Office moves, like most projects involving people, require first-rate communication. While nobody is mistaking an office move for the annual holiday party, a move does see its fair share of social dynamics.
MOVE MANAGEMENT: A COMPLETE GUIDE
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What is move management? Move management involves relocating staff members and support materials from one space to another—but the planning and responsibilities that come with it can be complex. The process traditionally sees an organization leave their current premises for a new office, although intra-office and departmental moves are also becoming the norm.
The ability to engage effectively with teams across your organization can be a real advantage for facility managers. From initial planning to the unpacking of the final box, here’s how FMs can ensure a move puts people first.
Gossip about big changes can distract otherwise productive employees, and concerns about job security (such as when the we-are-moving rumor somehow becomes a we-are-being-laid-off rumor) can have a negative effect on team morale. To nip hearsay in the bud, FMs should aim to inform employees of a pending move at the earliest appropriate moment. As long as you’re not bound by a mandate from your C-suite, consider the timing on your communications and how to give people the information they need, when they need it. A good rule of thumb is to deliver high-level announcements early on in order to collect feedback and address concerns, and to dole out more detailed, context-appropriate information as time goes on.
As mentioned above, the advantage of announcing your move early on is that it puts you in the best position to take the temperature of your organization and invite employee input. Gathering team insights is often as easy as asking: a simple Slack or email survey, anonymous or otherwise, can unearth workplace preferences, current layout flaws and requests for the new space. Informal one-on-ones and larger group meetings, meanwhile, can help ensure you’re hearing from all stakeholders and answering key questions. Pair this approach with purpose-built request management software and you enjoy the benefit of all that insight before most move processes are underway.
Maybe the coffeemaker in the fourth-floor kitchen is too loud. Maybe the executive boardroom is too far from a convenient printer. Whatever the issues in your current office space—a review of previous requests can be a great way of figuring out what wasn’t working—a move presents the opportunity to start fresh and solve existing problems. Offices noting a lack of social cohesion, for instance, could create floor plans that put related departments next to one another; companies experiencing seating frustrations could test out hot desking. As you orient teams and plan for transition, ensure you’re letting employees know what the company is doing to improve their work environment. Strategic communication about positive change can go a long way to smoothing out any move hiccups.
With the right facilities management software, you can provide your teams with more of the big picture before moving a single box. Build and share accurate floor plans, strategize wayfinding and notify teams if you’ll be installing kiosks in your new space and roll out your software solutions and maintenance requests over mobile. Thanks to pre-visualization and today’s cloud-based FM platforms, employees can review the new space and submit tickets from wherever they are. Having a connected, empowered workforce doesn’t stop with the interruption of a move.
Preparing teams for a move isn’t a one-and-done scenario. Ensure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open during your move planning process. During staff meetings, update stakeholders on the latest move developments. Be sure to keep your fellow managers appraised of delays or snags that could affect the functioning of their departments. Survey co-workers to find out if there is equipment or processes that need updating or replacing. Being present and available makes it more likely you’ll catch details or insights you otherwise might have missed.
Set aside time for a field trip. Taking employees to the new office space in advance of the move allows them to plan new routes to work and visualize their impending office environment. Show them the areas where they’ll be parking, explain which departments will be on which floor and describe what makes the new space better than the old one. If there’s something about the space that isn’t as good as your current office, be sure to let employees know that you’re aware of this fact and specify how you’re fixing it. Also be prepared to take notes and respond to questions about the planned setup—employees might notice something that you didn’t.
One of the most important parts of communicating about a move is letting the employees know what will be needed of them when it’s time to pack their desks. When will they need to have their desks cleared? Are all teams moving on the same day? Where can they get boxes and labels? Should they take home personal items? Besides answering these questions, you’ll also want to hold a meeting to collect their keys and distribute the new ones to the office. Establish a dedicated communication channel for all move instructions so that employees can find answers to their questions even when you’re not personally available.
Your new office space will look different once all of the equipment has been installed—and it may very well be much more confusing. To help ease the transition, arrange tours that will orient each team to the new floor where they work—a team of greeters with iPads running Visual Directory can even show people exactly to where they’re sitting.If you’ve installed new equipment, hold training sessions as soon as possible, so no one loses time struggling with new devices. Of course, if employees have questions about where to find certain co-workers or equipment after the move, a visual directory and effective resource tracking can further help them find exactly what they need.
Your new office is an opportunity to shake things up—in a good way—at work. Make sure you’re bringing everyone with you through considered communication, effective orientations and integrated digital tools. Keeping tabs on the social needs of your employees isn’t just an important strategy for managing expectations—it’s one of the smartest moves you can make.
Ready to see how best-in-class tools can support your move? Request an OfficeSpace demo and learn more today.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / GaudiLab, Shutterstock / bbernard, Shutterstock / New Africa