A Q&A Wish List

July 1, 2007
The results-oriented benefits of user feedback

Six months after relocating to our new, off-site space (to accommodate the growing employee count in our corporate headquarters building), the honeymoon among the 18 "pioneers" is over. That's not to mean that the idea of forging fresh ground in the heart of downtown Cedar Rapids, IA, is any less exciting today than when the concept was first introduced 9 months ago. In fact, the ability to "recreate" our day-to-day setting has resulted in a renewed vigor and higher level of ownership and productivity - some part of which management can take credit. Simply stated, we love our present circumstances.

With any peak, however, there exists at least a few valleys. At times, it appears that "out of sight" is synonymous with "out of mind." One benefit: We have a new appreciation for our colleagues in field offices who feel "out of the loop." I used to think theirs was a consequence of geography. In this situation, with only city blocks separating our off-site space from its headquarters counterpart, I've come to realize that it truly is all about corporate culture.

So here, my FM readers, is the short list of questions that I wish had been asked of the transplanted end-users before and after the move. Fortunately, it's still not too late ...

Question No. 1: With a shift from private offices in the corporate HQ to an open plan in the off-site space, are there any obstacles we can address?
Thank you for asking. We've adapted quite well to our open floorplan, and nobody is more surprised than we are. We do have some acoustics issues based both on the workstation layout and the different job functions in adjacent spaces, so we'd like to explore some enhancements in that area. Thankfully, we have an opportunity for collaboration in several informal venues, including a relatively large, centralized space that allows us to sit face to face and exchange ideas and information. That, singularly, is key to our creative processes and successful products, and has made the adaptation to open plan much less stressful. (A table and chairs to replace the set given to our colleagues upstairs would make the space even better.)

Question No. 2: What about ancillary needs (i.e. the kitchen, restrooms, IT services, and more)?
Thank you for asking. The IT staff has been fabulous and is extremely responsive to our needs. Except for a few blips - specifically when our server died due to inadequate ventilation and cooling - I'd have to say that the customer-service aspect of IT is better than before (maybe they like the off-site digs, too?). With new tenants coming to the building, however, it's become clear that the restroom units are a bit inadequate in number. But, my first priority would be to get hot water in the kitchen. I'm tired of using disposables (and they're not very green, either).

Question No. 3: How can we make you feel more connected to the rest of the team?
Thank you for asking. That's it. Thank you for asking!

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