When Google upgraded the Googleplex in all its nap-pod-bedecked splendor, the world still saw coffee stations as rewards rather than necessities. It was 2010, and most offices were downgrading to cubicle farms. The massage services and gourmet cafeterias at Google's headquarters were a loud statement urging the world to treat their office workers with more respect.
The Googleplex acknowledged one simple truth: Your employees spend a third of their lives at work, so your office space has a powerful impact on their wellbeing. Morale translates into productivity, which, in turn, churns up profits. Relocation can annihilate morale so severely that it causes an average productivity loss of 20%. New office space can have positive effects if handled well, though. In the long run, studies reveal plenty of benefits to moving, but the challenges of adjusting to a new space are significant.
How to Make an Office Move Good for Staff
Despite the challenges of relocation, 68% of employees say that moving office had a positive effect on them. Their favorite benefits are a more comfortable and spacious office, improved aesthetics, and better productivity. Play into those benefits, and your relocation will carry your productivity to new heights.
Moving is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your office space, and you don't need to add a massage parlor to achieve it. Employees report wanting places to relax, do-not-disturb areas, and natural light. With natural light alone reportedly increasing productivity by 15 percent. These suggestions have one thing in common: they're all affordable ways to raise your bottom line. They'll boost your staff retention rates and achieve a more productive ecosystem. It's easier than you think to improve the impact of your office move on employees.
Manage Uncertainty Through Communication
Employees say one of the toughest challenges of relocation is the uncertainty involved. Communication is the easiest way to jump over that hurdle and ensure a successful office relocation, so put someone in charge of keeping everyone informed and build an email list for updates. The way you frame your move will determine your staff's response, so keep your language positive without undermining your employees' feelings. Don't make false promises in the process, though. If your staff will have to endure three months of remodeling, telling them upfront will help them to measure their response.
Prevent Staff Feeling Out Of Control By Involving Them
One of the most stressful elements that relocated employees experience during a move is losing a space that once gave them comfort. Being forced out of this comfort zone can leave staff feeling out of control. However, if your employees feel a part of your relocation, they'll have the internal locus of control required to see it positively. Involving them in your decisions will help them engage the right coping skills, so open up those management meetings and develop an open-door policy, even if you intend to close it after your relocation.
Lower Your Expectations As Staff Adjust
Relocation requires your staff to adjust everything from their commute times to their childcare arrangements. Their budgets are likely to take the strain as they adjust to new parking charges and travel costs. Some might even need to move home, so be cognizant of that pressure and how it will reflect on their work quality. This is one of the rare times when reducing your work quality expectations is a positive move, if only in the short term. This is an excellent opportunity to promote work-life balance, so engage your HR managers in mentorship programs.
A Clutch survey found that distractions are one of the biggest challenges of office relocation. IT staff must adjust your employees' workstations to get their hardware running. Handymen must rush in and out of their offices installing electronics and interior design elements. Contractors must render their desks unusable while painting and retiling. You will suffer productivity losses after you relocate, but don't blame your employees. Your move will shorten their workdays substantially through no fault of their own, so this isn't the time to play disciplinarian.
Studies show that employees are willing to suffer the short-term consequences of relocation for the sake of long-term benefits. This is the perfect opportunity to maximize those positive effects. All forms of change cause trepidation and anxiety, but relocation can also become the most positive decision you make all decade. If you treat it as the opportunity it is, you'll retain staff during your Office Relocation.
About the author:
Patryk Panczuk runs a removals and storage company called Removals & Storage Experts based in London. He is passionate about helping businesses, no matter the size, with their removals and relocation needs with minimal muss or fuss.