With high complexity and the potential to cost a bundle, it’s fair to say an office move is the kind of job you need to do right the first time. As facility manager, your ability to understand and employ change management concepts will determine your success in achieving a smooth and efficient workplace transition. How you plan and manage is as important as how you physically action on it: from dollars and square footage to feedback from your fellow co-workers, move-related tasks have a way of piling up quickly.
In other words, it’s never too early to start addressing the change management aspects of an office move. Consider the following as you progress from early planning to final execution.
Nothing sours a move faster than first-day (or -week) technology issues. It’s to be expected that your move will cause a number of minor but unavoidable tech problems—but just how many of those issues are truly unavoidable? How many could you head off in advance?
IT has a vested interest in keeping systems running, and that makes them a valuable ally in a move. Connect with IT early and often: they can identify potential problems and iron out snags, and they can help you explain your proactive measures clearly to the rest of the office. Also ensure that your facility management solutions—including your desk-reservation platform, for example—is rigorously backed up, or better yet, stored in the cloud ahead of any workspace disruption. Queue up your business-critical systems by contacting your service providers, and leave yourself time to test telecommunications and software on the other side of the move. With technology and communication integral to how offices function, liaising with IT at every stage of a move should come at the top of your change management checklist.
Change management is all about communication, and as an FM, this means ensuring that you’re the locus for transparent and timely information.
Keeping employees in the loop is a vital first step in dispelling move frustrations and confusion. Consider using channels like Slack or Trello for communicating updates, action items and any concerns that may arise. You may also want to appoint change leaders—people in the office who can help keep your move plan on track and mobilize smaller teams. These don’t have to be from management as long as they are respected by their colleagues and have a positive attitude for the change. Be sure to update relevant contractors as you go as well, to avoid potential conflicts or coordination issues.
While it’s critical that you communicate how and when a move will happen, collecting and addressing feedback from employees is every bit as important. Leverage your request management tool to track your everyday maintenance tasks, and set up additional pre-move info sessions to give teams the chance to review and respond to upcoming changes. As you assemble feedback, make the effort to implement suggested changes: responsiveness can go a long way to generating move goodwill. Has a team member asked about how to find people easily in your new, larger space? Research whether wayfinding kiosks would serve your company—and report back on your progress. Taking care of what you can, when you can, shows your teammates you’re listening and engaged.
It goes without saying that one of the first measurements of a good move is whether everything from location A ends up at location B. Monitoring all your equipment and furniture might require robust tools, depending on the size of your office: employ a resource tracking system to help you stay up-to-date on the location of your assets. Tracking your inventory on a granular level also allows you to think strategically about what additional resources you’ll need moving into a bigger space, or how you can allocate existing equipment in a new layout.
Space usage is another factor you’ll want to examine closely, even as your office moves from old location to new. Collect data on space usage via your reporting software, and put this information to good use in laying out your next office. Do you have a boardroom that sits empty or a suite of desks that are always in demand? See about transitioning boardrooms to flex spaces in your next office, and watch how data can turn into effective action.
With your business-critical systems taken care of and your inventory accounted for, optimal design is the next item on the FM’s change management list. It’s likely you ran the numbers when settling on a new office space, but have you laid out every desk? Tested out whether the third floor needs three boardrooms or two? Brainstormed how to make the atrium fit more than one long-table workstation?
With a move management tool, you can easily plan out your office’s new seating arrangements and make real-time changes to account for any issues that may pop up at the last minute. Scenario floor plans allow you to plot out any given floor any number of ways, making it easy for teams to visualize potential layouts and come to consensus; OfficeSpace software even allows users to collaborate and generate scenarios together. With a large move comes the ability to change things up: you may have opportunity to address existing challenges that came to light during your info sessions. Besides querying employees, metrics from your IWMS can also grant the insights you need to do a good job on design. Use every insight at your disposal to make your new space suit your company to a tee.
Planning a move requires an appetite for details. You’ll need to check and recheck your plan while keeping an eye out for red flags and roadblocks: furniture disassembly, loading bay availability and safety procedures may all be on your plate. But with enough strategizing—paired with cutting-edge software solutions to take the reporting and consolidating load off—there’s no reason your move won’t be a success.
On the verge of starting your own move checklist? Request a demo of OfficeSpace, and let us show you how our IWMS can streamline your change management.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / baranq, Shutterstock / Rawpixel, Shutterstock / Branislav Nenin