How To Minimize Disruption While Renovating Your Office

by Elizabeth Dukes on April 5, 2018

FBL Financial Group is in the midst of a major office renovation, but if you visited their corporate headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, you’d never know it.

The insurance holding company started the massive undertaking of replacing everything from ceiling systems to HVAC and plumbing one floor at a time, a project they expect will take nearly five years. The first phase of the project involved relocating 165 people.

Yet so far, they haven’t experienced so much as a day of downtime and have had no disruptions to their business.

What’s their secret?

Jodi Parrott, the organization’s senior staff facilities planning analyst, said even with a project this complex, success really comes down to paying attention to the simple things. Here are her top tips for renovating your office without disrupting your workforce—or losing your mind.

Use Move Management Software

FBL has used the iOFFICE integrated workplace management system (IWMS) to manage space, moves and more since 2013. With the renovation, they will be moving from one size standard to another. As Jodi worked with the architects, she used Space Trak, a cloud-based space planning forecasting software to determine how the new standards of sizes would fit into their newly renovated spaces.

“We gave them a seven-year growth plan with historic information,” she said. “Had we done that manually (which we have before), it would have been a very tedious project of using Excel spreadsheets. This cut weeks, if not months, off our planning

Keep Your Workforce Informed

Depending on the size, an office renovation can affect hundreds or even thousands of people.

When those people are left in the dark about what’s happening, it can create unnecessary chaos and stress.

To keep everyone informed, Jodi hosted weekly meetings with key stakeholders from each department. She provided updates for them to share with their teams and gathered questions from their employees. Sending updates through employee newsletters and addressing issues in town hall meetings can also help.


Be Responsive

It’s one thing to provide updates; it’s another to provide answers.

And Jodi did just that. No matter how trivial the concern (Can I keep my parking spot? What will happen to the coffeemaker?), she made an effort to address them.

Sometimes that meant responding to emails at 10 p.m. It took some effort, but it paid off.

“I think we have happier people because we listened to them,” Jodi said. “Facility management is a customer service. Those employees are our customers; I’m a liaison between the workforce and the management.”

You can hear more from Jodi about the challenges of managing a major office renovation, using Space Track and more at our upcoming Workplace Champions Summit on April 25th and 26th. There’s still time to join us, but spaces are filling up fast! Register by April 18th to secure your spot.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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