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

From the need for innovation to the needs of employees

Viewpoint / Dec 11, 2019 / André van Dixhoorn

From the need for innovation to the needs of employees

As promised, December is all about our smart office story. Starting five years ago, at the kickoff of our very first corporate project: The Edge of Deloitte. Back then, I was one of the two software developers at Mapiq, responsible for building the smart office platform that is now running at our...

Read more
 Smart technology in the USA and Europe: which continent is the most innovative?

Viewpoint / Dec 05, 2019 / Anne Wernand

Smart technology in the USA and Europe: which continent is the most innovative?

Last month, we’ve had the pleasure to go to New York for the Real Estate Tech Week. We’re naturally curious to see how activity-based working and smart technology work in other countries all over the world. And what better way to find out than to ask. So, we sat down together with Sophie Mathieu,...

Read more

Make your office the place to be

Get in touch

+31 (0)15 744 0130 info@mapiq.com Request a demo
Mapiq Mapiq
Mapiq