An office relocation can bring out a multitude of changes for any organisation. And these changes need to be managed in a sensitive and empathetic way in order to encourage positive behaviour and increased productivity amongst your workforce.
When it comes to an office move, there’s a whole labyrinth of tasks to think about; including staff consultation, employment law, changes to employment contracts – as well as the need for a comprehensive internal communication strategy that informs, updates and manages the relocation correctly for staff.
HR Directors need to be fully prepared for the raft of tasks that end up at their door when a business decides to relocate, and this HR Office Relocation Checklist outlines the major issues that HR Directors need to consider when handling and communicating a relocation to staff.
Announce the Office Move
Transparency is key when it comes to the welfare of your staff during an office move. Staff should be at the core of every business, so letting them know your plans to relocate as soon as they are confirmed shows respect and consideration . The risk of not telling your staff early on, is them learning about the move from another source – and this can only lead to the spread of negative rumours.
Changing your employees location of workplace may involve reviewing employment contracts. It’s worth digging these out early on to see whether there is the inclusion of a mobility clause – which allows you to change the location of business within reasonable notice and distance. If you are unsure as to your obligations or rights as an employer, don’t risk anything – get professional legal advice.
Be Clear about the Reasons for Moving
Staff can so easily become disengaged and uncertain about their future with the company if they don’t know the reasons behind the move. Make sure these are fully explained when you announce the move, and get them involved with the issues your company is facing (i.e. the need for more space, better facilities, improved location etc.). Staff are far more likely to be supportive if they feel part of it and you are open to their suggestions.
Hold Employee Forums
An Employee Forum provides a great platform for staff to air their concerns, ask questions and support one another. It also gives you the chance to get their feedback on important issues such as new seating arrangements, IT requirements as well as company culture and working practices. This can be done via your staff intranet or through a secure website that only your staff can access. It needn’t necessarily have to take up valuable working time meeting together.
You’ll want your new office to showcase your company’s brand and all it represents. It’s also important that staff feel enthused about their new premises, so creating the right office environment to encourage innovation and collaboration is crucial to the ongoing success of your business. Briefing your staff about the new office and all that it has to offer will help get employee buy-in. You might choose to have a section on your company intranet about the new office facilities, photos of the fit-out and design progress. This is a real opportunity to excite people about the benefits the new office will bring. If staff know what you are trying to achieve from the new office and it’s communicated effectively, seemingly personal issues like "who will I be sitting next to" will become trivial and staff will then focus on the bigger picture of your company’s goals and objectives.
Further Reading: Help Moving Office has a practical guide to assist HR Managers with handling the office relocation correctly for their staff. Visit their website to download the guide.