24. 8. 2023
Moving to a new office - how to do it without stress
Has your business grown so much that you need to move to a bigger space? Do you need to change location, move your teams from multiple locations to one, or have you found a more modern, higher quality facility for your employees? If any of these situations apply to you, then you have a difficult task ahead of you: moving. While it's sometimes said that it's better to burn the house down than to move, there's no need to panic. In fact, with proper planning and preparation, everything can be handled without any problems.
A capable coordinator is the key to success
Moving an office requires excellent teamwork, but someone has to lead and coordinate it. The first step in the process should therefore be the appointment of a coordinator who has excellent organizational skills and, if possible, moving experience. Communication is also an important skill for such a person, as it’s required throughout the moving process. Employees, contractors, and office landlords need to have a clear understanding of what is coming, when it is coming and how to prepare. The coordinator should also be able to respond to changes and any challenges that may arise during the process.
Set your moving date at least two months in advance
Once a lead coordinator has been identified, a date must be set for the move to begin. It is important to choose a date that allows enough time for communications, preparation, packing and the actual move. Experience shows that it is advisable to plan at least two months in advance. "From this date, the entire detailed schedule will then unfold. The latter should list all tasks and responsibilities and help keep the moving process under control. It must include, for example, a communication plan for briefing employees, negotiations with suppliers, distribution of boxes for employees' personal belongings, packing and subsequent unpacking, moving of equipment and furniture, organization of the first day in the new premises, seating arrangements in the new offices and other necessary tasks," explains Jana Beeby from Colliers, adding that such a detailed plan will allow for more efficient management of the entire process and minimize the risk of misunderstandings and delays.
The better the communications, the easier the move
Communication is a prerequisite for the success of any project, including an office move. Experience has shown that the better the communications are around the move, the simpler the whole process will be. Communications need to start as soon as the moving date is set. First, employees need to be informed about the process as a whole and then reminded of each step in a timely manner. "We should not forget to list the benefits that employees will gain from the move to the new offices and explain why the company has decided to move," says Jana Beeby, adding: "We recommend multi-channel communications: such as email, a company messenger chat or a social network group. Stakeholders should also be reminded of the most important milestones using text messages."
Employees, partners, suppliers, maps and authorities
As the date of the move to the new office approaches, it is also important to inform all relevant persons, companies and institutions of the change of address. It's not just employees who need to know the new address, customers, business partners and authorities should know it too. In addition, all materials and documents containing the address must be updated. This includes, for example, business cards, letterheads, catalogues and other printed materials. Information about the new address must then also appear on the company website, on social media channels, and in search engines or online maps. It is also advisable, if possible, to place a notice of the change of address at the old location.
Tours of the new premises before the move will help with employees’ spatial orientation
Before the actual move, it's a good idea to familiarise both employees and the moving team with the new space so they can get comfortable with the environment and take everything to the right places. It is therefore advisable to organise guided tours and share detailed maps of the new premises with descriptions and, where appropriate, seating arrangements. Companies that have opted for desk sharing and flexible layouts then need to familiarise their employees with the use of the different office zones and how to book workstations, meeting rooms and other relevant spaces.
Although it is recommended to use the services of professional moving companies, involving all employees in the move has its advantages. Ideally, each employee will take some degree of responsibility for their workspace. Setting clear deadlines for packing and moving will help ensure that the process goes smoothly. It is also advisable to inform employees about how to label their personal belongings and work equipment, which will facilitate subsequent unpacking and organization in the new premises. The move itself can then be better managed by having coordinators at both locations. They will monitor everything, communicate with the moving team, and solve any problems that might arise.
Settling and adaptation
After the successful move to the new office, the settling in and adaptation phase begins for all staff. Welcome packs containing detailed instructions on how to use the new offices, as well as a list of key contacts to whom employees can reach out in case of questions, will help them to find their way around the new environment. There should also be information on setting up IT in the new office, using parking spaces, and how the reception area works. Once you have moved in, it is also useful to get feedback from all staff on their experiences and challenges during the move and adaptation period so that areas for improvement can be identified and adjustments made.
As adaptation can take time, it is a good idea to plan the first weeks after the move such that they allow for staff’s acclimatization. It will take them some time (at least a week) to settle in fully and adjust to new routines. However, the effort everyone has put into moving into the new office will no doubt soon pay off in the form of employee satisfaction with the new, modern environment.
Change Management - moving without the hassle
As moving offices is a significant change, it is worth considering possibly entrusting the whole process to experts. Change Management is a service that involves preparing employees, stakeholders and process owners for upcoming changes and addressing their concerns and needs throughout the experience. "At Colliers, we can help clients address employee concerns related to the relocation process. For example, we can help clearly define the reasons for moving offices: whether it's for expansion, cost savings or a change in business strategy. We advise on providing appropriate opportunities for employees to ask questions and express their feelings. In fact, it is important to address these concerns openly and offer reassurance whenever possible," explains Jana Beeby, who believes it is also advisable to involve employees in the planning process for new office organisation: defining needs in terms of layout, equipment and operations. This involvement can then create a sense of 'ownership' and ease the transition.