It’s a fact—change is inevitable. Constant change has become the norm for most organizations, and the ability to adapt and respond quickly has become essential to success. Whether it’s expansion, downsizing, or a desire to be closer to customers, many of those changes result in a need for business relocation.
Especially during times of growth, moving a business can be exciting, but office relocation can also create anxiety and stress for employees. It can be hard to get employees on board with celebrating change when they’re juggling regular job duties and trying to adjust to new surroundings and new systems. Management attention is often focused elsewhere, and employee needs suffer as a result.
So how can you foster excitement and minimize disruption and stress for employees during a move? Here’s our simple 6 step strategy:
1. Plan and make time. Nix the rumours and endless water cooler speculation by spelling out what the changes will look like as soon as you’re able to share. Employees want to know what’s going on, so create clarity by keeping them informed. Make time to discuss the upcoming move with your team to minimize potential confusion and feelings of insecurity.
2. Keep your finger on the pulse. Employees might not directly communicate their anxiety or insecurity, but that doesn’t mean they’re not feeling it. If change is in the air, unsettled employees may express their anxiety through performance or behaviour. Avoid making assumptions, take a thoughtful approach to performance management, and check in regularly to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable with upcoming move.
3. Communicate responsibilities and expectations. Everyone wants to know what change will mean for them. Spell out the logistics, and make sure everyone knows what to expect, especially if job duties will be shifting. Delegate duties and clarify expectations and responsibilities to minimize change-induced anxiety for all involved. Identify a core go-to person who will manage the logistics of the move, and make sure everyone knows who to approach with questions.
4. Ask for input. Vote on paint colours, pick out furniture together, or collaborate on the new seating plan with employees. Asking for input and opinions makes your team feel valued and involved. The bonus? Collaboration also produces better results, since your team is likely to think of things you hadn’t considered.
5. Embrace the challenges. Change doesn’t come without challenges. Especially when everything is upside down from a move, it can be tempting to dwell on the inevitable hiccups and mistakes. Maintain forward momentum when road bumps occur by encouraging and rewarding initiative, brainstorming creative solutions to challenges together, and highlighting the positive aspects of your new surroundings. And when those inevitable challenges come up, and keep things productive by treating obstacles as opportunities to nurture growth and resilience.
6. Celebrate together. A move presents a great opportunity to celebrate and establish new traditions together. In the midst of the upheaval, it can be hard to remember to take a breather, but it’s important to mark the occasion. Celebrate how far you’ve come and show your appreciation for your team—go out for a meal, bring in cupcakes, buy flowers for your team, or grab a coffee and explore your new neighbourhood together.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Is relocation on the horizon for your workplace? Planning and communication is the key to smooth transitions. Minimize stress and maximize employee engagement during a move by printing out our 6 step guide and referring to it to when things get chaotic!