When it comes to relocating your office, there is no shortage of things to consider. An office move requires significant organisation and planning to successfully execute and can pose some difficult challenges along the way. Not only will you need to decide how to facilitate the move, but also organise how the business will operate during the relocation.
With so many moving parts, it’s not surprising that company culture is often thought of as low priority and takes a hit during a relocation. However, as company culture is ultimately about people, it is incredibly crucial. A business’ culture will be reflected in the quality of work, productivity levels and employee retention. To ensure that you have a thriving workplace, you’ll need to invest some time and effort into maintaining your culture during the move.
At Allied, we’ve helped thousands of businesses successfully make the difficult office move. We have created a handy list of ten things you should do to ensure that your culture survives the move and can continue to thrive in the new environment.
Adapt a change management methodology
Every business needs to undergo change at some point. Having a change management methodology already in place can make your move significantly easier. One of the popular change management methods is the Lewin Change Management Model, which takes a three step approach to implementing change. It compares organisational change to the changing shape of a block of ice, which needs to ‘unfreeze’, ‘change’ and ‘freeze’ again. This approach involves introducing the change by breaking the status quo, enabling the change and then making the change the new normal. Adopting a methodology like this can be a great way to plan for the move and allow employees the time to adjust.
Consistent and clear communication
Throughout any big change, it’s essential to ensure that you maintain constant communication with your employees. An office relocation may sound minor, but can create some significant changes for your business and employees. As the relocation can create changes in routine for your employees, it’s important to give some notice about the move so they have adequate time to prepare.
The smallest changes within the new office like the seating arrangement or where the coffee beans are stored can cause disruption so it’s best to communicate about these changes as early as possible.
We also recommend regularly updating your employees about the progress of the move, giving them deadlines to pack up their desks and the schedule for moving day and their involvement in the move. Remind employees about the day they will begin working in the new office space so no one accidentally turns up at the old office.
Embrace the fresh start
One of the most positive aspects of moving is that it presents the opportunity for a fresh start. Your office relocation is the perfect opportunity to evaluate your workplace culture and address any underlying issues as well as making improvements. Don’t be afraid to survey your staff and find out what is and isn’t working - both from an equipment standpoint and the management system.
An office relocation is a chance to replace or clean any old computers, reconfigure an office layout and establish some new management initiatives. Something as small as introducing a coffee machine into the new office kitchen can make the workplace feel a lot more social and encourage conversation between different teams.
Retain some of the familiar
Relocating your office brings a myriad of changes so it’s great to retain some aspect of familiarity to help your employees adjust to the new environment. This familiarity can be as simple as decorating the office with the same items as the previous space (artwork, awards, plants etc), keeping a similar employee seating arrangement and storing office supplies in the same spots. This will respect the traditions of the previous workplace and avoid any additional confusion.
When moving to a new office, it can be easy for employees to be caught up in all the changes and to be distracted. Maintaining routine is a great way to provide employees with structure and familiarity through the chaos of a move. It’s recommended that you encourage employees to keep their existing routine and continue scheduled meetings throughout the move and even after the dust has settled from the relocation.
Provide support for the change
Everyone copes with change differently. Some employees may find the change refreshing and invigorating, taking to the new office like a duck to water. While others may struggle with the change, finding it tough to readjust to the new environment. For these employees, it’s best to be supportive and find ways to give them the flexibility and time to adjust that they need. You can be supportive by scheduling catch-up with individual team members to check in how they are doing or allow some flexible working from home arrangements.
Create new traditions and habits
One of the most exciting aspects of an office relocation is the opportunity to introduce new traditions and ways of working into the work culture. Whether it’s choosing a new cafe for employees to enjoy their morning coffee at or taking advantage of the large meeting spaces to host all team meetings, it is easier to establish new habits in a different environment. You can also let the employees know about the event in advance of the move so they have more reason to feel excited about the relocation and events to look forward to.
Celebrate the new space
Celebrate a successful move and the new environment by hosting a party or celebration for employees. A celebration can be as small as cutting a cake or as large as a catered black-tie dinner, but whatever you choose to do, give your employees some notice beforehand and emphasise that it's to celebrate the new space. You can also take the opportunity to get to know your new neighbours by inviting them to the celebrations.
Allow an adjustment period
Throughout an office move, you’ll need to adjust your expectations about productivity. Often referred to as a ‘teething period’, it will take some time for employees to adjust to the new environment and be performing at their best again. Having unrealistic expectations about how staff should behave and work following a big change can lead to frustration on both sides and negatively affect the culture of your workplace. Instead, plan and prioritise work for the next few months with this adjustment period in mind before the move.
Hire experienced office removalists
Relocating your office and maintaining your culture throughout is made exceptionally easier when you choose a moving company with the right experience. Every relocation has its difficulties, and an office move is no exception. Relocating an entire workplace is incredibly complex so tasking the receptionist or HR team with the job could lead to significant logistics issues and stress. You’ll need to relocate confidential information, important equipment and do some significant heavy lifting. Instead, choose a corporate removalist like Allied who has the required expertise and equipment to make your relocation a success.
Book your move today!
If you are relocating your office, you want to use a trusted removalist company like Allied to make your move as seamless as possible. We are able to facilitate every aspect of your move from project management to secure storage options to e-waste disposal so you don’t have the hassle of dealing with multiple providers.
Whether you are relocating your office locally or interstate, Allied is here to make your move hassle-free so you can focus on what truly matters - your company culture. Get in touch to book your move with Allied today!