HR moving office guide
Moving offices has ramifications across an organisation and that is certainly true in the context of human resources (HR) -where a wide variety of different issues need to be addressed in advance of and during the relocation process.
Seizing the moment
The specific ways in which an office space switch will impact on HR operations will vary depending on your particular situation and the dynamics involved.
However, moving offices should always be considered the perfect time to potentially introduce internal changes that put your company on the strongest possible footing for the future.
This might include:
- Implementing new processes
- Restructuring teams or departments
- Appointing new managers
- Focussing on ways to improve morale
- Seeking new ways to improve productivity
Responsibility for developments in all these respects shouldn’t fall entirely on an HR department but it can certainly have an important role to play as a business aims to take positive steps forward while moving to new offices.
Here are some of the ways in which an HR team might aim to make a significant contribution to the development of a business engaged in an office move process.
1. Break the process down into phases
Like many other large-scale undertakings, an office space move will often be easier to prepare for and tackle if it is broken down into phases at the planning stage. By doing so, from an HR perspective, the challenges involved will seem much more achievable and the areas of highest priority can be more easily identified.
Sectioning out the moving process it is constituent phases also makes it easier to create to-do lists and detailed plans of action that can be mapped out with the help of basic planning documents. Individuals and teams can also then be made aware of precisely what their responsibilities are as an office move approaches and takes place.
2. Canvass opinions on potential outcomes
An office move will generally be taking place because a company’s leaders and directors have decided it is necessary or for the best. There is a good chance that employees will be happy about the move and excited by it but there is also a real possibility that some staff members will be rather less positive or optimistic about the move.
From an HR perspective this can create challenges in that certain individuals may be worried about or resistant to the changes that are taking place. Managing change in these circumstances should be a key focus for HR teams and understanding the concerns of all members of staff can go a long way towards offsetting the potential for disruptions as an office move unfolds.
TIP - Establishing good communications is always important for HR teams but rarely more so than as an office move is undertaken – it can make a huge difference for individuals and for your business as a whole.
3. Proactively address concerns where possible
It is unlikely that an HR team will have a comprehensive understanding of precisely the impact that an office move might have on a workforce or the individual members of it. However, it is often possible for HR staff to offset some of the concerns that employees might have about how they’ll be impacted.
It isn’t easy to predict precisely what will worry individual members of staff in advance of an office space switch so for HR professionals the aim should simply be to offer as much information, guidance and support as possible. This might mean offering reassurances on car parking spaces or accessibility issues, for example, but some people might be worried about redundancies and their own future employment.
HR staff don’t always have the answers to every question but during an office move they can play a crucial role as providers of clear and accurate information.
4. Stay positive
As is common in all manner of situations, employees can often find themselves feeling worried about what the future holds in the context of an office space move because they have a fear of the unknown. This is perfectly understandable and it could be that it is only when the office switch is complete and the settling in process is under way that certain people will come around to the idea that the move was a positive step.
However, from an HR point of view, it is important to maintain a sense of positivity about the relocation process from the outset. You can do this simply by emphasising the positives and the potential that the new office holds for a company as a whole but also for the individuals who make the switch.
Those positives might include:
- A more specious location
- More modern telecoms and telephony systems
- Closer proximity to local amenities
- Better and more plentiful transport links
- Showering facilities and bike racks
5. Involve and train up staff
It is important that individual teams feel as if their concerns are being considered by HR and by higher level management in the context of an office relocation. Having representatives given regular opportunities to communicate the views of specific groups or departments can help smooth the way for the associated transitions and make sure important issues don’t go overlooked.
HR teams will also generally need to take some responsibility for appreciating what training plans will need to be put in place in advance of and soon after an office move. New IT and telephony systems in particular could create the need for a certain amount of training for everyone to feel comfortable and confident as they settle into their new environment.
6. Gather feedback once the move is completed
Another aspect of an office space move in which HR teams can play a key role is when it comes to smoothing over issues that arise once the switch has been completed.
It can often be the case that certain issues or problems are not obvious or identifiable in the short-term after a company has switched offices. Issues can emerge a few weeks or months later down the line and HR can be important in identifying these potential problems by gathering feedback across a company and relaying concerns to management where necessary.
TIP - Moving offices can give a business a massive boost but making sure that potential problems are tackled along the way requires a quality team of dedicated and focussed HR professionals.