The prospect of an office relocation can be daunting. Yet, it’s often necessary to be able to meet changing business needs, with companies moving office on average every seven years.
Moving house is billed as one of the most stressful things a person can do in their lives, so it’s no surprise moving your entire business can be equally as challenging, if not more. However, careful preparation and early planning can take the stress out of moving, preventing setbacks and extra cost to your business.
Here are some top tips to ensure you have a hassle-free relocation.
There’s no ‘I’ in team
While it’s going to take a team of employees and hired professionals to facilitate the move, you should initially identify a project leader who can act as a single point of contact for external parties and keep all internal stakeholders in the loop. This should be an organised and senior individual who has the authority to make quick decisions and drive the project forward.
A dedicated project leader will keep everything – and everyone – on target, concentrating on tasks and minimising delays to make sure the key objectives set out at the beginning of the move are achieved.
Planning is paramount
Before beginning your relocation, gather all necessary information including the details of the existing lease and notice period and any outstanding obligations, to allow you to set out your relocation timeline. Set a moving date as far in advance as possible and avoid organising any important business activities on or around the date to ward off unnecessary pressure.
Whether it’s for a planned expansion or contraction in overheads, make sure your objectives for the move are clear. Think about how you need the new premise to work for you now and in one, five or ten years to add longevity to your relocation plans.
Once the project leader has been appointed, work should also commence on creating a budget. Calculate the full cost of the space, including rent, utilities, construction costs and moving expenses. You should also include a buffer for any unexpected costs, which are sure to appear.
A budget is crucial to help you assess your costs, plan your finances and manage your expenditure throughout the relocation. Budgets can also help you to gauge the success of your project and measure its ROI.
Location, location, location
To find the right location for your premises, you should again think about why you’re relocating. You may be looking for a location which helps you get access to the best talent or gives you easier access to your target consumer market or clients.
Consider where your key employees live and whether the location is convenient for them. While you’re never going to please everyone, it may be worth conducting a staff survey of commutable areas to find the best location for the majority of staff. A long and expensive commute may push them to seek employment elsewhere, causing large – and avoidable – recruitment costs.
In addition, consider the proximity of public transport, staff and client parking and accessibility. Setting up your office in a lively area with shops, restaurants and cafes could have a positive impact on employee wellness and engagement. ‘Saving’ money on cheaper out-of-the-way office space could cost your business in the long run, so prioritise accessibility.
Think about your design
Employee engagement positively correlates with workplace satisfaction, so you need to consider the on-site facilities of your new office. It’s important to provide spaces which encourage social and informal connections between employees, as well as facilitate team meetings and flexible working.
Research suggests employees get distracted every three minutes. To help combat this, ensure there are areas where employees can take a proper break away from their desks.
However, you also need to provide areas where people can concentrate and work in private.
If there are not enough private meeting spaces or quiet areas for employees, this can be a cause of stress, so ensure you offer variety to suit different preferences and activities.
An office move is an opportunity to create positive change within your business. The move could improve business performance, provide your workforce with better facilities and in turn, increase staff morale.
Keeping your staff informed and engaged throughout will make them feel part of the process and appreciated by you.
Emma Davidson is the area retail manager for the City of London arm of Express.