What I know about employees and moving office
You can’t wait until the removal van has been booked to tell employees about moving office. Open communication with all staff from the beginning of the moving process is very important. Explain the rationale behind the move and provide regular updates on the progress of the moving plans. Before announcing the move, compile a list of key questions (with answers) that employees might ask.
All staff need to be reassured their jobs are safe (if this is the case). If the reasons for moving are poorly communicated, murmurs in the ranks can start up. In many minds, moving office can equate to redundancies.
It might take some employees longer to get to work. This is a common complaint and for many people, longer travel times are a real concern. Focus on promoting the positives that come from the move, such as a better office space, better facilities or company growth.
Everyone will have an opinion about the new office design. But it’s not practical or beneficial to open up the discussion to all employees. Senior management are generally part of the initial planning process and play an important role in the implementation of the final move plans. There will be other employees who simply need to be informed of and kept updated on the plans.
An open-plan office environment will take a while for some staff to get used to. Take the time to manage your staff’s expectations, and do it sooner rather than later. Outline the benefits of open-plan workplaces. Ask your designer to set up a mock workstation before the move so staff can get used to their new desk set-up.
Getting staff to pack up their desks is hard. But involving employees from the beginning of the process will mean they are more likely to participate positively in the move. Give clear instructions on what your expectations are surrounding an individual’s involvement in the process.
To begin with, only a few people will like their new environment. Give employees time to settle into their new surroundings, especially if the change has been substantial. Encourage staff to give their new work stations a reasonable amount of time before raising a complaint. Ask for their feedback after a few months in the new space – and focus on the positives. This helps employees feel more included, valued and engaged.