Over the past few days, we’ve been exploring the alternative workplace. As part of that, we’ve relied heavily on findings from a benchmarking study from New Ways of Working.

“Alternative Workplace Strategies in the Current Economy: A 2009 Global Benchmarking Study by New Ways of Working” has yielded valuable insights about many aspects of the alternative workplace.

If you missed any article in this series, go back and do a little catch up. You’ll be glad you did. In this installment, we’re taking a look at managing the change process and planning for the future.

The study shows that although most organizations help prepare their employees for the changes involved in alternative workplace programs in some manner, almost one fifth (18 percent) of the companies provide no help with managing change. That one-fifth is mostly in the manufacturing sector.

Now, when looking at organizations that do include their employees in the alternative workplace program planning process—and that’s about 35 percent of all companies surveyed—81 percent ask for employee input and 64 percent include staff in program planning.

This is wise because the employees are the ones that are expected to continue working at high productivity levels and therefore need to be involved in expressing needs. A two-way dialogue between HR and employees will yield the best results as companies move to develop and implement alternative workplace strategies.

The study also revealed that the alternative workplace is expanding in almost all organizations that participated in the survey. Those plans, of course, vary widely. Some are looking toward improving online collaboration systems. Others are adding more drop-in centers. Still others are working to support collaborative work in other ways. But the trend is real—and it’s gaining momentum.

Don’t miss tomorrow for the last installment in this series on the alternative workplace.