Tony Smith is the president of R&R Engineers.
Moving an Office: How to Keep Your Sanity and Stay Productive
A new space presents new challenges
There are 1,001 reasons why a business must pack up, unplug all the technology, keep all assets secure and physically move the entire operation to another address. Maybe a new space will better suit your client demographic; maybe you need more or less space; maybe a move provides for an improved workflow, both for your employees and for your clients.
But all these reasons do not make a company move easy, sometimes these reasons aren’t reason enough to pack up and move the company. After thirteen years at a workable address, we recently moved our entire firm in order to grow, keep up with a faster paced market, provide client and employee comfort, update technology and optimize our workflow.
When uprooting a company, there are many problems that can arise. Sometimes, deals for new locations present themselves and deals fall apart for dozens of reasons. Drama rumors will ignite across the company, but just remember, everyone has opinions and all opinions are valid.
People are going to talk; it is a big deal to move an office. It is emotional and it is a threat to work productivity. Where people work, and what their space looks and feels like, directly impacts employee productivity.
The rumor mill will start to spin. Ten-minute-a-day commuters hear they may now have to drive 45 minutes a day. What about parking – will the new space provide that? Will employee cuts be made in order to justify the spend? Not being close to the new coffee machine can feel like a kick-in-the-pants to the employee that enjoys the java all day long. No windows and no light can hinder all things needed at work: creativity, energy and enjoyment.
A company must listen to all these concerns. Ample parking is important. Being no more than five minutes from major highways is critical. Employees aside, in construction, field crews travel to project sites all over the state, and it is critical to provide advantages against the increasing traffic and highway construction issues.
Ultimately, the entire discussion of moving and all its potential problems should be freely discussed in a company planning a move. It is wise to be completely transparent in the process ̶ and to stay that way until the move is made. When a company is open about all aspects of a move, it creates good karma and employees will get excited about the prospect of a new office.
You should have lots of meetings about the move: meet with department heads and administrative staff; create lists of things to consider and complete, and then begin to prioritize them; divvy up the list so no one or two people are doing all the work. Employees are invested in its outcome and will want to help with the process along the way.
What also happens, as everyone gets involved and motivated, is that excitement grows. The process becomes fun and new ideas for workplace activities will come forth.
Sure, setbacks will happen. But to face these setbacks as they come, build a project team dedicated to coordinating the move. This team should be included in all planning efforts and will identify potential setbacks and resolve them quicker.
We had plenty of setbacks: construction got delayed; furniture installers didn’t arrive as planned; fire inspections and Certificate of Occupancy processes proved took more time than originally scheduled.
But schedules are easier to adjust when you have teams taking care of issues. And logistical tasks like utilities, parking companies and coordination of moving dates can be more readily addressed.
Ultimately, we moved, and we are adapting to the new space that will enable and support our growth as a company. And in the end, the hassle was worth it.