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Business Relocation – Surviving the Move
18 August 2017
written by  Scott Forrest

Your business is doing well and has outgrown its current space. Time to relocate.  Exciting times, however there are a few things to consider.

Relocating a business is not a simple one step process. From the initial planning through to completion you will need to manage a wide range of professions to ensure your move is a success. Relocating affects the entire business, takes time, resources and if not managed correctly can be costly in terms of business disruption.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln

 

Like chopping down a tree, the key to any successful relocation is preparation. The more prepared you and your staff are the better the relocation will go. Preparation also enables you and your staff to respond to any issues that may arise as relocations rarely go according to plan.

Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved for project management and coordination of a relocation. Regardless of the relocation size , firms often hire a professional project manager for the duration of the relocation project to not only plan and implement the relocation but also manage the stakeholders, of which there can be many.

 

Selecting and Coordinating Your Move Management Team

The KEY to a successful move is to select your move management team and provide the team with detailed information on what is expected of them.

  • Select employees, who are organized, competent, have the ability to make good decisions and communicate well. There will be a lot of moving parts that will require decisions to be made on the fly.
  • Most business relocations happen outside of business hours. Those who accept the additional responsibility of becoming a member of the move management team should understand that evening and weekend work would be necessary.
  • Limit your team to key people - keep it manageable.
  • Accountability is essential. Delegate specific tasks to each individual. Check to make sure tasks are completed as scheduled. Do not assume!
 

Once you have your move management team in place the next step is planning the project.

 

Layout and office space

Allow plenty of time to plan the layout of the new facilities as it takes time to get it right.  At QVS we have found some of the key considerations are:

  • What’s the best office layout for the space, offices or open floor plan, how many staff can be fitted comfortably in the space
  • Are there changes required to the mechanical and fire protection systems
  • What are the minimum corridor widths and how wide should the doors be
  • Can a kitchen be installed and more importantly installed where you actually want it?
  • What are the latest trends in office design and how do I make the office more environmentally efficient.
  • Can I obtain a Greenstar rating?
  • What can be incorporated in terms of signage and graphics
  • What are the make good requirements for the previous facilities to ensure your receive any bonds you have lodged.
 

Concurrently with planning the layout and office space, electrical and data cabling planning and deployment are crucial as it will have an impact on the final layout.

  • Server room fit out management - Server and PC rollouts and relocation, backup systems, server room cooling
  • New Desktop Equipment prototyping and installation
  • Telecommunications coordination via vendor management
  • Facilities Liaison – particularly important if your electrical contractors start drilling holes in walls!
 

People management

One of the often overlooked elements of a relocation comes from within ; the impact on staff themselves, as well as the impact of the relocation on an organisation’s culture and climate.

Plan to consult with all your stakeholders, not only the people relocating, but also any other relevant groups. Consider how these stakeholders could input into the design, or layout, of the new space.

Bear in mind everyone will have an opinion and this will need to be managed to ensure the project does not get bogged down.

Staff will often have set routines that cross team boundaries and when disturbed, can have subtle impacts on an organisation’s climate. It can be something simple as a favourite café or local watering hole where staff meet or more important as routes to work.

Simple things can help manage the sensitivities around the relocation of staff.  For example:

  • Site visits in the lead up to the relocation to enable staff to familiarise themselves with the new surroundings.
  • A welcome letter to the new space (this could include your vision and how you see their part in it) and include information about the space, e.g. exits, emergency systems and facilities like parking or transport.
  • New stationary, marketing collateral including new business cards ready on the day of the move.
 

Communication

Continual communication throughout the relocation project is key. Staff who are impacted by the relocation can easily feel that they don’t know what’s about to happen to them and this can bring on varying levels of stress. Communication and engagement with staff is critical as informal processes can often fill the void, sometimes with negative consequences

 

Handling the inevitable issues

It is unlikely that there will be no unexpected issues on move day.  Things are going to happen that you could not anticipate. The best strategy for dealing with the problems that arise on move day is to focus on returning your employees to business as usual as quickly as possible.

On move day, postpone dealing with issues that are non-business critical. Once everyone is in place, prioritize your issues and tackle them strategically.

 

QVS is here to help

What is outlined above are a few of the many considerations around relocating a business. Managing relocations is where QVS can help. Given our local knowledge and 30 years of experience in the commercial interiors Industry, we can work with you from the initial planning through to completion of a relocation.  We work with seasoned relocation professionals that can cover all the aspects of a relocation and answers the questions we have listed above. This removing the stress of a relocation for both you and your staff.  Give us a call today to discuss.