It’s official: spottydog communications is moving on to bigger and better things, quite literally. I’m talking of course about our imminent office move! A busy 2019 filled with brilliant briefs from our wonderful clients has seen the company grow not just client-based but our employee engagement levels have grown too . That means both our office locations in Birmingham and Leicester are bursting at the seams.
So, from January we’ll be settled in our new, bigger office digs in New Oxford House in Birmingham (why not come by and visit?)
As part of the self-styled “dream team” project managing the office move, I wanted to share some of our top tips for making the most of such a project. Our company culture and values are the essence of spottydog, and we’ve managed to maintain them across four offices in 10 years; here’s how.
Thinking about how you’re going to communicate your relocation to employees is one of the first things to consider. News this big tends to leak quickly, and you want everyone to hear it in the context of the positive messaging an office move deserves. The risk you run otherwise is people feeling a (natural) resistance to change, or isolated if they seem to be the last one to know.
The news should be announced as soon as possible, ideally face to face by a senior leader. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the details yet – this can be an advantage.
Thinking about your office move like a campaign gives you some clear steps in your plan. To start building a buzz and sense of excitement, your first communications are ‘teasers’, where you can drip feed details of what employees can look forward to: a bigger space? Easier access to a train station? A lift that doesn’t break down?
Learning about these details will add to the fun and regular updates, even small ones, will be appreciated and keep engagement levels high.
If your culture is focused around transparency and looking after each other, an office move is a great chance to reinforce this.
Tap into employee voice by giving colleagues the chance to be a part of the move. The best way is usually to ask for volunteers to be part of a project team. Ask for a project leader to make sure tasks are divided fairly and the group keeps momentum, and give them specific areas to look after, such as interior design for the new space.
At this stage in your campaign you can start getting creative and ramping up your messaging and using multiple channels. You could consider:
- Creating a one page e-newsletter to update everyone on progress
- Asking the project team to update everyone in person during their team meetings
- Creating a dedicated space or chat group on your intranet or social network where people can find out the latest and ask any questions
- Finding opportunities for people to get involved – start a poll for people to vote on colour schemes or desk layouts
Even before you’ve confirmed location and dates for your move, you’ll want to think about direct communications with any employees who may be adversely affected. As part of your HR process everyone should get the opportunity to have a 121 with their manager and raise any concerns – there may be issues that you haven’t considered with employee engagement included.
Hopefully everyone will be making the move with you, but sadly sometimes the logistics don’t work for all team members. If that’s the case, it’s important to keep these individuals still feeling like valued members of the company. They should still get the chance to contribute to team decisions and join in events. They’re a contributor to your culture for as long as they’re an employee (and a potential advocate afterwards), and you want the move to be as positive as possible for everyone.
The physical moving process might cause some stress, no matter how well you plan. Missing items and issues connecting to the new internet and printers are almost bound to happen!
That’s why we suggest saving your launch party for a couple of days after everyone is settled in. Although, don’t leave it so long that the excitement has worn off.
An official launch party with a guest list is a great chance to engage with your clients. If customer service is a core value, this is a chance for your team to invite and meet them in person, and make them feel appreciated.
Or, if you’re looking for something low key, try an extended lunch break or early finish for some team bonding time. Put on some tunes and food in the kitchen or invite everyone out to investigate your new local watering spot.
Keep the communication going once you’ve arrived by reinforcing key messages – remind everyone of the exciting new features, and any improvements to your ways of working.
We can’t guarantee that every aspect of your move will go smoothly, but this campaign framework can help you re-invigorate the best part of your company culture. Success will mean that your new digs will be welcoming happy, engaged employees, along with a boost in productivity team spirit and employee engagement.
For more top tips on employee engagement and communicating change, check out our internal communications service pages.