Employees have feelings too, you know. Do these complaints sound familiar during move planning? “We don’t know what’s going on; they don’t tell us anything.” How about post move complaints? “Had they included us, this oversight never would have occurred.”
During the new office planning process, senior management often builds a wall not shown on any floor plan but physical nonetheless. It’s a barrier that shuns critical involvement by managers and staff. While management believes that too much involvement will lead to an unproductive environment, often just the opposite is true. Excluding employees from the move process leads to poor planning decisions only realized after move in.
For a successful relocation plan, it is necessary to communicate with key leaders such as department heads from the beginning of space programming through physical relocation. A move committee should be assigned for the duration of the project and should include an outsourced project manager or move consultant who will manage, disseminate and coordinate the information as needed. People like to know what to expect and department heads usually have good insight into how the changes can improve their workflow.
How many times have we heard that tenants often outgrow their new space before they ever move in due to poor internal communication that led to poor space selection and planning? Space needs are more than the number of offices, conference rooms, cubicles, growth, loss factor and circulation. For an office to be sized and designed properly, it is important to consider the needs and working relationships of all internal departments BEFORE site selection. See Space and Adjacency- Maximizing the Efficiency and Layout of Office Interior Space.
The morale of the employees has to be kept high otherwise dissatisfaction leads to a disgruntled staff. Most companies are so secretive that the first realization of problems occur when the employee’s first glance at a proposed seating chart. For many companies, this first encounter is not a pleasant experience. Employees should be encouraged to participate in the planning process so they get used to the new environment.
Critical information is not about move committee input but factual logistics such as “Our Sales Group cannot be separated from the Marketing Department” or maybe they cannot move on a particular date because it may disrupt a pending company-wide initiative. A project manager collects, communicates and is responsible for coordinating these details that don’t really fall under any particular discipline on the team.
It is this kind of communication and education about the process that leads to a successful outcome. Even planning for simple issues like hanging pictures, certificates, bulletin boards, etc., help to make for a smooth transition.
Including the staff who will be moved reduces anxiety and allows for questions and concerns to be addressed in advance.