By Rebecca D’Souza
Moving office is a bittersweet experience for most companies. The office move is a testament to how far your company has come and it is often seen as the first frontier to new horizons of business growth and success. However, moving can also bring many complications. A badly handled move can mean months of uncertainty and lead to critical failures in service delivery. Particularly for your employees, moving office can create a sense of anxiety, leading to a productivity slump. Here are 10 tips for increasing your business’s productivity during the moving process and making it a pleasant experience for all involved:
Set Up A Planning Team
The first step you should take towards having a hassle-free moving process is to assemble a good group of people to take responsibility for the move. Depending upon the size of your business, the members of this team will differ, but it should remain relatively small and contain a ‘project lead’, and representative managers from all sectors of your company.
Make A Timeline
It is important that you develop an idea of what needs to happen during your moving process at the very beginning, and crucially when things are due to happen by. This will give you a general frame of reference, defining your essential actions and priorities, and allowing you to keep track of what changes when things inevitably shift.
Hire A Professional Moving Company
One thing likely to affect your employee productivity when you move is who does it. Whilst it is okay to get employees involved in cleaning out their desks, you will want to hire professionals to help move things from common areas, and safely transport sensitive items like phones and laptops. There are removal companies who specialise in moving offices and you will ultimately achieve a faster, less stressful, and more efficient move if you get a BAR accredited professional to do it.
Choose The Right Moving Day
The day most likely to affect employee productivity during the course of your moving process is moving day itself. Weekends are the best because your employees will not likely be working. However, if you cannot manage to move on the weekend make sure that you choose a day when business is slow.
Communicate With Your Employees
Most employee anxiety about moving results from uncertainty. Whilst it is rare that an employer will fail to tell their employees when the move will occur there are a lot of questions, beyond the moving date, that your employees will likely have. Be sure to share all aspects of your timeline with your employees; give them advanced notice of any major dates; give them details of their new office plan; hold a meeting to address the move; let them know how they’re expected to act on moving day and any desk packing instructions. In short, communicate, communicate, communicate!
Communicate With Clients and Suppliers
As well as your employees, be sure to let your clients and suppliers know about your plans to move. Bad client-side communication is a big potential productivity leak. If you are not careful, things will be sent to the wrong address and clients will get confused, multiplying the stress for those who work for you. Make sure that you have the details of your move displayed on all of your prominent external communication channels.
As a follow up to the last points, in an office move, it is important that communication goes both ways and employee productivity benefits from encouraging engagement. Brand your move. Take it as an occasion to improve the experience of your office culture by inviting employees to share what they hope to bring to the new space and what they wish to leave behind. Every old office has its bugbears (doubtless the new place will too). Moving is your opportunity to address these.
Get the New Office Ready Before You Move
The best way to assure that things can get back up and running quickly during the move is to prepare everything in the new office beforehand. This is particularly true of business-critical technology but it is also true of the things that provide employees comfort. Just like no one likes to move into a new house when there is no heating, hot water or bed; your employees won’t appreciate working in a cold office with unreliable network connections, no kettle to make tea and half-opened boxes strewn over their desks.
Be Flexible With Moving Time
Your employees will always work best where they are most comfortable. In some cases, and particularly during your moving process, that place may not be your office. If things are getting chaotic during your office move, it can be more effective to give people the opportunity to take their jobs home with them instead of coming in or give them flexible working benefits.
Make The New Office Feel Like Home
Changes in an environment are proven to alter a person’s sense of identity. The office is an important environment in the life of a worker and it is the place we spend the majority of our time. Whilst there will always be a sense of disorientation felt when employees move to a new office, its effects can be mitigated drastically by taking some simple steps.
Make sure you research the new environment thoroughly, giving employees a good idea of what to expect both in and around the office. Perhaps your business can put together an orientation pack, detailing any new seating arrangements, important points about the building and close by amenities. If none of this is a surprise and you have discussed things at length beforehand, your new office will be more likely to feel like home.