“There is nothing permanent except change.”
Heraclitus, 500 BC
If you are tasked with organizing and implementing an office move there are some things you should keep at front of mind as you proceed so that you can minimize stress on your team.
You will have some staff whose personalities allow them to be very enthused about the move. However, for many, a company move is on par with changing high schools mid-semester – where you don’t know your teachers, the cafeteria is full of unfriendly cliques, and you can’t find your locker. You don’t want to put your staff through that now, do you?!
Chris Moss, of Moss Leadership Consulting, comments: “People like to know what to expect. They get into routine. Upsetting that routine makes them uncomfortable. A move may make perfect business sense to an employer, but what might not be taken into consideration is the personal lives of the employees. If there is already change and stress in their personal life, chaotic change at work may trigger a negative, overreaction that you don’t understand.”
On that topic, Senior Interior Designer at Design Matrix Inc., Paula Burns, suggests that “The best way to reduce employee stress during an office move is to involve the staff in the process. Instead of assuming what they need to function efficiently, ask them what key changes could make the workspace function better for them. Once the new look and space plan are complete, display mock up drawings, pictures and plans in the office and/or present it to the staff, say at a lunch meeting.”
While you are working to get your staff excited about the move and involved in the process, you will also want to reduce everyone’s stress by carefully thinking through the structural considerations of the move. Burns adds these details to think through: “Workstation styles have been changing over the last few years. New workstations can encourage productivity and wellness in the workplace. Technology has increased and many staff now require dual monitors and flexible work areas. Storage and filing needs at workstations are greatly decreasing. Panel heights have been reduced to promote collaboration and the need for daylight through an office. Adjustable sit-stand work surfaces are very common now for user comfort and ergonomics.”
These changing workspace needs mean that you may need to purchase new office furnishings. As Burns so aptly observes, “A new space will make worn furniture look even older, so consider new furniture for any areas that are visible to clients such as reception and meeting rooms.”
Some office move stress is inevitable. However, you can make it a happier process for your staff by “using humour where possible, by making fun challenges out of it, by having ‘good-bye’ ceremonies for the old space, and then, by celebrating the new location,” encourages Chris Moss.
By investing attention to the perspective of your team, a move can be a smooth, low-stress experience for all.
Need office design and move planning help? Connect with atWork. Our experienced team can walk with you through key planning stages and ultimately help your company arrive at a successful new office.
For more information:
Paula Burns ARIDO, Senior Interior Designer
Design Matrix Inc.
Chris Moss, Change & Leadership Consultant
Moss Leadership Consulting