A survey conducted by Clutch states that 67 percent of the surveyed workforce found office relocation to be difficult, and 30 percent said it was distracting.
As a human resources manager, you might be worried about how relocation might affect your team.
Follow the guidelines shared below to learn how you can support your workforce, set them up for success and increase workforce satisfaction in a new environment.
Challenges Employees Face During a Relocation
No matter how far or close you move your premises, relocating your office presents a variety of challenges for your workforce.
The following are some of the most common obstacles you and your team might encounter:
Resistance to Change
According to Jim Bright, nearly two-thirds of the surveyed people say that uncertainty about the future worries them.
When your workforce finds out that the company will be moving to a new location, the majority of your employees will likely feel concerned and resistant to change. They might not like the idea of a longer commute, moving to a new home in a different city, or getting their spouse on board with the move.
One of the biggest obstacles faced by your workforce during a company relocation is finding housing in a new place.
Say the company is moving so far away that team members will need to sell their house or cancel their lease and find a new place to live. In that case, it’s understandable that they will worry and need additional support throughout the process.
Your employees aren’t the only ones affected by an office relocation. Many of them likely have spouses, children, and pets that also need to be taken into account.
Team members may need to find new schools for their children, and their spouses may need to find new jobs. Concerns about their families will take up a lot of mental bandwidth for your workforce, especially if a long-distance move is in their future.
Equipment and Technology Concerns
Some items, like desks and chairs, are reasonably easy to move to a new office. However, the moving process becomes more challenging when it comes to equipment like computers, servers, copy machines, and other technology.
Workforce and employers alike may worry about safely relocating these items (particularly the costs that may arise if they get damaged during the move).
It’s easy to let communication fall by the wayside during an office relocation. After all, everyone has a dozen extra tasks on their to-do list.
Communication difficulties make the move more challenging for everyone, though. If team members aren’t getting answers to their questions or feel that they’re not being supported, they may be more resistant to following through and relocating.
How to Support Your Workforce During a Relocation
An office move will always come with some stress and confusion. However, the good news is that you, as an HR manager, can do a lot to simplify the process by putting a good moving plan in place.
Here are some specific steps you can take to support your workforce and ensure an efficient workforce management process:
As soon as you know that the company is going to be relocating, start sharing the news with other team members according to the approved communication plan.
For example, communicate with department heads or managers and task all of them with announcing the move to their teams. You can also send out emails to the entire company to deliver the message to everyone at once and let them know what they can expect moving forward.
Remember that the earlier you can share the news, the better. Introducing the move early gives people time to decide what they want to do (move with their team, quit and find a new job, etc.). It also provides more time for you and other higher-ups to plan the office move, answer questions, address concerns, etc.
In addition to the initial relocation announcement, you must also prioritize communication during and after the move.
Let your workforce know that you, as an HR Manager, and the entire HR team are available to answer questions and provide information as needed -- and do your best to respond as promptly as possible.
You may want to recruit a few people to help you manage the move as well. That way, you don’t have to field everyone’s queries and concerns alone.
Offer Support to Families
Your workforce won’t just worry about how the office move will affect them. Your team members will also want to know that their families are taken care of. Think beyond the people on your payroll and look for ways to support their loved ones, too.
For example, you may want to provide information about schools in the area where you’re moving to help them with their research. If you know that they need help finding housing, you may want to provide contact information for real estate agents or local apartment complexes.
Partner with Professional Movers
Don’t let your workforce do the (literally) heavy lifting themselves. While you may task your team members with moving their personal belongings to the new office, it’s best to hire professional movers to assist with the heavier and more complicated items.
Professional movers can streamline the relocation process and help you feel confident that items will be delivered on time and in good condition. They can also assist with moving special equipment and technology to prevent expensive mistakes.
Be Flexible and Empathetic
You and the other managers at the company should accept that it will take some time for all of your team members to feel comfortable in their new work environment.
Be flexible and understanding in the few months after you relocate. For example, give people some extra leeway regarding arrival times since they’ll be traveling in unfamiliar territory, or let people occasionally work from home.
Remember that offering flexibility and compassion will improve morale and let employees know that you care about them.
Conclusion: Simplify Relocation and Ensure Workforce Satisfaction
It’s normal for your workforce to feel concerned or frustrated during the relocation process. However, you can alter these feelings and provide a smoother relocation by following the guidelines discussed above. Keep them on top of your mind to ensure a smooth relocation and settling in for your workforce.