By Simon Davies
They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, so it’s no surprise that moving office can be similarly stress-inducing. In fact, studies have found that three quarters of small and medium-sized companies put off relocating due to the fear of stress. Various factors can contribute to this worry, like the anxiety over change and the disruption around moving day.
However, delaying your move is only going to prolong the inevitable, and the merits of moving to new headquarters will outweigh the short period of stress you’ll put your employees through. That said, there are certain things you can do to make the process less stressful, which we’ve compiled below.
Inform your employees well in advance
It is imperative that you inform your staff about the move well in advance. This will give them ample time to prepare for the relocation, and ensure that it takes nobody by surprise. You don’t want to drop such a bombshell on their laps right before the move is scheduled to happen, as this will raise stress levels through the roof. Workers will need to think about how they’re going to change their commute, as well as informing clients that they may be not be able to meet during the days of the move.
In fact, doing everything possible to minimize disruption is advised. You might want to schedule a few work from home days around the moving day so that employees don’t fall behind, and keep them in the loop in the months and weeks running up to the big day.
Out with the old… in with the new
Another way to minimize the stress of the move is to invest in fresh equipment for the new headquarters. Why not look for nicer furniture to give your shiny new office more aesthetic appeal, or replace those old, laggy computers you’ve had with newer models?
The latter move can be especially transformative for staff morale and performance, with a study by electronics company Sharp finding that around half of UK workers found slow computers “restrictive and limiting”, with 38% saying modern technology would motivate them more. Investing in new technology will give employees something to look forward to in the run up to the relocation, making them feel content that they are moving somewhere bigger and better and that all of the stress will be worth it.
If you do end up buying equipment for the new office, it is crucial that all of your old electronics are disposed of safely to ensure you avoid potential data breaches. However, securely destroying data yourself is a difficult task—even physically destroying the hard drive is no guarantee that the data contained within is unrecoverable.
There are various walk-in data destruction centers about, however it makes more sense to look at office clearance companies instead, with many offering waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) disposal as part of their services. Clearance Solutions stresses professional WEEE disposal’s importance as IT equipment often “contains potentially poisonous substances that can damage the environment and pose serious health risks.” Before disposing of your equipment, these companies can secure clear any and all data from it, giving you peace of mind your data won’t be compromised.
Get employees involved
Don’t leave your employees waiting around on the sidelines in the run up to the move—get them involved! This will ensure morale is kept high by making them feel appreciated during the process. Some ways you can get staff involved include:
- Getting their feedback on what they think does and doesn’t work about the current office. Perhaps this might be the way the desks are laid out or the location of the social area. Whatever it is, this will be invaluable to know and ensures employees are kept involved.
- Asking their opinions on what the layout and design of the new office should be like. Staff are the best consultants when it comes to improving the workplace, and this will again give them an active role in the moving process.
- Hold regular meetings updating them on the move, as this ensures they are kept in the loop and that hearsay is stopped. This communication should be a two way street, however, and you should encourage questions from staff.
- Organize a company tour of the new office once it’s secured. Everybody will be dying to see it!
Don’t let your employees become overwhelmed by your imminent office relocation—follow the above tips to minimize stress and ensure you maintain workplace happiness wherever you are.
Simon Davies is a freelance journalist interested in marketing, tech and small business. Follow him at @SimonTheoDavies.