For business owners, moving to a new office is usually a positive step forward for the company, typically involving more space, better facilities and increased comfort for employees.
But, relocating your office can affect your employees in negative ways as well as positive: it changes their routine, and travel distances, and not everyone might come out in a better position.
Handling their expectations, needs and morale should be at the top of your priority as a leader.
We’ve helped many businesses relocate and have an insight into how to inform and prepare employees for office relocation.
Let’s look at how you can make the entire process as efficient, straightforward and positive as possible.
Let Them Know Early
As soon as the dotted lines are signed and the move is a sure thing, let your employees know.
By giving them as much time as possible, you’ll give them the space to figure out their new travel routes and consider their options.
In general, anywhere between two and six months in advance is fair. Anything less will come as a surprise and won’t be taken too well.
As part of the announcement process, make sure that everyone is notified at the same time so that the rumour mill doesn’t start to turn, and staff find out from their colleagues about what’s happening.
In some cases, details might change, or assumptions will be made. And, when making the announcement, frame it in a positive way and let your team know about the benefits waiting for them in the new workplaces, such as better equipment, more space, more comfortable facilities and so on.
Announce The Move In The Right Way
The way in which you let staff know about the move can heavily influence how they feel about it.
Every company has their own way of making company-wide announcements, so it’s always best to use the same channels.
However, there are some ways to make sure that the news goes down as well as possible.
Don’t just send a mass email around and call it a day.
Instead, send out the message with the information, but follow up with a company-wide meeting, streamed over video conference for those who can’t attend to give all the details.
Consider Your Announcement Options
How you make your announcement depends on your business and the way you’ve made company-wide announcements in the past.
If you mostly share company news via email, then stick to this format and notify employees with a mass mailout.
However, if your business often has meetings with all the employees present, then you could share the news in this way.
To help your employees plan any adjustments to their commute, try to be as detailed as you can, especially when it comes to transportation alternatives.
Build enthusiasm around the move by outlining what the new office means for the company, and what staff can look forward to.
Be Open and Empathetic
It’s crucial that you’re open with your employees as to the reason for the move so that they can understand the situation better.
They will appreciate your openness and will be less likely to question your motives. Moving the workplace is no small thing, so ensure to create an open dialogue with anyone who has questions.
Your staff will have some natural worries such as whether or not they will have less space to work in, if transport to the new office will be difficult, what the parking situation is like, how their equipment will be transported and other such concerns.
Improving workplace air quality takes a combination of actions, including regular maintenance of conditioning equipment, cleaning of dust and a good flow of fresh air from the outdoors, where possible.
Involve Your Team
If possible, involve your employees in the move, such as letting them inform the new office décor, the layout of the new workspaces and other things which will affect their day-to-day working life.
You can even offer to set up a special committee that will be responsible for communicating employee requests for interior design, vendors, new equipment and other areas. This team can also communicate any concerns to upper management who can address them early on.
Simply announcing the move won’t do much to build positive sentiment.
Instead, keep your team updated and informed of any changes as time goes by. This is also a good opportunity to do a countdown of sorts and frame the move as something positive and exciting.
Send out regular reminders and information about the new premises when possible, and keep everyone involved in the loop.
Such a large event shouldn’t go without a great party!
Once the move is done, set up a fantastic launch party in the new office to start things off right. It’s a chance to thank the staff for bearing with management during the process, and to show that their interests and morale are still very much in mind.
It’s likely that budgets have already been stretched by the move, but this is not the time to cheap out. Let the champagne flow, order in food and maybe even a DJ if the space allows.
A launch party is also a great marketing angle, and you can invite clients (both existing and prospective) to see that you have a healthy, happy and functional workplace.
The move is not done once the trucks leave. If you’re in a new part of town, give your staff useful information about local places to eat, drink and enjoy their surroundings.
Check-in with everyone to see how they are settling in and address any issues that arise.
It’s likely that some people may not like their new desk location or are having trouble with any other changes, so keep your ears open and be ready to accommodate if needed.
Congratulations On The New Office!
Moving workplace can be a real pain for upper management, but an unhappy workforce is an even worse outcome.
With the tips above, you can make sure that your employees are feeling valued, and that their feelings and comfort levels are being addressed.
And, once all is said and done you can look forward to better surroundings, more success, and a fabulous new location.