Moving to a new office can cut business costs by optimising floor space, enhance employee wellbeing, increase collaboration and prove a real advantage to attracting and keeping hold of the best talent. However, the average time it takes for a business to find, design and move into a new space can take between six to 12 months. And in a complex project, costs can spiral out of control without careful management.
The team at workplace company Unispace have compiled a list of 10 tips to help move office on time and on budget, based on the completion of more than 3,000 projects across four regions over the past 10 years.
1. Be positive and enthusiastic: An office move can have a really positive effect on the culture of a company, in our survey of more than 2,000 companies globally, we found that new workspace, with the right approach, had a positive impact for 9/10 of the organisations we surveyed. LINK to Spaces data here.
2. Write out your wish-list: Work with a team from right across your business to decide what you want your new workplace to look like, feel like, and do. What are your minimum fitout requirements, i.e. how many desks do you require for your team both now and in the future? How many meeting rooms do you have? What kind of work do the team spend most of their time doing i.e. do they need more space that allows them to have quiet or concentration?
The basics include establishing a maximum, minimum and media headcount for your company both now and in three years, then establishing how much space each team member will need depending on the tasks they perform. The Zoopla space calculator is a helpful starting point. From our survey, we note that developers need more space (and more peace and quiet) than, for example, marketing teams that enjoy sitting together in noisier, more collaborative environments.
3. Be creative and flexible: What is the fastest way for you to get into the space your team needs? It may be that refurbishing your existing space is the best course of action, downsizing to release space in your current office or moving to a new location. You could speak to your landlord to extend the current lease on a short-term basis, take coworking space as an interim measure, or utilising a phased a phased occupation and moving staff over progressively while re-fitting the new workplace around them. There are now so many options.
4. Know your space: If you’re moving, understand the challenges of your new building/s and the configuration of your space. Compile all the relevant paperwork and plans, too. MORE HERE. In the vast majority of cases, a workplace consultant can ensure a business uses its desk space more efficiently, do you have the flexibility to take up less space and thus save money? A quick audit of the business use of the space can be instrumental in establishing what is the optimal way to configure space.
5. Build an internal project team: Identify your internal team, perhaps with representatives from the executives, IT, HR, finance, internal comms and facilities. Then determine your internal approval process: who needs to sign things off and how long will it take; think about what information people will need (because it’s often internal delays which impact on timings); and whether approval will be local or regional.
Our advice is to ensure each department is represented across the business and then give them a hard deadline to make that sign-off!
6. Set your budget: Do your research into market rates for external project teams. Unispace can guide you through this with site tours, case studies, cost comparisons and general benchmarking.
7. Understand the process: Familiarise yourself with the intricacies and complexities of the fitout process, including phases such as design, approval (including your landlords), construction and then final approvals from your local council or board. It’s a huge process. See this office move jargon buster which is a starting-point to communicate with your design team!
8. Take into account the impact of change: People often struggle with change, which is particularly the case when it’s disruptive or inefficient. A “ Change” management strategy can minimise any problems and their impact; a good plan of this type should help you spot potential pain-points in advance, and help you adopt a clear management process from beginning to the end of a project.
Clear communication with the team impacted by an office move from the outset can help overcome any negatives around the office move. And tactical communications that bring alive the move such as gamified checklists, myth-busting sessions, “Throw Out Fridays”, new workplace guides and Day 1 Experiences all help to make the process more manageable.