7 Steps to a smooth and happy Office Move. Practical solutions on how HR needs to play a key role in achieving a successful Office Move.
An office move is a key area in which businesses can re-energise their staff and position themselves better for the future. But for this to happen it is important that companies don’t score “own goals” by neglecting the needs and feelings of their staff.
This Office Relocation Guide looks at the positive impact that HR can play to achieve a smooth and happy office move. It looks at 7 key areas which HR needs to address and offers practical solutions to delivering the successful office move that the business expects.
Planning & Preparation
An office move is a major project and needs to be planned properly. There are so many things to consider when you move office – which is why, for many, moving office is ranked as one of life’s most stressful events! But it doesn’t have to be this way – because an office move (like any process) can be broken down into a series of simple tasks and checks.
The intelligent use of your office move project planning documents, spreadsheets and office relocation checklists will not only help you plan the office move, but also act as your road map to carry out the many tasks involved with the project. They should include all of the tasks that need to be completed (and the steps leading up to them), the individuals, teams & companies responsible
Planning and preparation really are central to a successful office move – so remember the age old truism that “if you fail to prepare, you may well be preparing to fail.”
Moving office should be an exciting time for all. It’s an opportunity to affect positive change management, improvement in business performance, increased morale & momentum. But for some people change can be unsettling and this can certainly be the case with an office move where some staff might feel resistant to change. With this in mind, an office move will require businesses to fully utilize their change management skills. The key here is to anticipate the likely issues before they are raised as well as encourage open dialogue well in advance of any office move. Providing staff with a clear message of the reasons behind the move (and the benefits it will bring) will help get your employees on board with what you are wanting to achieve.
Remember that, at the same time as the office move process is going on, your company has to continue to run its business and focus on its existing workload and commitments. You will want to ensure that distractions are kept to a minimum and that any “negative vibes” surrounding your office move are dealt with before they get out of hand.
Communication – often and openly
Communication is vital – and your staff will appreciate being updated early on the rationale behind the office move and then regularly updated as the moving office process plays out.
Whilst many of your staff will be excited by the office move, there may be some people who have concerns that need addressing. They may be over job security, fear of redundancy or seemingly trivial issues like parking space allocations, the location of their workspace in the new office space (who sits where and who get desks by the window can become a contentious issue!) or how big the kitchen facilities in the new office space will be.
It is well worth your Senior Management Team getting together in advance of any staff briefing to consider any potential issues with the office move and plan how you plan to address them with a unified voice.
So – communication is the key. There will be some people, both internal and external, who will need to be consulted for their input to the planning process; there will be others who need to be informed; and everyone needs to be regularly updated to keep their interest and motivation levels high. If you keep the lines of communication open to all interested parties, internal and external, your office move will have a much greater chance of success.
Identify & Promote the Positives
A key part of the office relocation planning process is to think about the benefits that the office move will have for your staff. Perhaps your new office will have better facilities. It may be that your new office space is going to allow you to upgrade your systems which will improve your work processes. Or it may just be that your new office is nearer to clients, restaurants, bars, sandwich shops, shopping, offers better parking, is nearer to train stations and/or bus stops. Whatever the advantages of your new office space it is important that these are identified and communicated.
Involve your Staff
Staff involvement when moving office is an important part of achieving a successful office move. It’s a fact of life that people that feel involved and engaged in a process will buy in to it more than when they feel neglected or discluded. Consider having a representative from each department on an internal “office move team” and hold regular meetings where you can involve them in each stage of the office move. A key operational benefit of doing this is that they can then not only act as “champions” for their department but also identify any issues pertaining to their area of expertise prior to the office move – and then provide valuable input into the solutions.
Address Training Needs
In the course of an office move, it is highly likely that some of the equipment or working practices may be new to your staff. Do not neglect the need to address. Training on any new systems (IT or Telecoms) is often a key area that needs to be planned for.
Ask for Feedback after the Office Move
A successful office move will often deliver a surge in business performance over the first few months after an office move. This is great news – but needs to be maintained. A key area to help deliver this improvement in morale and momentum is to ask for staff feedback on the office move. The feedback you receive will enable you to further reinforce the positives of the office move, address any issues and build on the successes that the office move has brought to the business.
Managing an Office Move? Whether you have some experience in Office Moves or are managing an office move for the first time then the Office Moves for Dummies is a simple and practical guide that walks you through the key stages involved in the office move process.
Moving office will have several implications for your staff and there are certain legal issues you need to be aware of. The Moving Office HR & Employment Law Checklist ensures you adopt the best practice approach relating to your role as an employer.