How to keep your staff happy when moving offices

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Moving office can be stressful and it could also create unhappy staff if you're not careful. Here are several steps you can take to make it a happy experience for everyone

Moving office as a small business owner can be stressful - whether it's the move itself or the cost. The impact can reach further than just cost however as your staff may also find it difficult. David might find he now doesn't have enough time to drive his kids to school in the morning and Claire may find her train travel costs double. And, if your staff become unhappy, more often than not, so does your business.

I spoke to Matt and Justin, owners of JamVans, a removals company based in Hertfordshire and London, to compile a list of steps small business owners can take to avoid unhappy staff during an office move.

Talk to your employees and keep communication open

The most important thing you can do is to keep communication open. Hiding the details of your move can create a paranoid workplace. So get everyone together casually and explain why you need to move. While huddling around may seem to create more of a scene than you'd like, telling everyone individually at separate times can create suspicion around the office.

This is a great chance to turn it your move into a real positive change: Ask your staff for input - what's missing from your current workplace that they'd love to have at the new place? Better parking? A local cafe? A pool table? Office cat? What colour paint do they want on the new walls? Is there a local artist who can help? Can we finally have beer Friday's?

It's far better to talk everyone together at first AND THEN follow up with 1 to 1's to find out any concerns.

Follow up with 1 to 1's

With 1 on 1's you can uncover any personal difficulties that may impact on your staff's morale with the new office move. Sometimes you may be able to offer incentives to help, but if you can't then at least try to give them as much information as possible in advance so they can prepare. If possible you could offer a more flexible way of working if only initially to make their transition easier.

Visit the new area together

Going to visit the new workplace and local area can go a long way to easing the transition. It's not only great for team bonding but it can also help show how much you care about the impact this has on your staff. Before going, play down the trip as a light-hearted chance for them to pick their new desk space and see what the new neighbours will be like.

Give them a welcome pack full of goodies

Moving to a new location is a great opportunity to give everyone a lift and really propel your business forward. A few extra surprises for staff can go a long way in not just making them feel wanted but improving their performance. Upgraded coffee machine anyone? Beer fridge? Foosball table?

One tip I love is a giving each member of staff a new welcome pack on their desk for when they arrive the next morning after the move. You could provide include a personalised notebook, new mug, a T shirt and of course, biscuits.

Create checklists for each department or employee

Being organised is still part of the process of keeping everyone happy and in the know. So draw up an individual checklist for each team or employee so everyone is aware of what they need to do prior to the move.

Your list could include backing up the files on each computer, binning any old paperwork, tidying cables, setting an out-of-office or informing their contacts of the move.

Throw a party

A new office should be a positive step for your business, so tell everyone (both customers and employees) just that by throwing a party. This is a great excuse to tell customers your new location and that business is going well. Of course, it's also a great time to reward staff for their hard work. And don't forget the exclusive after-party for employees only

This post was written by Ryan @ RCD Digital Marketing.

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