By – John O’Brien, LCMB Building Performance Ltd.
Many businesses find themselves in a position of having to relocate. There are a range of reasons for this, including, outgrowing an existing building, the need to be in a different location, having to present a different customer-facing or brand experience or simply having a building that no longer functions as needed.
Moving can be both costly and risky and always needs to beexpertly planned and executed.
We believe that there are some fundamental questions companies should always ask themselves as soon as the issue of relocating arises.
In order, of importance, these are:
- Why do we need to move, and can we do anything with our existing premises to avoid having to move?
- If we move what are the critical benefits we want to realise, how do we measure them and ensure we plan to capture them?
- How do we configure and phase our move to deliver these benefits whilst mitigating the cost and risks to our business?
In this blog, we suggest some questions to ask yourself to challenge if a move really needs to take place.
If you believe you’ve outgrown your existing building, we recommend that you undertake structured space utilisation surveys of your existing workstations, offices and shared areas. Typically, most businesses only use 60% their available space. This means with careful planning and gentle tweaks, such as hot desking, home working etc. you can make much better use of the space you have available and accommodate a further 40% of existing headcounts.
If your employee, or customer experience, is suffering due to an ageing or poor workplace, building or estate, we would recommend that you critically review what specific aspects, issue or constraints are causing these difficulties. Ensure you engage with all your stakeholders in this exercise to get their feedback and a real insight into the issues. Taking time with this step will also demonstrate to your people that you value their input. You can then cost out the resolution of the current workplace problems and compare it to the likely cost of moving to determine if you are best served by staying or moving.
We also believe that poor performing workspaces can be reconfigured to be more productive, more easily and cost effectively than most people imagine. Last year we completed a three year £0.5m research project, with a host of world class organisations, that examined how workplace performance, productivity and wellbeing can be improved. The bad news from this research was that almost every office we assessed was failing people – staff concentration, productivity and health was clearly worse than it should have been. The good news was that simple and cheap changes – for example lowering CO2 levels – meant peoples performance improved completing cognitive tasks a whopping 62% faster and 12% more accurately. You can learn more on how to improve existing workplace performance by reading an overview of this research.
We’ll address some ideas on how to plan and deliver your relocation to secure your planned benefits and improve performance in our next blog.