Moving operations is often an inevitable part of doing business. If you're planning a business move—whether it's because of downsizing, cheaper real estate, or expansion, or you want to be located closer to customers—it's important to ensure that employees are taken into consideration and are kept informed so they feel that they're part of the move. This involves open communication, considering the impact of the move on each employee, and asking for input about the move from your staff.
For most of your employees, a move will likely mean a change in their commute. Take a close look at the new business location and consider the kinds of changes this might entail. Use your employee database to assess which employees will need to commute significantly farther after the move. For those individuals who commute by transit, determine whether transit will be accessible to the new location.
If there are issues, bring these forward to the affected employees to let them know their options, whether that's helping out with transit fees or parking space. Even if you can't offer any incentives, provide employees with the information far in advance of the move to allow them to decide whether they should pursue other employment options that have a more workable commute.
If possible, consider allowing employees affected most by the move to have a more flexible schedule. Perhaps they can come in earlier or later, depending on traffic patterns, where they live, and their specific role with the company.
Plan for Parking
As part of dealing with transportation issues, let employees know whether there will be a change in parking space and whether parking will be paid for. Ask employees ahead of time what they require so you can try to provide enough parking for everyone who needs it. If this isn't possible, let them know about other options and what you're willing to do to assist them in coping with the change to their transportation plan.
Keep Communication Open
Communicating with employees about the move on a regular basis is key to keeping them in the loop and ensuring that hearsay is kept to a minimum. It is equally important to provide the opportunity for employees to ask you questions about the move; the communication should go two ways.
Let employees know about the move as soon as possible. Give them enough time to ensure that the new location will work for them so they can get used to the idea of moving and make the best decisions for their own situations. Also, provide a timeline of how the move will proceed, what their roles will be, and what you expect from them.
Ask for Staff Input
Ask for your employees' thoughts about how the new office space will work and how things could be set up best for efficiency, staff enjoyment, and the overall working environment. The more staff become involved in the decision-making process the greater the input and team support. This is essential to keeping morale high during what can often be a difficult time.
Find out if there are things about the current (old) office that didn't work and that might be improved in the new space. Perhaps this might be the setup of the copy room, the location of the staff lounge, or the amount of desk space in each office. Employees are the best consultants when it comes to improving workflow and environment.
Create an Information Package
If your company has been located in one place for a while, employees will have their favorite eating spots, coffee shops, and business-related services nearby. To help with the transition to the new location, create a list of local businesses that are in the new neighborhood, including restaurants, cafes, gyms, day care centers, dry cleaners, and grocery stores. If you're a small-business owner, you might consider taking an afternoon off to visit the new area with your employees. Let them see the new space and spend some time in the area. This can go a long way to easing the transition.