5 Tips To Reduce The Stress of Office Moving
31st July 2019
Moving offices, like moving house, can be a very stressful process. And that stress can affect everybody at the organisation. As part of your role as an HR Manager, it is your job to ensure that your staff remain happy, motivated and stress-free throughout the move. Whether you are taking care of a small team or a large company’s workforce, it’s important to make sure you continue to put the needs of your staff first.
So how can you do your part in ensuring the office move goes without a hitch? Here are 5 useful tips…
1. Communicate and Listen
As soon as the decision has been made to move offices, it is vital that all the staff are informed in an appropriate and supportive way. It’s important to handle this as soon as possible before rumours start spreading, which can lead to anxiety and resentment in employees.
Rather than calling in individual teams one by one, the best strategy is to gather the entire workforce for a meeting wherever possible. Again, this prevents staff from hearing the news secondhand before you get to them. It also fosters a sense that you are being transparent and sympathetic to their concerns. This meeting should be an opportunity for staff to raise questions and discuss any worries they may have in a public way. Simultaneously, however, you should also emphasise that individuals can come and talk to you in private.
Any senior staff members who have had a role to play in organising the office relocation should also be pre-briefed and involved in the meeting to answer questions.
Breaking the news via email or company memo is not recommended, as it is a dismissive and impersonal method which will lead to a swathe of questions, requests for individual meetings, as well as potentially complaints, rumours and resentment.
2. Stay Positive and Involve Your Staff
Keep employees in the loop with updates, plans and news on new premises. Once new premises have been secured, it may be a good idea to organise a group tour for your staff. This should be an upbeat and celebratory occasion, one where you show excitement about the positive changes your workforce will experience once the move is complete. Give them something to look forward to.
If feasible, conclude the group tour with a social occasion – even just a trip to the local pub is a great way to show your appreciation and give them all a chance to blow off steam and chat the move over in a relaxed environment away from work.
When it comes to the move itself, offering incentives for coming and joining in with the moving effort, or simply encouraging the staff to be involved, may also be a nice idea.
3. Be Prepared To Answer Questions
Whilst it’s important to present the move as a positive event, it’s important that the staff are clear about what changes they can expect – both good and bad – after the office relocation. Questions from staff are inevitable, so it’s important from the offset to pre-empt and know how you will answer.
How do you plan to handle any resignations that may arise? It is possible that the office relocation will be too inconvenient for some staff to cope with. For example, if the new premises are too far from their children’s school or make their commute too long or expensive. If the move creates inconveniences that affect a member of staff’s ability to get to work, forcing them to either relocate or quit, they will probably be entitled to some form of compensation. How will this be financed? How much can they expect? What is their notice period? What are their rights? This is just one example of the kind of issue you need to be prepared to deal with.
4. Make The Move Seamless
Firstly, you should take the time to hire a commercial removals company that cares about your move and who will make the office move as painless as possible from start to finish.
An important part of the office move is ensuring that IT and telephone systems are the first things to be up and running smoothly. This is vital for minimising disruption and preventing frustration from staff once they arrive at the new office. Making sure that their first day is a positive experience will be crucial to how they feel going forward. A good office removals company will be on top of getting that all-important infrastructure ready to go.
It’s highly advisable to try and adhere to a similar layout to the old office. Work with senior management to sketch out the new office layout and placement of teams and staff members. Aim to keep the staff in the same groups as before, with the same individuals and teams sitting closeby one another as much as possible. Close relationships are often formed between employees who sit close to one another in an office, so keeping them together is a good idea. You may also consider asking your staff ahead of time whether they are happy with where they sit in relation to others and give them a private opportunity to request changes if they would prefer.
What better excuse for a staff party than after a successful office move?
An office-wide celebration for all staff should certainly be part of the agenda and take place as soon as possible. You could use the last day in the old premises as an opportunity to say goodbye in style, starting the celebrations in the empty office before moving to another location, or wait until the weekend after the first week in the new office to usher in a new era for your company. As always with staff celebrations, use this as an opportunity to thank them all for their hard work and understanding through the upheaval, as well as to remind them of all the benefits they’ll enjoy as a result of the move.
There are certainly lots of things to think of when it comes to your office relocation, and for an HR Manager, a lot of the impact will fall on you. Be prepared, stay positive and support your staff throughout the process to make sure they see the move as a new adventure to be enjoyed. Follow these tips to avoid staff seeing the move as a scary change – negative sentiment could lead to staff dropouts, which would be costly to the organisation as well as demoralising for the remaining employees.
Overall, moving offices should always be a good thing for businesses, so remember to keep spirits high, communication channels open, and disruption to a minimum.