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Squeeze on civil service space may cost more


Tensions rise with reduced Government office space

Squeeze on civil service space may cost more than it saves

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – 23 November 2012

Wellington public servants are being squeezed closer together because of government target to reduce its office space by 30%, according to a report in The Dominion Post Friday 23 November 2012.

This creates new problems for workers and managers, according to an expert on emotions in the workplace, John Faisandier. The larger open plan environments mean more people, noise and distractions. Managers lose their separate offices; small teams lose the camaraderie they previously enjoyed and more people compete for photocopiers, printers and other resources. Stress levels and tempers rise while productivity and morale drop. Work place emotions, unless dealt with can ruin the $16m gain the government hope to achieve through reduced rent.

Here are three things we suggest public servants can do when they are moved into a smaller space.
“Problems with reducing government office space -2”

1. Get to know the people in other teams, what they do and how they like to work. Take time to talk together about what the shift feels like for each person – both the good and the bad.
2. As an individual you can acknowledge your own feelings without being critical of yourself. You may feel grief for what is left behind, anxiety about your new situation or fear of the unknown. Share these feelings with a trusted friend or EAP counsellor.
3. When others are frustrated or angry acknowledge their feelings. You don’t need to fix their feelings, you just need to listen and not judge them. It is very important to let people who have strong feelings talk and be heard.
Acknowledging and talking about feelings is actually a way of defusing situations and a way that people who are forced to work together can see each other as allies, not enemies. When workers feel positively ‘connected’, they can move on to the next thing, such as how to work together in positive ways.

John Faisandier, trainer and author, teaches people to deal with emotions in the workplace. Information on his award winning training programme TUF: Thriving Under Fire can be found at www.tuf.co.nz

- END -

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