An office relocation is an important undertaking.
that must be carefully planned so the business can flourish in its new environs. If not properly coordinated, the business may flounder in the new space with its staff sitting around trying to adjust after the physical move has happened.
The decisions made during an office move could affect the business’s profitability, so it is far better for productivity and morale to plan extensively. The goal should be to conduct a transition that is seamless from a physical and technological perspective but also compassionate and engaging for the workers affected by the move.
There are five areas of planning necessary for an office move to succeed.
1. Strategic Plan
It is important to engage senior management to create a strategic plan for the move well in advance of the actual move. The decision to move offices begins with a review of options up to 18 months before the current lease expiration. Allow plenty of lead time to assess various options and conduct negotiations for the new premises.
Achieving a consensus on the reasons for the office move and its overall objectives is an important step. Consider not only the practical requirements, such as budget, size, and location but also the planned business objectives for the move, such as the anticipated growth needs as well as what features the new office space should have.
An office move is a major undertaking for any size company, and it is essential to have a good team to facilitate all aspects of the move. Appoint an experienced project manager within the company as early as possible to liaise with key stakeholders in the organization as well as professional movers.
2. Morale Plan
Moving can be stressful because people inherently dislike change. Having a Human Resources Department or team use the relocation as an opportunity to boost company culture and morale is a great way of keeping everyone informed and engaged throughout the process. It is important to ask the staff, early on, what they like about the current office facilities and what they would change. Ask them about features that they would like to have in the new premises. Human Resources can evaluate how the new space will foster friendships among colleagues. Design breakrooms and kitchen spaces with good coffee machines and well-stocked cupboards. Curate artwork for the walls. Make the space pleasing and comfortable. As the plans for the new space evolve, keep staff enthusiastic by sharing the drawings of the new layout and its key features.
Communication is key to a smooth move with happy employees. Part of the morale plan includes a calendar of communications. In addition to emails, schedule town-hall-style meetings so senior managers and the project manager can keep individuals informed about the move. Make sure you clearly communicate the purpose of the move, the changes that need to happen, and the benefits for your employees.
Consider the emotional needs of employees as well. Many individuals develop strong emotional ties to a place, and some may feel nostalgic about leaving an office. You may want to hold a special event to say farewell to the old space.
3. Legal and Compliance Plan
As part of the decision-making process, the project manager should gather all the relevant facts about the existing lease and review the notice period and existing obligations and liabilities under the current lease.
Involve your lawyers when negotiating the details of the new lease to minimize legal exposure. The legal team should also review state laws regarding the amount of notice that is required for employees as well as requirements for posting information about labor laws. The project manager must incorporate these details into the logistical plan.
4. Logistical Plan
Encourage staff to declutter. Clear out storage areas and scan documents that are no longer needed in hard copy. Use the move as an opportunity to upgrade any outdated equipment and computers.
As the office move draws near, the project manager should assign individuals the task of creating inventory lists for the move. Give employees some time to pack away their desk items and ask them to take their personal possessions with them.
Experienced, insured, and professional movers are essential. The project manager should conduct pre-move inspections of the new facility to ensure that it is in good working order. The impact and disruption of the move can be lessened by conducting the move over a weekend. Have the project manager and at least one other senior manager present for the move so that it can be coordinated from the current and new locations. IT professionals will be essential for ensuring that the systems are disconnected then reinstalled and tested correctly.
5. Business Continuity Plan
Because employees will be expected to maintain productivity during the move, it is important to think about what support they will need. Schedule orientation sessions to introduce employees to the new office space. If you’re deploying new technology, schedule additional training sessions. Don’t forget to review any branding needs: update your printed and online materials (e.g., business cards, stationery, and website) with your new address.
With these carefully constructed plans in place, office relocation can reinvigorate a business culture and inspire employees, sending morale to new heights.
employees, sending morale to new heights.