When it's time to move from one office location to another, it is much harder than moving house. You have dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of employees to take with you, and they all need to understand what the move means for them and what they have to do to ensure the move occurs smoothly. Good internal communication is key to ensuring that your office move happens successfully.
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How to plan for an office relocation
Keeping employees informed at every step of the office relocation journey is important so that they will be ready to take any appropriate actions.
1. Involve employees from the beginning
There are lots of reasons why you may need to relocate your office: perhaps your operations have expanded and you need to find a bigger place; the lease may have ended and the landlord has given notice; or you may be moving to a building the company owns and is purpose-built to suit your needs.
One thing is for sure: when you have to move, no matter what the reason, some employees will be unhappy about the move. It’s important that you keep them informed from the very beginning of the process so they have time to prepare. This might be when you know you need to start negotiating a new commercial lease or you’ve begun construction on a new facility.
Meet with employees face-to-face where possible to break the news and follow up with an office moving announcement email so they will have the facts to refer back to.
2. Clearly outline what the changes will mean for employees
Sometimes an office relocation might result in employees having to vary their routines and their daily commutes, which can cause some anxiety and even inconvenience. Let employees know as far in advance as possible what the move will mean in terms of:
- Access to public transport
- Parking (is there free parking on site or will they need to pay for a private car park?)
- Facilities such as showers for those who cycle or walk.
3. Clearly outline the reasons for the move
Companies don’t undertake a major office move lightly: when they do, they have weighed up all the available options and make the move accordingly. It’s important that you clearly spell out these reasons to employees. For example:
- The move is necessary so we can get a better deal on rent
- The move is necessary so we can all have more space
- The move is necessary so we can save money because we’ll own the building.
4. Establish a clear timeline
It’s important to set out a clear timeline of when important steps in the relocation process will occur. This includes:
- When moving boxes/crates etc will be issued
- What employees need to pack and what they must leave behind (for example anything associated with the landlord’s fit out)
- What to do with unneeded items
- When will the removalists come to take everything
- Will there be a period of downtime without access to computers and other equipment that has been packed
- A seating plan for the new office
- When will employees receive access cards/passes etc to access the new office
- What day will operations officially commence at the new location.
5. Communicate important issues after the move
Once you’ve moved there will be other things that need to be communicated at the new site. These include:
- Emergency procedures
- Information about employee facilities such as break rooms, toilets, lockers etc.
- Information about procedures such as booking meeting rooms
- Sharing information about any new positive features of the new location (good coffee shop next door, good co-working spaces etc.)
- Asking for feedback about any issues that have emerged from the move.
- Send “office shifted to new place” notices to other offices in the company.
Why communication during change is important
Change can be difficult for people, particularly if it will affect their comfort in any way. In order to make change successful, one of the basic tenets of change management is that you need to communicate the benefits of the change and what it will mean for the employee.
Of course not every office move is going to benefit every employee: it might mean some will have a longer commute, for example. In these instances you need to still communicate why the change is required, and what steps the employee is expected to take to facilitate the move.
Without good communication, people won’t have a clear idea of what is expected of them and when. For something as major as an office move, this could result in a logistical nightmare of people not ready to move when the (costly) removalists show up!
Develop an office relocation communications plan
Creating an internal communications plan as part of your office move project plan will provide you with a clear roadmap you can follow when it comes to communicating the office move with your staff. It will set out timelines and responsibilities and determine what types of content you will need to produce.
Your internal communications plan should include:
- A timeline of milestones and what messages are needed at each one
- Responsibilities for communicating
- Key messages
- The channels that you will use to deliver messages
- Measurement metrics to determine the success of the campaign
Office relocation announcement to employees sample
We are moving office!
[Company name] will be relocating to [xyz address] on [date]. This was determined after a lengthy search for a new office location that could meet our current and future needs and we look forward to making this our new home.
The new office has more spacious co-working areas and will be a much more fun place for us to collaborate and build our teams. It is located a short walk from [name] train station and there is ample parking on site for those who drive.
Your colleague [name] has responsibility for coordinating the move and will be in touch soon to advise firm timelines for moving, including when to pack, what to pack and how to access the new building.
Please see the intranet article with more information about seating plans, floor plans, facilities and what equipment we will need to take with us.
If you have any questions, please contact [name].
Communications channels for an office move
As with all internal communications, information that is delivered using a multi-channel approach is more likely to be read, received and acted upon. This helps to address the fact that different people have different communication preferences, and that repetition of messages makes them more easy to remember.
When communicating office moves you should use a variety of methods:
- Face-to-face communication from managers to teams
- Intranet content
- Video (show employees what the new office will look like with a walk through)
- Pop-up notifications to computers
- Desktop tickers
DeskAlerts for office move communication to employees
When you need to communicate before, during and after an office relocation, DeskAlerts is the tool you need in your arsenal. DeskAlerts is an internal communications software system that cuts right through the digital noise in your organization and ensures that employees receive important information.
DeskAlerts lets you schedule content in advance and also to select the audience you want to deliver messages to. In an office move this means you only need to communicate with employees who are affected (for example, if you are a multinational, staff in other offices won’t receive updates about moving logistics). Or if you have a group of employees who need specialist instructions (eg: scientists who have to move lab equipment).
Use DeskAlerts to send:
- Important reminders via pop-up notifications
- Less urgent information about the move via scrolling desktop tickers
- Countdowns and other visual reminders via screensavers and digital signage
- Recurring messages, as required
- Messages with reading receipts when you need people to acknowledge they have read and will comply with the information sent
- Surveys to determine what people are experiencing with the move
Available for desktop or for mobile, DeskAlerts will let you communicate with any employees at any time, no matter where they are. Even when their desks are all packed up and they don’t have access to their computers, if there is an issue with the office move you can let them know via notifications to their phones.
Case study: Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals (UK)
If you think moving offices is hard, imagine having to move three entire hospitals into one new purpose-built building! That is exactly what our client Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals had to do, and they needed to ensure they had a robust way of communicating during the process to ensure the safe transfer of 600 patients and approximately 3,500 employees to the new hospital.
They only had email as a communication channel and with limited funds needed to find a cost-effective notification system to use to make the move run smoothly.
They deployed DeskAlerts using custom templates designed to match their branding, notifying employees about when certain systems would be moved as well as any organizational specific issues that were being generated as a result of the move. Their feedback to us is that it was invaluable in keeping employees informed about the move in real time.
In fact they were so happy with it, they’ve kept it for many years now to deliver internal communications to employees.
We know that moving offices can be challenging. Keeping your employees informed every step of the way will help to overcome some of those challenges. Get in touch with our team of internal communications experts today for a free demo of how DeskAlerts can help with your office move comms.
How do you announce an office move?
You need to announce an office move sensitively and considerately. When you do so these tips apply:
- If possible do it face-to-face at a meeting so everyone hears at the same time
- Clearly explain why you are moving
- Provide employees with all the relevant details
How do you write an office relocation letter to an employee?
Employee relocation letters are formal requests to employees that they must attend work at a new physical company location. You should include this step in your office relocation action plan template. In your notice of relocation of office letter you should include:
- The reason for the move
- The timeline of the move
- What the company will pay for
- What the benefits are to the employee
How do you write an office relocation email?
If you don’t have an office move email template to follow, your office relocation email should provide as many relevant details as possible to employees about the new location address, the time and date of the move, timelines, any important features of the new office, what they need to do to prepare for the move and what they need to pack.