Businesses move offices for all sorts of reasons, many of which represent positive and monumental milestones. From investment and geographical expansion to securing a space that truly represents a company’s brand, moving offices is often a sign of progression.
So why is it that moving offices feels like an unjust punishment for what should be an exciting occasion? Positive steps like a fundraise should be rewarded, not tainted with the faff and hassle of relocating. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Staying aware of the potentially disruptive aspects of moving is a good start, and mitigating them with a simple yet effective plan can make the whole process smooth and carefree. Read on to find out Hubble’s top tips on how to do just that.
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In a survey conducted by energy supplier E.ON, it was found that next to hiring employees, managers suggested that moving office is the second most stressful activity they are responsible for, with more than three quarters of managers delaying an office move that would otherwise be beneficial. But why is moving office such as hassle?
The problem is two-fold: first, there are the practical aspects of moving office. Planning the move can feel like a huge job, and ensuring business continuity can be tough. Office moves risk teething issues, misunderstandings, and lost productivity – meaning that on top of the cost of relocating, you’re also trying to avoid consequential costs too.
Moving office can also be stressful for a team on an emotional level. Disrupting an established routine can be tricky (a longer commute is a tough pill to swallow) and changes such as different internal layouts can also mean that existing ways of working are up in the air, with colleagues and teams no longer in proximity to each other.
So, how do you avoid these logistical and emotional pitfalls?
Seven indispensable tips to minimise disruption during an office move
1. Involve everybody in decision making
Accommodating the input of your team from day one is hands down the most effective way of minimising disruption. At best, picking an office that doesn’t suit your team will damage morale – but at worst, it could cause people to leave the company. So whilst there will rarely be a “perfect” option that matches everybody’s preferences, it’s certainly possible to optimise for them.
Drawing opinions from your team in the form of a questionnaire, on topics such as preferred office location, facilities, and atmosphere, can ensure that you take everything into consideration during your search and show employees that you value their input. Check out this blog to find the key questions that you should be asking.
Looking for an office for more than 20 people? We can help you gather important information from your team and identify the key considerations – for free! Send us an email at email@example.com to kickstart the process.
2. Appoint a Project Manager
Moving office is a big project with a lot of moving parts, so appointing a dedicated project manager that has a broad knowledge of your business and the authority to make tough decisions is therefore key.
Your office move PM should start planning early, settling on a new location as soon as practically possible and working out a suitable project plan. This designated person also acts as a point of contact so that the team can highlight pre-move concerns and find help after the move is completed.
This checklist is a good starting point for whoever takes on the task.
3. Keep everybody updated
Once you’ve decided on your new office, make sure that you let the team know as soon as possible. A change in office location can have a very real impact on the lifestyle of individual employees. Give everybody a headstart by publishing the new location as quickly as possible so that people have time to adjust. Seating plans can also be a real pain point during office moves and should be delicately managed, consulting with the team throughout.
Read our guide on how to make an office seating plan that works.
As well as showing people that they are appreciated, keeping everyone updated is useful as team members can also point out potential issues along the way, issues that even the brightest PM will miss. In contrast, a siloed approach can set your office move up for unexpected surprises that can be costly and frustrating to rectify.
4. Emphasise the positives of the new office
An office move can also involve a change in mindset – going from a private office to coworking for example – and here you need to prepare your team for the shift. Be honest and realistic, but make sure you emphasise the pros of the office you’ve decided upon. Will there be new amenities that weren’t available before, such as a gym, or sun terrace? Are there perks in the space, such as free coffee or events, that will save everybody time or money? Does it give your business a chance to establish a brand, meet new clients, or improve networks? These are all things that teams will acknowledge as progress, and keep everybody motivated in the process.
5. Keep stakeholders informed
The nature of your business could mean that you have several commercial partners that will be affected by your move, from suppliers through to clients. Don’t wait until the last minute to inform your stakeholders as many will need repeated notifications before truly registering that your business is set to move.
Instead, warn key partners of an upcoming office move as soon as you are certain of the facts on the ground. Your partners in business will need time to adjust to your new location too and the last thing you want to do is catch everyone by surprise. Consider including a statement in email signatures, or at the top of your website.
6. Get your tech right
Taking care of physical bits and pieces like office furniture is easy, but planning for the technology required in a new office is a whole other kettle of fish. If you’re moving into a serviced office, make sure that you’re clear on the tech services that are provided in your contract. If you’re sorting it out yourself, dedicate some time to ensuring it will all be in place before you move in.
Note that some kit can take a period of time to install and activate, so don’t wait until the last minute before sorting out things like internet access, for example. It is also worth road-testing tech long before the actual move in order to iron out potential issues.
7. Focus on minimising downtime
When it comes to the actual move day, understand that your team will want to get back to work as fast as possible. If you have a relocation company sorting the physical move for you, you might want to organise it over a weekend if you can and get a technical team onsite so that your newly arrived systems are thoroughly tested before team come to work.
Alternatively, if the move is a team effort, divvy out tasks to ensure that everybody is contributing to the task – don’t forget that there will always be numerous communal items and pieces of furniture that nobody is responsible for when you’re packing up. Isolate a set amount of time in everybody’s calendar in advance, and communicate that they should avoid organising any unnecessary meetings during this time and be committed to the office move cause. A whole team fully dedicated to the moving process for a short period of time is much more productive and time-efficient than a handful of people trying to juggle tasks and work over a couple of days.
Try to make the whole event fun, too! It’s amazing what a few tunes, sandwiches for the team, and the promise of bubbly on completion can do to morale.
Make time to prepare, and don’t put it off
Preparation is the best way to ensure a smooth office relocation, but as we’ve outlined preparation goes beyond merely sorting out the nuts and bolts. Get your team on your side and any hiccups that you experience in the process won’t even matter.
Finally, keep in mind that even though office moves can come with their challenges, there is no reason to fear it. Don’t unnecessarily delay a much-needed office move just to avoid dealing with it. Instead, take it step by step and you’ll be enjoying the benefits of your brand new office in no time at all.
Been putting off your office move because you’re worried about the disruption it will cause? Now you’ve got the tools to avoid it, what are you waiting for? Find your perfect office through Hubble now.