How do I manage staff through an office move?
Offices moves can be stressful for everyone involved. For your staff, it's likely to mean substantial change, so it's important to engage people in the process from the start and keep the communication flowing. This way you stand a better chance of keeping your employees on board, minimizing complaints, and boosting both morale and productivity.
Good HR support and effective management of staff can make all the difference, even more so when the move involves a merger with another company.
Begin the communication process early - give plenty of notice and make sure it's crystal clear why you're moving and how it will benefit both the company and its employees. Your team is more likely to respond positively if they know what's in it for them.
Manage expectations and be realistic about what the move will entail. Keep the communication flowing throughout the process, whether it's through face-to-face meetings, newsletters or email updates. Importantly, ask people to respond and voice their concerns. This two-way communication should continue well after the move has taken place.
Engage your staff
Seek your employees' feedback right from the start and create an official means for them to share ideas and concerns. By making their contribution count, you're letting them know you value their opinion. This way, they'll be more likely to show enthusiasm and support for the move.
Engage their families too - any change to routine, particularly if it involves a house move, will have an affect on the whole family. So arrange a trip to the location and invite everyone along.Importantly, respond rapidly to any worries or complaints.
Manage change, avert crisis
Brainstorm how the move could affect your staff and plan how to deal with every eventuality. If their travel time will increase, consider reimbursing the extra part of the journey. Could you introduce a shuttle bus from the bus or train station, or subsidize staff bicycles?
Budget for any home relocation costs if you are moving cities or states, and decide how you'll motivate people to move, given the tough economic climate. If you opt for flexible or mobile working, make sure your employees know you have the technology in place to make this a reality.
Check out our HR Guide to Moving Office for everything you need to know on keeping staff engaged throughout an office move.
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