How to Establish a Communication Plan for Your Office Move

Let’s face it, it’s human nature. Nothing stays secret for long…even in business relocationLet’s face it, it’s human nature. Nothing stays secret for long…even in business relocation

The rumor mill always has a way of finding out about things. Even under tightly controlled circumstances, people seem to always find out things before you want them to. Office-move rumors are no different. When your company is looking for space and considering moving to a new location the scuttlebutt can get out and have a real impact on how your employees feel about the stress and change of moving your business. How you handle communication and deal with the rumor mill will significantly impact how well your employees embrace change during what is a very challenging time for your business.

Your employees are your greatest asset. Taking the time to develop a communication plan that addresses things from their perspective can really reduce the angst and challenge of a business move.

When you are contemplating a business move, take time up front to establish a proactive communication plan. Just having a defined strategy for communicating the potential move is a big step in the right direction. Go into your communication planning with the goal to get ahead and stay ahead of the rumor mill to avoid unnecessary stress and discomfort for your employees. Think of the situation from your employee’s perspective and work hard to address their fears, challenges and concerns around what it all really means for them. Don’t spend too much time spelling out the business case and reasons for the move. Instead, hit the highlights of “why”. Spending most of the time thinking through how your employees are interpreting the situation and how to best address their concerns proactively and in a positive way.

Don’t just say it once. If you put your employees at the center of the communication, you will have no problem getting your folks to educate themselves on what to expect and how to prepare for the move.

As you develop your communication plan keep in mind that consistency is critical. “One and done” communication will not suffice. Make sure that your strategy calls for ongoing communication. Decide upfront what the best methods of communication are and what the frequency should be. Consider housing all the announcements, FAQs and updates in one place that is accessible to employees via your internal communication tools so that they have some freedom to review the information at their necessity and convenience. The old adage “you get more bees with honey” applies in this situation too. Using positive messaging that is designed to help your people understand and prepare for the move is the secret sauce. If you put employees at the center of the communication, you will have no problem getting your folks to educate themselves on the move. Be creative too. For example, if you need to convey something that all employees need to do by a certain date, sandwich information on the deadline in between two things you know they are really interested in.

Communication planning is a team sport. Don’t try it alone. Draft a team of trusted colleagues and advisors to get your communication strategy right.

Now that you fully recognize the need for employee-centric communication around business relocation, getting the right people to help you define and deliver the message is critical. Naturally, you will want to include leaders from your lines of business and functional representatives (IT, HR, Facilities, Finance) but also make sure to consider including trusted and well-respected long-term employees that will give you insight into what your employees might be feeling about the move. Then you can establish how to best message and convey things in a meaningful and positive way. Believe it or not, you might be surprised what your employees are really thinking:

  • Why did I find out about this in the newspaper?
  • Why the heck are we moving anyway? I really like it here.
  • We are moving to a smaller space? Is the company doing ok?
  • I’ve moved twice in this building this year and now we are moving to a new building. Why?
  • How are they going to fit all of us in that smaller space, are there going to be layoffs?
  • How do you get to the new place, what will this do to my commute and parking situation?
  • How many miles away is that? Do I have to pay tolls now? Does the bus stop near there?
  • Are we keeping our same furniture?
  • Will I still be near a window?
  • Where are the coffee and lunch spots in the new place?
  • Will my security badge work in the new place?
  • When is this all going to happen? Do I have to cancel my vacation?
  • I have to purge and pack up my things, how am I going to get it all done?

Work with a provider who understands that business relocation is about communication and planning, not trucks and labor. Contact us today to talk about how to best plan your next business move.