.


The power of habit is one of the biggest risks to workplace change programs.


Changing the workplace habit

What happens in our neurology is that most behavior originates in the prefrontal cortex, the area right behind our forehead. What we think of as thought, that’s where it occurs. It’s one of the newest, from an evolutionary perspective, parts of our brain. But as a behavior becomes a habit, as it becomes automatic, it moves into the more deeper structures of the brain. And when things happen in this area, it doesn’t feel like thought. That’s why a habit feels automatic because it’s happening in the part of your brain that is (as we think of it) completely free from thinking.

You can imagine; creating change in this part of the brain takes a lot of energy and time. But that doesn’t mean it can’t occur. Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. Employers need to keep this in mind when they implement activity-based working or in our case; a software product. One of the things you can do to make this change easier is breaking down the preferred behavior in chunks. This allows employees to adapt and adjust their habits in a more gradual process.

Exploring ideas at the intersection of bricks, bytes, and behavior. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Continue reading

The story behind our workplace sensor

Viewpoint / Jan 23, 2020 / Bouwe de Planque

The story behind our workplace sensor

At Mapiq, we strongly believe that our smart office platform is only as good as the data it’s fed with. Good working sensors are a high priority for us. But many existing sensors are slow, or not functioning the way we want them too. So, we decided to make one of our own. A few months later, Mapi...

Read more
How to build the perfect team for workplace change management

Viewpoint / Jan 21, 2020 / Bastian de Graaf

How to build the perfect team for workplace change management

The office and the way we work is changing rapidly. Activity-based working has already entered work-life years ago and is here to stay. As a smart office platform, our focus lies on the employees in these modern offices. And as a member of the Customer Success team, I’m passionate about supportin...

Read more

Make your office the place to be

We’re here to help

+31 (0)15 744 0130 info@mapiq.com Talk to us
Mapiq Mapiq
Mapiq