Growth is exciting, but it can also be painful. Each new product line or acquisition forces you to reassess your real estate strategy. The coronavirus pandemic has added new layers of complexity to this as many companies are reducing office density and re-evaluating how much space they actually need.
If an office relocation is in your near future, you’ll want to minimize any disruption to your employees and clients. Here are 10 tips for getting it right.
With the coronavirus accelerating the shift toward more remote work, nearly 70% of corporate real estate professionals are considering reducing their office space, according to a recent CoreNet Global survey.
That means you need to consider all your options before moving forward with an office relocation. You might be able to meet the needs of your growing workforce by adopting a more agile work environment that includes desk hoteling or activity-based working.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to move and you’ve chosen the location, you’ll need to set a timeline. Ideally, you should start planning at least six to 12 months before your anticipated moving date and work backwards from there.
Make sure you involve the right people in the planning stages, including your leadership team, facilities management team, human resources, office manager, project manager, interior design consultants and your commercial real estate group. If you need more help with the heavy lifting, you might want to get quotes from a few moving companies as well.
Your office relocation timeline should include key milestones, including when each floor and department needs to be packed and ready to move.
Pro tip: About two weeks before the first phase of the move begins, send reminders to employees with their new locations, as well as instructions on what they need to do and when.
Even with the most detailed plan in place, moving to a new office location is a stressful process and it will affect your employees. They might be upset about giving up their old office or worried about whether or not the new space will support their needs.
When Sodexo was relocating an office in Stockholm, Sweden, with unassigned seats, employees had concerns about how they would find their managers and colleagues.
Sodexo’s leaders hosted meetings with employees to explain that although they would no longer have their own dedicated desks, they’d be gaining a lot more, including more natural light, the ability to sit or stand throughout the day and the ability to more easily collaborate with coworkers by moving around the office as needed.
Managers drove excitement about the new office by putting up a staging area showing the proposed paint colors, curtains and furniture.
Managers also met with team leaders to address individual concerns.
“With any change, people tend to overestimate how good their current conditions are and underestimate what they’ll gain from making a change.”
– Magnus Löfsjögård, Sodexo service manager
Wouldn’t it be great to have every element of your move planned out before you do any heavy lifting?
Move management software makes it easy to try out different scenarios before deciding on a final layout or seating arrangement. Then, when it’s time to make the move, you can coordinate employees, assets, space and relocation tasks in a fraction of the time.
iOFFICE’s move management software includes a stacking diagram that shows you the capacity for each floor and what percentage is occupied. With this feature, you can:
Pro tip: Use a stacking diagram to intelligently and automatically select seats for employees based on their category and how close they are to certain teams or departments.
Properly categorizing employees by department, employee type and location can help make moves much more efficient.
Let’s say you want to identify all the part-time contractors or the people who work primarily from a remote location. If you have assigned them to a specific category, you can select them all at once, shelve them and see how moving them would impact your capacity. Or, if you want to see everybody who has a cubicle or a VP office, you can easily filter and select them.
With any office relocation, there are so many moving parts that it’s impossible for one person to manage all of them. With move management software, you can automate many manual tasks. For each move, you can create a workflow that assigns specific tasks to the right people and sends automated email reminders to them. This helps you make sure you’re covering all the logistical details while you focus on the project plan.
Planning moves at Sephora’s large corporate office used to take up to three months. Edgar Sanchez, the manager of corporate facilities, was using a combination of different software solutions to update floor plans and employee data. When the company began preparing for a massive 400-employee office relocation, he used iOFFICE’s move management software to plan and execute every phase of the moving process.
This gave him the ability to use digital floor plans with real-time occupancy data to create move scenarios before relocating a single chair. He could easily integrate the software with Sephora’s other business solutions too. That shortened the total move planning time to a single week—a more than 90 percent reduction!
Before you even think about unplugging and packing office equipment, take stock of every single item. That includes office furniture, equipment and any supplies.
(Asset management software will make this a breeze.)
Implement a labeling system to ensure cables and accessories are grouped with their respective machines from their respective departments. When removing cables, do so carefully to prevent pins from bending and other types of cable damage. Place each machine’s accessories in their own labeled resealable bag for the move. Most importantly, plan strategically so that equipment and corresponding assets arrive at the new location at the same time.
Moving an employee’s entire workstation without their computer, for example, could seriously derail productivity.
Pro tip: Consider hiring move management services if you’re not confident your in-house team can manage all the heavy lifting.
To make sure everything works properly after moving day, establish a schedule for the transfer of all services, including utilities, internet service and phone service.
You’ll also need to update your address everywhere it exists online. Don’t forget about:
Make it easy for employees and visitors to navigate their new office environment by adding a wayfinding kiosk to your lobby. With a digital display, employees can easily see which rooms are available and where they’re located. They can also find where an individual is sitting just by searching for their name.
Pro tip: With iOFFICE’s Markers feature, you can identify important places like restrooms, emergency exits and fire extinguishers within our move management software.
After we moved the iOFFICE headquarters to our new home on Memorial Drive in Houston, we hosted an open house to celebrate. We invited employees, their families and our customers to share in the excitement with food, games for the kids and plenty of iOFFICE swag.
In light of the physical distancing measures brought on by the novel coronavirus, this type of group gathering would depend on an organization's ability to take proper precautions to reduce risks to employees' health and safety. While traditional open-house celebrations may be difficult, there are several alternatives for celebrating with everyone in the meantime. For instance, you may consider holding a virtual livestream or sharing a video tour of the new space with employees.
Planning a successful office move is a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you take it one step at a time. Using move management software can help you streamline the planning process and keep track of all the logistics as you go.
Not using our move management software yet? Now is the time to start! Request a live demo today.
James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.