Even as remote work changes how employees interact with their office environments, desk relocations continue to be a normal part of many organizations’ growth, consolidation, and maturity lifecycles. But though most project teams have a lot of experience planning office moves, there are still some areas where familiarity can lead to complacency.
Because you’ve done dozens or even hundreds of moves, there’s a chance you might skip a few along the way. That lack of preparation may not sink your project, but it could diminish how well you can identify potential risks, stay ahead of uncommon needs or requests, and avoid disruptions to your workforce.
If you want to be better prepared for your next desk relocation initiative, consider these four tips that can help lay the groundwork for higher customer satisfaction and more successful project outcomes.
1. Connect with end users early in the planning process. Make employees a part of your preparations as soon as there’s confirmed information about the project’s scope and timeline. This early approach starts your initiative off with strong buy-in and engagement, and it also gives you a more comprehensive view into areas where your project plan may need some work. For example, if the HR department is relocating, you can put plans in place to expand your typical messaging distribution. Together, your project group and the HR team can prepare a strategy to spread the word across the company that recruiters and reps will be unavailable during the move and where the group can be found once the relocation is complete.
2. Plan for the digital elements of the move. Desk relocations have historically focused on moving office furniture and equipment to their new spots. But today, that’s just half the story. Project teams should also ensure the digital side of the move is part of the planning process. If your relocation plan incorporates a new-to-you site, you’ll want to confirm internet and other connectivity long before the expected move date. Some older structures may lack the bandwidth you need to support the apps, systems, and other digital tools employees expect to have available. Identifying your digital needs early is critical, since communication vendors often book installations months in advance.
3. Involve the facilities team. Partnering with your facilities group during the scope and schedule development phases can prevent headaches down the road. Their assessments of each office environment will help reveal potential issues. Are electrical outlets and other services already in place where you need them? Will large tables or cabinetry fit without temporarily removing doors or making other modifications? Support spaces such as conference and training rooms in particular may have specific requirements around power, ventilation, lighting, and other elements that are within the facilities team’s area of expertise. You don’t want to try to figure out these infrastructure issues after everyone’s moved in and ready to get back to work.
4. Set up the right communication strategy. Employees don’t like to be left in the dark about the move process or to feel as though they aren’t receiving clear and timely communication about their relocation. Because office moves are often tightly scheduled, with one group moving out just as another group moves in to occupy the newly vacated space, you need a communication strategy that’s robust, simple to maintain, and makes it easy for employees to receive and share information. Preparing a communication plan that’s built around consistency in your messaging is key, even down to standardizing the formatting and subject lines. This approach helps end users quickly understand what you’re telling them and interpret how the information affects them.