If you are worrying about how to break the news of your office relocation to the members of your staff, stop right here!
You’re probably not an expert in office move communications, but what you need to know first and foremost is that this is a technical process. So, a good staff communication plan for an office move goes far beyond merely informing employees about the change in address.
Read on to find out more about this!
To have a successful conversation with your staff about the company’s move, you will need to have a plan that actively engages all staff. As long as you start the communication early, everything should be okay.
Remember that employees play a vital role in a successful office relocation for two major reasons:
- They often need to pack their own equipment (desk, documents, personal belongings)
- Their perspective about the process is an important factor in its proper execution
To have as many employees on board with your move as possible, you will need to create a good communication strategy and apply it carefully.
Here are 10 amazing steps on how to communicate with employees about an office move.
First you need to:
1. Build a move team.
While creating your plan, consider the office move as a team work and outline some teamwork rules. Ensure you involve leaders from your department lines of business and functional representatives, such as:
Team leaders are key here as they are the trusted and well-respected employees who can give you insight about how other employees feel about the move. This is one of the best ways you can prepare employees for an office move.
2. Be a source of inspiration to your employees during this time.
Begin your communication strategy about your relocation as early as you can. Don’t wait so long that employees start finding out about the move from other sources. This can create unexpected troubles that can hinder the future development of your plan.
As stressful as the relocation may be for you, remember that your team probably doesn't have as many of the details as you do. They are going to be even more on edge and anxious about a relocation.
As their leader, you will need to stay calm and level-headed. As a manager once said, "speed of the team is the speed of the leader". Lead your team during the move by example which will result in simplifying the office move.
3. Deliver the relocation news the right way.
The right way to communicate the news to your workers depends on how you typically exchange information. If you mostly share company news via email, you should continue on this way. If you usually hold town hall style meetings, then call an in-person meeting.
Regardless of how you do it, your internal communications should include these key messages:
A) A clear timeline.
Make sure you list all the key steps of the move, so everyone knows what to expect and when.
B) Packing instructions.
Provide your staff with instructions on how to pack their offices or cubicles for the move. This should include where to get packing materials, what they're responsible for packing and deadlines. Your office movers and relocation experts can help you with this.
C) Advanced notice of any office closures.
During the move, you may need to close the office to enable the final packing and moving of office equipment and furniture. Make sure your staff is aware of these dates , how the business will continue during the move and how this will affect their work schedule and workload.
D) New office plan
Your employees will want to know early on what the new space will look like and how the offices will be set up. Will they still have their own space or will they now be in a cubicle or open floor plan?
Make sure you create a way to inform staff of how their work space might change.
E) The new location, parking and commute options.
Provide staff with all the information they need about the new location so that they can prepare transportation to the new space.
Once you've determined all the key messages, you need to determine how best to deliver these messages. The method you use should be decided by the type of message.
4. Methods of Communication.
The methods you’ll choose to communicate the office move to your staff are very important. They give everyone the opportunity to ask questions, read up about new office amenities, and get regular updates about the move.
The following ways can be used:
This is for companies or organizations that have an intranet. This is usually the best platform for most messages. It enables easy updates to files and information that reaches all employees.
No matter what the message, staff meetings are a good place to make announcements and allow staff the chance to have a complete discussion. You can also use the meeting time to review how information will be communicated moving forward so your employees know they'll be kept informed.
While email is easy, it's not the best way to relay information. You don't want to send out so many emails that people can't find the information when they need it. If you do use email, make sure you only use it to let people know where they can obtain the information.
If you don't have an intranet, then creating a common folder on a network drive that everyone can access is the next best way to store information that you want people to access.
5. Bulletin board.
A physical space where information is posted, is a great thing to do. Not only can people check it often, it also provides a place where people can gather and discuss their concerns.
5. Review the content of your messages.
Think about what other messages you want to convey to your staff apart from the fact that you are relocating the business. You may want to share more detailed information to avoid questions concerning the move.
Sharing your thoughts on how the new office may help grow the business, how it can create a better working environment from which your employees can thrive, and how it will make a more positive impression on clients and visitors, will most definitely help keep the spirits high and on track.
6. Make messages relevant for each department.
Different teams/departments may be on varying move schedules and may have access to different facilities at the new office location. As a result, you should think of a way to distribute this information through each respective channel of communication to get the specialized instructions across to all team members.
7. Involve employees with the relocation process.
Getting your staff engaged with the move will keep morale levels high throughout the relocation process and help them feel appreciated.
If you are wondering how exactly to get your staff involved with the move, here are some suggestions:
- Ask them for feedback about the layout and design of your existing office
- Ask them for some creative ideas on how to go about designing your new office
- Involve them with the “christening” and naming of the new meeting rooms
- Ask them how to make your reception area a welcoming place for visitors
- Ask them about everything else you may be wondering about (office move-related) as they are the ones who will spend the majority of the day at the office
- See if they have any ideas on how you can reduce your removal costs before booking with a local moving company.
8. Escalate communications as the office move day gets closer.
As the date for the move draws nearer, use more overt communication channels. What you can do is to talk with your IT department and target your employees’ desktops with alerts or scrolling desktop headlines to remind them of important deadlines, including:
- Updating their contact information
- Packing up personal office areas
- Applying for new security passes
- Booking parking spaces
9. Ease the transition.
It may take longer for some staff members to adapt to their new work environment, so once you have completed the move in and settled down, you may want to carry out a review on how everyone is dealing with the change of address.
Alternatively, you can arrange for someone to check for any snagging issues regarding the new seating arrangement or each individual workstation.
10. Celebrate after the move.
Is there a person on Earth who doesn’t likes celebrations? I don’t really think so.
Relocating your entire company's belongings and employees can be an extremely busy and stressful time not only for you, but for everyone who is somehow involved with your business.
Once everything is done, throw a moving in party for your staff and other important stakeholders. This way, everyone will forget quite quickly about the past moving day or week. In addition to that, employees will stay motivated and your business will operate at the usual good pace.