What do General Electric, Expedia, Coca-Cola, and Pinterest all have in common? Each company has gone through a major office relocation.
Whether your business is big or small, and whether you’re moving to a new city or just across town, changing office spaces comes with both significant benefits and challenging disruptions.
Businesses that include employees in the office relocation process keep employees excited, engaged, and happy. However, a company that fails to consider how a big move impacts employees’ daily lives may face a workforce disgruntled by its decisions.
In this article, you’ll find key pros and cons of office relocation plus suggestions for ensuring your office move goes as smoothly as possible.
Pros: Boost Productivity in a Well-Designed Office Space
Moving into a brand-new office presents your business with a golden opportunity to create a space that enhances overall productivity. Open floor plans, huddle rooms, cubicles, conference spaces, and private offices — there are no limits on how you arrange your new office.
First, consider the ways seating impacts the workday. Choosing the right office setup will significantly impact how employees work and collaborate throughout the day.
As Inc. points out, an office arrangement that keeps managers behind closed doors might discourage employees from asking questions or engaging in casual conversations.
Similarly, teams that collaborate frequently should be seated close together, cutting down on miscommunication and encouraging closer relationships.
Next, look for an office that supports mental health and wellness. In 2013, a Northwestern University study concluded that exposure to natural light during the work day can help employees experience improved productivity, quality of life, and even better sleep.
Similarly, your new office might be closer to a park or green space where employees can take a break during the day.
Proximity to shops, restaurants, and doctors’ offices can also provide conveniences throughout the day, as employees complete occasional errands during break time.
These small perks can cut down on stress and help employees feel refreshed and ready to focus.
Above all, businesses should prioritize their employees’ self-reported needs and desires. More than 50% of employees say they value their personal space more than any other spot within the office. No matter what floor plan or design you choose, giving employees small choices about their personal spaces can help them feel invested in the move. For example, offering a choice of plants, lamps, or other small accessories can go a long way toward creating variety within the office and helping employees feel at home.
No matter how you set up your office after relocation, there are psychological benefits to moving into a larger space.
As Business.com points out, relocating to a better office can be “a signal of success, determination and dynamism.” Employees will be proud to host clients in an office that reflects your company’s growth.
Cons: It’s Impossible to Please Every Employee
Despite the many benefits of office relocation, there are also challenges involved. Each employee brings different needs and preferences to the table, and each decision means taking another option away.
It’s also possible that your business will take a short-term dip as customers adjust to your new location.
One of the most hotly debated issues is how office relocation impacts employees’ commutes. After all, a location that’s closer to one employee might be further for another. Choosing an office that’s disconnected from public transportation could strand employees without a way to work or even force them to consider getting a new job.
Before you announce your new location, The Spruce recommends reviewing your employee database to predict how it will impact employees’ commutes. This step will allow you to be proactive about communicating the change in a thoughtful, considerate way.
For example, your business might send all employees a detailed plan that includes information about public transportation and parking at the new office, or announce a new commuter benefits program to soften the inconvenience.
Managers should also follow up with individual employees who will be significantly impacted by the new commute to make sure they feel supported and heard. Be sure to allow extra flexibility as employees adjust to new timing and traffic patterns in the morning.
Finally, remember that the process of office relocation doesn’t end when the final moving van pulls away. Because most companies can’t afford to lease two offices simultaneously, there could be up to a year of remodeling after your staff has settled into place.
According to Moving.com, companies that appoint a “move manager” can reduce distractions, even if some are unavoidable. A move manager is a dedicated employee who has final authority over the move. This person will maintain spreadsheets of which items go where, label boxes, and create a detailed plan that will cut down on the time it takes your team to settle into its new digs.
Being organized, setting realistic expectations, and inviting feedback from employees will all help your business endure these bumps in the road.
Relocate Successfully by Listening to Employee Feedback
Every office relocation will encounter unique perks and challenges, but the key to any major change within a business is maintaining an open dialogue with the employees who keep all systems running smoothly.
By inviting feedback, minimizing disruptions, and anticipating concerns, you can ensure that your office relocation will be a success.