10 Questions You Should Ask When Developing a Move Management Strategy
Maximizing profits and reducing spending has always been a top priority for Executives and Facility Managers alike. As organizational leaders recognize people and space as the top two business expenses, they’re realizing they also represent their most valuable tools.
In an effort to spark creativity and camaraderie, companies across the globe are transforming their office spaces into open floor plans, designed to encourage chance encounters with colleagues. Indicating that creative ideas are not born sitting in front of a computer, Samsung’s new U.S. headquarters features an open floor plan with outdoor areas between floors, in the hopes their workforce would socialize and collaborate. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo, who estimates 30-50% of their space goes unused every day, is looking to decrease their real estate portfolio, encouraging employees to use flex spaces in the process. Whether your goal is to increase profits, decrease your environmental footprint, or encourage collaboration in your workforce (or all three), there are a few items you will want to evaluate during the planning stages.
1) What are the business’s goals for the future?
Regardless of the size of your company, planning a move is an expensive undertaking. To avoid overspending and ensure another move won’t be required in a few years, it is important to evaluate both short and long-term goals. What are your plans for future growth? Will it require an increase in workforce? Can your current space meet future workforce demands or will you need additional space? How has/is the business changing and where does this move fit into these changes? Consideration of the details now ensures maximization of resources and encourages your team to map out a move management plan of action for meeting future spatial needs.
2) What are the main reasons for undertaking a workspace project?
IWMS News reported that businesses leave up to 45% of their space portfolio vacant at any given time. Are you one of the many organizations paying top dollar to NOT occupy space? Or is your company in just the opposite situation—business is booming, requiring you to hire more people than your current location can handle? Are you looking for a new, energy-efficient space so as to decrease energy spending and your environmental footprint? What results do you hope to achieve by completing this project? Once you have gained an understanding of company goals, your reasons for undertaking such a massive project should become clear.
3) How the space is currently used?
It is critical that you have a basic understanding as to how the space is currently used and where/how prior planning went wrong. Has your company undergone layoffs, leaving your organization with open desks and unused square footage? Has the business grown, forcing more new hires than your space can currently handle? How are the floor plans currently laid out and in what ways does the layout encourage or discourage long-term goals? By analyzing your current real estate, you gain valuable data that will help you in the planning process- do you need to move to a new space altogether or can you remain in your current location and undertake an office redesign project? How much space do you really need?
4) What is the timeframe and budget for the move?
Developing a budget for both time and money is critical in realizing a true return on your investment. How many of your current resources will be utilized in your transformed or new space? Do new purchases fit into future plans for growth? How much time will movers need and how much downtime will your employees experience. Downtime can significantly reduce productivity, affecting the entire organization and its goals.
Consider all factors during budget strategizing.
5) What are the likes and dislikes about the current workspace?
This is a topic in which you want to involve everyone. Ask straight forward questions like “What are the likes and dislikes of the space?” or “Does your workforce currently find themselves without enough conference space, forcing them to meet with potential clients at coffee shops or in your small, cramped office?” Specifics often help open up the lines of communication. Is the lighting oppressive and the cubicles uninspiring? Equally, general questions about work conditions can show that management is interested. Meet with department heads and ask them to poll their teams for changes they would like to see, as well as items they think should be enhanced or left the same. Your workforce and office space are two of your most valuable tools, so it is critical they work together.
6) What tools are currently being used and where does this fit into plans for the new office space?
As we usher in a new generation of workers, many companies are realizing the growing need for advanced workspace tools. Forward-thinking businesses are realizing the value of investing in technological tools that enhance the office space by encouraging workforce interaction. Where does your company fit into this picture and what are your plans for accommodating future growth? Where does the company stand regarding mobility and what are future goals on this subject? Consult with IT regarding how the move will affect their job, what technical details need to be evaluated and how long of a timeframe they will need, to ensure the company is up and running after the move, with minimum downtime?
Your workspace tools encompass much more than technical tools. What furniture is currently being utilized and how effectively does it meet your workforce’s current needs? How will they fit into the new workspace? If new tools are needed, this could require a significant amount of your budget, so it is crucial you analyze every aspect of workspace tools needed moving forward.
7) What type of environment do I want to encourage?
In an effort to encourage teamwork for sparking creativity, more companies are knocking down walls and tearing down cubicles. Many are utilizing natural light sources, abandoning oppressive florescent lighting. Aside from forcing co-workers to interact and bounce ideas off each other, executives are encouraging transparency, from the C-suite all the way down to their clients. Open office space, however, is not for everyone. What environment are you looking to encourage and how do you plan/hope to accomplish this?
8) How do you provide a space for everyone in such a dynamic workforce?
Like most modern businesses, your workforce is likely comprised of multiple personality types. While some may thrive on open spaces and communication with colleagues, others work well in the comfort of their own privacy and space. Make it a priority to get to know your customers and what it is that makes them tick. If you do not provide a mixture of options to fit everyone’s needs, you will find yourself right back at square one.
9) What image do you want to portray?
Your office communicates valuable information to both clients and employees regarding the company mission and the image you wish to portray. How well does the current space portray that image and where does it fall short? You have already identified future business goals—is the image changing along with these goals? By aligning the workspace with company image, you invite employees to live the brand and, hopefully, get excited about it.
10) Do employees have an inviting place to break and socialize?
With 60% of employees feeling unsupported, detached, or disengaged, organizations who wish to furnish an engaging and productive business environment must think outside the box, encouraging workplace practices previously frowned upon. In an effort to show support, build trust, and create a sense of balance, those who wish to retain their talent are outfitting their buildings with game rooms, fitness centers, cafes, and other spots where people naturally congregate. Whether yours is a company with 10 employees or 10,000, providing a space for your employees to break and clear the mind adds significant value.
Initiating a move of any magnitude is a huge undertaking. Companies must pay close attention to detail during the consideration stage to identify spatial needs and prepare for proper planning. Conversely, the post-move period is invaluable for collecting feedback on the overall process. What worked and what needs improvement? By analyzing the technical and human variables, a more complete picture of the needs, expectations, and procedures is developed.