Change of Scene: A Well-Managed Office Move Offers Opportunity, not Angst

What comes to mind when you’re told you’re moving office? Excitement at the possibility of a flash new fit-out? Apprehension at the prospect of disruption and downtime? A conflicted mixture of both?

What we see is opportunity – because an office relocation offers so much more than a change of scene. Sure, you can approach it purely at this level: cram all your collective clutter into some boxes, unload it into your new space and carry on where you left off. Eventually. Once you unpack everything.

Or you could identify a move as an opportunity to make some changes that go beyond your physical relocation. After all, truly successful businesses are the ones whose leaders aren’t content to simply carry on where they left off. Are we suggesting that your run-of-the-mill office move could give your organisation a long-term competitive edge? Absolutely. Let’s run through a few of the opportunities an office move can offer:

Opportunity #1: Introduce new ways of working

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to set everything up in your new space exactly as it was before. And why would you? Because now’s the perfect time to review your expectations of your team and how you’d like them to work. Consider the new layout and how it could lend itself to different working arrangements. And remember that it’s important to take into account – as much as possible – your team members’ preferences or roles. Not everyone loves hot-desking, for example. This is an ideal opportunity for you to introduce some flexibility and address any underlying issues. Start a conversation with your team. Ask for their views. You’ll generate both good ideas and goodwill.

Opportunity #2: Reboot stale systems and processes

Do you really want – or need – to spend your first few days in your new space sifting through piles of paper? If you haven’t already made a move towards paper independence, an impending relocation offers an excellent incentive to start. Now’s your chance to encourage a greater uptake of electronic tools over old-school filing systems and processes. Consider how effectively you and your team are using your electronic systems. Even an everyday app like Outlook is, typically, significantly under-utilised: the majority of workers aren’t familiar with the multitude of time-saving and efficiency-increasing functions it and similar apps offer. Investigate new tech, too: the pace of change in the tech industry is such that new products drop on an almost daily basis – and one of those products could be the tool that takes your company to the next level.

Opportunity #3: Improve protocols for communication and collaboration

It’s easy to get a bit complacent about the way we communicate and collaborate. We’ve all made the mistake of assuming that co-workers know what we’re talking about or know where to find information they require. Result? Usually, a waste of everyone’s time. Poor communication and collaboration processes are hugely detrimental to an organisation’s efficiency and productivity. A relocation offers you an ideal opportunity to review and, where necessary, improve or replace existing protocols. This of course goes hand in hand with our previous point: after all, it’s no use implementing new technology without ensuring that everyone understands how they should be using it, both as individuals and when working collaboratively.

Opportunity #4: Boost engagement and create a covetable work culture

We’ve seen the obvious practical benefits that an office relocation can provide. But there are wins to be had on a deeper level, too. A move offers you an opportunity to consider your existing office culture. Is it supportive? Collaborative? Innovative? How would you assess employee engagement and morale right now? (Food for thought: our clients on average rate engagement with their companies at only 6.5 out of 10.) Think about what sort of culture you would like to create. How can you leverage your new space to achieve this? On a basic level, are there breakout spaces, for example, that could encourage improved socialisation and interaction? (Don’t underestimate the importance of those casual conversations around the water cooler.) But a new space also offers an opportunity to dislodge any undesirable behaviours – and encourage positive ones. Foster a supportive, inclusive work culture alongside your new protocols and processes. You’ll find a metaphorical change of outlook is even more valuable than a literal one.

Successfully addressed, what these four points all combine to deliver is arguably the greatest potential benefit of all: a huge increase in productivity. And what organisation isn’t interested in an opportunity to make long-term productivity gains (competitive edge, remember)? So next time you relocate, our advice is simply this: don’t miss your chance to make the move a successful one. In every sense.