A workplace relocation can be an unknown, daunting and stressful prospect, but if planned and managed effectively, it can be a transformative move for a business.
When the decision is made to relocate, advance and detailed planning is key to ensuring it is a positive and productive step for all stakeholders in the organisation. It is an opportunity to not only transform the physical space and working environment but also review and improve so many other critical areas of the organisation such as:
- Staff wellness
- Staff satisfaction and retention
- Working practices
- Talent attraction and brand
- Environmental performance
The following steps will assist in effectively planning a workplace move:
- Form your core move project team as soon as possible and plan effectively – ensure all elements of the organisation are represented including HR, Procurement, I.T, Facilities and crucially Move Champions who are representatives from the workforce. Demonstrating that the staff have a voice and a role in the planning and vision for the new workplace ensures there is open and ongoing two-way communication across the business and staff recognise that the move will be a positive, collaborative and inclusive change – a common goal for all.
- Benchmark your organisation’s productivity and staff’s satisfaction before the move – Assess the organisation’s current productivity and determine which areas require improvement for the benefit of not only organisational performance but workforce wellbeing. This will assist you in shaping the new workplace so it will not only look better but actually function and operate more effectively. When you then benchmark in the new workplace, an improvement in productivity and satisfaction can be quantified and demonstrated to senior management. This should assist in future “buy-in” and financial support for further projects to enhance performance and productivity. There are organisations such as LCMB that specialise in undertaking benchmarking for you in an engaging, practical, and cost-effective way.
- Engage third party move specialists to support and enhance your core move project team – Too often, the commercial mover is engaged relatively near the planned move phase. Specialist BS 8522 accredited commercial moving companies have a wealth of experience of move projects and can support you from the beginning in attending planning meetings, helping you plan and shape the move and actually undertake a project management role if desired. They can help your staff prepare with practical advice, and undertake critical planning exercises such as furniture and I.T auditing, file mapping and space planning. Focus on procuring for value not cost so that your mover is not only delivering but enhancing the project and draw on their experience. An experienced mover will guide you through all stages of the move, and assist you in minimising risk and protecting business continuity.
- Do not miss the opportunity for the move to be a catalyst for positive change – Review all areas of the business and take into account the staff feedback from the benchmarking exercise. Can improvements be made in your new workplace? Will new organisational practices enhance your employees’ experience and wellbeing at work? Enhanced culture and staff wellbeing clearly correlates to improved productivity. If the new workplace addresses staff’s previous concerns, they can appreciate that they have been listened to and are valued. The new office needs to not only be more physically attractive, inspiring and creative, but an agile, practical and collaborative space. Your organisation may decide to shift to a coworking space model which in theory will deliver cost and space savings, and benefit staff. However, plan the layout carefully to ensure there is a diverse range of workspace available from dynamic, collaborative team space to quiet private work areas to ensure the common staff concerns on noise and lack of privacy do not arise post move.
In summary, with careful and thoughtful planning, a relocation should be a positive, business enhancing and collaborative project which unlocks value and drives productivity for the future – a positive move all round,
Sarah Cole is the Managing Director of Universal Commercial Relocation Ltd, joining Universal in 2002 following a 10 year career in the City of London specialising as a Real Estate solicitor. Sarah is now Managing Director of Universal, winner of the British Association of Removers’ Commercial Mover of the Year Award in 2015, 2017, and 2019. Sarah’s particular interest areas are in engagement and collaboration with the wider workplace industry in the interests of best practice and innovation, and quality assurance in service delivery.
Sarah and the Universal team specialise in office move services including move management, move planning, office relocation and churn, environmental clearance and I.T move services. If you would like to discuss planning and undertaking a potential move project, you can contact Sarah at Universal on t: 0208 575 1133, e: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ucr.uk.com or John O’Brien of LCMB on t: 01295 722923, e: email@example.com or www.lcmb.co.uk for an informal discussion.