Six keys to a successful office move
One clear impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a reassessment of office space and whether what you have meets your current business needs. There are many reasons to move. You need more or less space. You want to decrease overhead costs. You want to be closer to a center of business activity or a more dynamic neighborhood filled with dining and entertainment options. The reason you are moving doesn’t matter, but when you do move your office…you must do these six things to make the move a success.
Share the responsibility
Remember the office is moving and everyone who works in the office plays a role. Whether it’s some light manual labor in moving boxes and furniture or the administrative tasks of organization, make sure the office move is overseen by a team and not on the shoulders of an individual. This is especially important because when you have an important challenge – like an office move – you turn to your best and most reliable employees. And then you put them in an often thankless, high stress situation which makes them a target for a company-worth of questions and concerns. You can’t afford to burnout your best employees at a time when you need them most, so make sure you all contribute and don’t isolate the responsibility.
Plan the move, communicate the plan
With your team in place, create a plan for the move and it needs to have more detail than have everything in a box by the end month. Creating – and communicating – a clear timeline of milestones for the move is vital for success. The timeline not only holds everyone accountable, but it communicates your expectations of all employees during the move. Providing regular updates on where you are in your timeline – what you have achieved and what comes next – keeps everyone informed, engaged and reinforces the reality that “this move is happening.”
Donate things away
Whether it’s a violent purge or a Marie Kondo-inspired appreciation for each unused office supply, you must get rid of stuff. It lowers your moving costs, and it makes unpacking and setting up the new office easier. And the reality is that the speed of technology outpaces the utility of many traditional office supplies. That said, what doesn’t have a place in the modern office may still play a role in your local school or non-profit. The wired mouse gives way to the wireless. The paper cutter, spiral binding machine and laminator give way to the digital storage in the cloud. You don’t need it; someone else does. And if no one does, then the trash bin wants it.
You are moving more than boxes
An office move also means updating email signatures, client contracts, subscriptions, business cards and so much more. It also affects your IT department not only in the move of physical equipment but the saved logins and passwords on all employee machines that need to be updated in the new location. This is why the plan for your move and a timeline is so important, because it should also incorporate all these things. A successful move aligns all these changes to take place as simultaneously as possible. And it’s also a necessity for what comes next…
Announce and celebrate the new location
Your move won’t feel complete until everyone knows about it, and that includes your employees. Don’t focus so intensely on sending corporate communications to clients and press releases to the local business journals that you neglect to throw an office happy hour or order in lunch. Make sure everyone knows the move has taken place and, more importantly, that the move process is complete and you are launching into the next phase for your company.
Seize the opportunity to institute change
You have completed one of the biggest changes a company can make, so why not add a few more at the same time. Channel the energy that comes from the trepidation and excitement of a move to institute organizational changes in a way that makes them part of the new normal going forward. New seating locations can set a new tone of the relationship between management and the broader team. Standing meetings can go away or new ones can be created. You can send a message around priorities by recommitting to adherence in time tracking, instituting a lunch and learn program or building a new approach to finding the next great partnership. Promotions or team restructuring can recognize employees’ past contributions or new expectations in the new space.
Jump Company recently completed our own office move in June 2022 and are happy to report everyone survived and six boxes of CDs and twenty years’ worth of advertising printer proofs did not.