Do you have a major company relocation coming up? Chances are you’re feeling a little anxious.
When you do it the old-fashioned way, a company relocation is chaos for everyone involved. That includes the employees being moved, management, IT staff, and most of all the relocation team. People have come to expect extra work, frustration and inconvenience, wasted time, lost productivity and even lost items. A botched relocation doesn’t do anything positive for anyone’s career, either.
The “old fashioned way” is doing everything manually: with manual audits, piles of spreadsheets, to-do lists scribbled on white boards and post-it notes, and little to no communication before, during or after the move.
The good news is, modernizing your company relocation process can make your move happen faster, more efficiently, and with less anxiety for everyone. And make your relocation team look like heroes.
Here’s our guidebook to using modern tools and strategies for better results.
Some advice for making your company relocation go smoothly
Before we address specific strategies, let’s start with some general advice for improving the outcome of a company relocation.
- Start planning early. Begin creating your company relocation plan as early as possible, documenting as many details as you can, and updating as more information becomes available.
- You can’t communicate too much. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there is a pound of wisdom there. Everyone wants to know what’s happening and when, how it impacts them, and what they are expected to do. The more you tell people, and the more you listen, the happier (and more cooperative) people will be.
- Stay abreast of changes. Planning a major move takes time, and as you know all too well, things won’t stand still while you’re making and implementing your plans. People will join and leave the company, and individuals and teams will continue to move around. So foster a team of move champions throughout the business who will help you keep your ear to the ground, then be sure to adjust your plans accordingly.
Modern company relocation strategy #1: Collecting information & building relationships
As a corporate space planning professional, you know what a struggle it can be to get occupancy data from your business units. People are busy and don’t understand why they should spend their valuable time answering your questions. They just don’t see what’s in it for them, and they may not trust what you’re going to do with the information. Will you take away some of their space?
If you don’t have a workplace management tool helping you with that process, you’re stuck with time-consuming manual audits and nightmare spreadsheets to find out who is sitting where, what space is vacant, and how much space each team really needs. To make matters worse, some teams make a habit of “hiding” available space. That’s just one reason the manual process is fraught with error. Do you really want to base your company relocation plan on this unreliable data?
Here’s the trick: your upcoming company relocation is the perfect “excuse” to get business units to provide you with accurate and detailed occupancy information. After all, now it’s obvious what’s in it for them. Business unit stakeholders will want to make sure everyone in their group is taken into account in the relocation plan, and that their team gets what they want and need in the new space.
BONUS: While you’re collecting occupancy information, it’s a perfect opportunity to collect additional information that will streamline future moves and also help you with compliance. For example:
- Conduct an IT asset audit, which is a great help to your IT department
- Document first aid offices
- Record who is a fire warden
Here are some tips for building relationships with your business to get the information you need, and to get them what they need.
Sell them on the benefits. Get them excited (instead of apprehensive) about the company relocation process, by talking up the positives: better facilities, amenities, locations, and opportunities to consolidate the team or sit near a team they work with closely.
Show you’re on their side. Ask each team about their plans and business objectives, so you better understand their needs. Also, you’ll be in the know about any plans for major staff changes that could affect your company relocation plan. If possible, try to time a move around any critical projects or upcoming deadlines to avoid disruptions.
Recruit space champions. For each business unit, recruit someone from the business (executive assistants are ideal) who can provide you with data, handle tasks related to the relocation, and communicate changes to you when they come up. That person not only provides the information you need, but can act as a goodwill ambassador to help others feel better about the move.
Modern company relocation strategy #2: Smart data storage
When you’re handling a company relocation the old way, lots of people are running around with clipboards, then typing whatever information they get into spreadsheets. After that’s done you end up with stacks of spreadsheets that somehow have to be consolidated into information you can use. And of course, while you’re busy manually aggregating all that data, people are changing it.
It’s enough to make anyone have nightmares.
You know what’s worse? After your company relocation is done, all that data gets trashed. So next time you’re faced with a move, you need to go through the manual process all over again.
Updating your company relocation process with modern technology is much easier and more efficient.
- Today’s workplace management software allows you to capture and store your occupancy data in a central database that integrated with your other enterprise systems (such as Finance, HR, your intranet and other IWMS systems). Best-in-class systems are cloud-based for faster, easier and less expensive implementation.
- Your space champions for each business unit can enter their own information with a simple online tool.
- When things change, updates are quick and easy, and you’ll always have an accurate source of truth for occupancy.
- Best of all, after the company relocation, that information remains accurate and available for future use. So the next time you face a move, you’ve already got the data you need to make and execute relocation plans.
Related article: How To Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools
Modern company relocation strategy #3: Automating communication
One of the most important ways to mitigate problems with a company relocation is to communicate early and often with everyone who’s involved and impacted by the move.
How have you handled comms in the past? Probably by trying to remember to send out emails to tell people what they needed to know. With this strategy, inevitably people get left out, you forget to include important details, or you run out of time altogether and people end up frustrated.
Instead, try this time-saving strategy: create email templates in advance, so you can plan exactly what information you need to send to each person and group. Then use an automation tool to schedule those emails. Here’s what people will be looking for:
- Where they are moving and when
- Instructions for packing and how to prepare for the move
- How to find their new space
- What to do on move day
- How to get help if a problem arises
- How to use features of a new agile work environment, such as wayfinding systems
Here’s an example of what automated comms can look like:
Don’t forget to plan emails for members of your relocation team, including movers, IT consultants, workplace strategy consultants or other technology service providers. Planning your communications with third-party providers will make sure they are aware of and committed to your schedule.
After your company relocation is complete, continue to use your automated comm tools to make sure everyone knows whom to contact if they are experiencing any problems. You can also use them to distribute your customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey.
If you’re missing essential space management features that you need for your company relocation, such as a business unit portal and automated communication tools, it’s time to consider a more modern workplace management system.