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    Planning An Office Move? Ask These 10 Questions First

    Pam Matula

    You may find yourself planning an office move for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your company has outgrown its current space and you need a bigger office to accommodate new hires. Or you've recognized your current workplace isn't designed to attract, inspire and retain top talent. Whatever your motivation, planning an office move can be challenging if you haven't considered the following questions. 

    Taking the time to consider the following questions can help you focus your efforts and improve the planning process and can ensure your workplace move is for the better. 

    1) What Are Your Motivations For Moving?

    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 with poor space utilization? 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.

    2) How Is Our Current Workspace Being 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 and space utilization, you gain valuable insights that will help you in the move planning process.

    Using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can give you a deeper, more data-driven understanding of your space utilization and a clearer picture of how much space you really need. For instance, if you can definitely prove your sales reps are only using their private offices two days a week on average, you might decide it's time to eliminate individual offices in favor of a reservation-based model. 

    3) What Is Our Timeframe And Budget?

    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.

    4) What Do We Like And Dislike About Our Current Workspace?

    This is a topic in which you want to involve everyone. Ask straightforward 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.

    5) How Can We Improve The Workplace Experience? 

    Defined as the sum of all experiences an employee goes through in an organization, it's one of the most powerful tools at your disposal as a facilities leader. How your employees interact and engage with your space is critical in shaping their overall experience and productivity at your company. While the workplace experience is a cumulative effort from leadership, management and the workspace, their day-to-day interactions with your space will leave a lasting impression.

    When considering a move, it's important to examine areas of friction in your current space - to prevent those same challenges in the new one. What could be added or removed to help the lives of your workforce? Would they benefit from a wellness room, or do packages frequently go missing? Do they always complain about wanting to book conference room space or their guests inability to find parking? Surveying your workforce to find key areas for improvement can help with the planning and execution of your move. 

    6) What Workplace Technology Do We Need?

    As we usher in a new generation of workers, many companies are realizing the growing need for advanced technology in the workplace. Forward-thinking businesses understand the value of investing in technological tools that enhance the office space by encouraging workforce interaction.

    For instance, in the latest CBRE Americas Occupier survey, 59% of executives said they planned to add a mobile app that helps employees better navigate their environment and access the people, places and resources they need to be productive.

    As you consider an office relocation, technology will be an important factor. How agile, mobile and user-friendly is the technology you have in place now? Is your software hosted using on-premise servers that are difficult to move and expensive to maintain? If so, you can dramatically reduce your IT costs by moving to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. This may be the best time to talk with your IT department about a digital transformation project.

    7) Is Our Workplace Strategy Agile Enough To Grow With Us?

    In an effort to encourage teamwork for sparking creativity, more companies are knocking down walls and tearing down cubicles. However, many organizations have found an entirely open office is less than ideal for many reasons. Common criticisms include too much noise and employees finding it difficult to concentrate on deep work.

    That's why more agile work environments like activity-based working are becoming more common. Other organizations are going beyond this and adopting flexible space strategies that include a mix of traditional offices, incubators and coworking spaces they can add or eliminate the moment their needs change. 

    Before you sign another 10-year lease on prime real estate in downtown Manhattan, make sure you've considered all your options. 

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    8) Do We Have The Right Mix Of Spaces?

    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. 

    As you consider your new office design, make sure you have the right mix of quiet spaces and collaborative spaces. That includes large conference rooms as well as smaller private rooms and less formal huddle areas to encourage impromptu brainstorming sessions. 

    9) How Will Our Workspace Showcase Our Culture?

    Your workplace design communicates valuable information to both clients and employees regarding your company culture and the image you wish to portray. How well does the current space communicate your mission and culture, 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) How Engaging Is Our Workplace?

    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.

    Make Office Moves Easier With Move Management Software

    Planning an office move of any magnitude is a huge undertaking. Once you've identified the big-picture strategy and direction by asking these 10 questions, there are dozens of smaller, tactical steps needed to get there. 

    First, you need a detailed floor plan that accounts for every employee and every asset. You need a detailed timeline that outlines key individuals and responsibilities. You need a plan for communicating all of these next steps to your facility management team, department heads and individual employees. You might even need to hire move management services.  

    Move management software can help you plan and execute office moves much more efficiently. With move management software, you can visualize your entire portfolio and rearrange spaces by building, floor, department or individual desks. You can also create service tickets to ensure every task associated with the big move is completed according to schedule. And you can send notifications to your workforce to keep everyone informed about what's happening next.

    Pam Matula

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Pam Matula

    As Account Manager for iOFFICE, Pam works directly with our customers to ensure they have the best experience using iOFFICE. Pam came to the company as a former customer and daily user of the IWMS software. Because of her background, she is able to truly empathize with the varying needs of the FM during their IWMS journey. A strong leader, Pam's strategic nature and problem-solving skills developed from 18 years in the field serve her well when working with iOFFICE accounts.

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