An office move can be challenging and stressful for everyone, from employees through leadership. Often there are many unknowns and a level of complexity that can throw a wrench into the best laid plans.
We learned this first hand over the course of our relocation from 22 Boston Wharf Road to 101 Seaport Boulevard. Even moving just down the street put us through our paces, and we’re move experts. We learned a lot through the transition and have compiled 5 best practices and tips for an office move.
1. Identify and empower a move team.
We recommend assembling a cross-disciplinary team from the get go. This team should include the move manager as well as representatives from IT, Communication, HR, Leadership, Design, Facilities and any other discipline that is highly involved in the move. This team should meet weekly to review the schedule as well as discuss and resolve any issues that arise. The member from the communication team can then use these meetings to develop weekly employee communications.
2. Involve employees in the process.
Involving your people in the process not only helps you assess needs, but gives them an outlet to express their concerns and desires for the new space. This kind of involvement is critical if employees will be undergoing comprehensive change during the move – for instance having to work in new ways. Training early and helping people understand the “why” of new modalities will help ease the transition. Here are a few ideas for including employees in the process;
• Share a floorplan and let people comment on the proposed designs
• Create a contest to choose a final color palette, limit it to three options
• Involve employees in surveys to asses needs on collaboration, privacy or mobility
• Conduct workshops that get people talking about their likes/dislikes in the office
• Invite participation in tours to the new space
• Create a booklet that explains the design intent and protocols behind each space
3. Communication is key.
Communicate regularly from the minute you know you are moving and don’t stop until you know that everyone is settled and all punch list items are dealt with. Early on, people want to understand the issues at stake and understand the rationale behind decisions. Throughout, a regular schedule of communication will help mitigate fears, give people time to process change and achieve buy-in from the majority. We highly recommend including pictures and videos of the new space as it develops to build excitement.
4. Pick a move partner early on.
Your move professional can assist you with everything from safe and environmentally sound ways of disposing of antiquated technology, to asset liquidation and packing techniques. Your move expert will eliminate lots of headaches for you and your team so we recommend getting them involved early and utilizing their expertise.
5. Anticipate change.
It will happen. Inevitably there are construction delays, weather issues or delivery obstacles that cannot be helped. However, if your move team and all your people internalize this from the beginning then expectations will be realistic. A move is a fluid and imperfect science but with smart planning, clear and regular communication and a strategic move partner you can expect a positive end result.
At a high level, these are a few tips that will help keep you on track during an office move. Whether you’re a fortune 500 or a small start-up, the same principles apply. For a more comprehensive overview, download our Office Move Project Plan! Most of all… good luck and we hope you can enjoy the excitement of the move process!
If our Red Thread Move Services team can be of help during your office move, please don’t hesitate to contact us!