Hello Team Commerce:
As you’ll recall, when we implemented our new remote work plan in July 2021, we gave ourselves a year to evaluate that plan before moving ahead with any permanent changes to our work space. Once that year’s time period was up this summer, one of the key areas we felt needed consideration was our physical space. We had received feedback that revealed a desire to make our in-office spaces more inviting, collaborative, and with more opportunities for in-person interaction. We also want to make sure we’re adhering more closely to Governor Cox’s remote work plan, which includes implementing shared office spaces for remote workers. And so we embarked on a study of how we could better achieve these objectives with our space now that we are set with our remote work schedules.
Thank you to all for your feedback as we’ve developed this space plan, particularly to division management and employees who participated in our survey and focus groups. That feedback has been invaluable and greatly helped to refine our plans. Based on those efforts, I’m excited to present our plan for these changes.
First, everyone who is classified as a remote worker will be moving to a shared workspace. Many of you who are remote workers will not be affected by this new plan because your divisions have already implemented shared workspaces. I also want to clarify what we mean by “shared workspaces.” There may be a perception that we are planning to take down cubicle walls and fill our spaces with open, public desk space. That is NOT how we’re defining shared workspace.
Actual desk setups will be very similar to what is already in place– cubicles with walls and semi-private workspace. They will be shared between remote workers who come into the office on different days. We will ensure there are still places for employees to store personal items and spaces to have private conversations when needed. By moving to shared workspaces, employees will be more concentrated in team areas, which helps to foster relationship building, and it allows us to transform our extra spaces into more collaborative, open areas for meetings, informal lunches, and other purposes. As we move to shared spaces, we recognize that there will be occasional situations where adjustments will need to be made when all employees are asked to be in the office– and we plan to address those situations as they arise.
The first phase of this move will be happening in just a few weeks. DOPL investigations and the Controlled Substance Database team will be moving up to the fourth floor. Space within the Division of Public Utilities will be reconfigured to create shared workspaces to be filled by DOPL and DPU employees. These new shared spaces will open up the possibility of further re-configuring in those areas and free up the first floor back building space for potential meeting or lunch room spaces. Specific plans for those areas have not yet been identified.
The reconfiguration team is scheduled to start moving furniture on November 28th. We will work with individual teams to make sure they’re ready for those changes.
We recognize this is very fast. The vendor we’re working with had an opening in their schedule that allowed us to jump in now, rather than wait months. We will be working closely with impacted employees and will address concerns as we move forward.
Additional plans include re-configuring spaces in the Division of Securities, The Office of Consumer Services, and the DOPL fingerprint-public access area in the Lobby. More detailed information on those phases will be communicated as we get closer to them.
I’m confident that these space changes will help make our in-office spaces a welcome place when our remote employees are in the office. The work we do is so important and I want our workspace to be an environment where employees feel energized and welcome.
Thank you again for all your hard work.