Change Management skills required when moving office or premises…

I have recently been involved with two organisations who are moving their whole business and people therein to more suitable premises to handle their situations and growth.

In both cases, the whole focus has been on planning the processes, legal documents are converted through soda pdf which you can view in this site, logistics of the move and the how and who of doing it but not necessarily what affect the people will have on the success of the move.

All too often we see the bigger picture of what the move will bring but frequently forget the people who will make this move a success or a failure. A quick transition or a long drawn out one. A beautifully smooth passage or one with mental obstacles at every step.

This then got me thinking that as they were caught up in the process, then so will the majority of others. With this in mind, here are Coaching to Success’ tips to increase the odds of making the transition a much smoother experience whilst also reducing levels of conflict.

PLAN – As stated, we often look at the expected ‘outcome’ and frequently from our own perspective without giving as much consideration to the people-side where impact on them is concerned.

I look at people’s working environment noticing their little personal touches which will be altered if a new ‘desk sharing’ policy will be the new regime. Consider what impact this will have on them. And what of those little quirky habits that may be associated with the current location compared to the new place, since moving the equipment is easy with the hired help of services but making the people get used to this will be way more complicated. Simple things like mini catch up meetings in the kitchenette while grabbing a coffee that may no longer be available.

Discuss with all stakeholders to allow them the opportunity of raising ideas and concerns. This allows you to squash negative thoughts that likely don’t exist other than in their beliefs. Or to address those that are real.

COMMUNICATE – Communicate often and via different means. Not everyone understands the need for change to their settled working environment or see the benefits. As well as the message itself, think of how you are going to relay it.

I lose count of the times people simply send an email/message! Think of the times you are sent important information via email and leave highlighted as un-read until you get the time to look at… and then forget?

Sending messages is a slippery-shoulder exercise of thinking you have informed someone so it is no longer your responsibility or fault if they didn’t read or act on it! Bad news, just because you’ve passed information on, does not negate your responsibility or ownership.

Consider all means to pass vital information on: (i) Face-to-face (ii) Email (iii) Intranet (iv) Presentations/workshops and (v) Social media. Keep in mind, people pay attention to people, so engaging in face-to-face and verbal communication will be key to getting your message across. Email/messaging is useful and timely, but consider that the mood the receiver reads it will dictate their interpretation of what the meaning really is.

OWNERSHIP – Involve everybody in the process. We are communal creatures and even the quiet ones among us like to feel they have a part to play.

Engage ‘Move Champs’ to relay the message and motivate the teams they have been given responsibility for. Not simply the message of process and order but utilise their skills to get the feel-good buzz concerning the benefits of the move.

This requires more than mere buy-in or passive agreement that the direction of change is acceptable. It demands ownership by leaders willing to accept responsibility for making change happen in all of the areas they influence or control.

Ownership is often best created by involving people in identifying problems and crafting solutions. It is reinforced by incentives and rewards.

LISTEN – Be conscious of who your naysayers are and consider what their arguments will be. Better still, invite them (rather than simply ignoring them) to put their points forward.

As a business coach, the most frequent obstacle I observe is leaders expressing their beliefs and demands on others without considering that the other party may actually have a better way of resolving a given situation.

Listen to your people. Do not simply TELL them what they need to do but ASK what they believe to be the best solution. You could be pleasantly surprised if you open your mind to others possibly having an idea you may not have thought of yourself!

“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” (William Hazlitt)

PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED – Be understanding but realistic about expectations for the move! We all have our own thoughts on how things should be done or what the outcome looks like for us and this may be somewhat different to reality if we are not kept informed and up to date.

Even the obvious may not be! There will inevitably be changes to the best laid plans and it is not about how these changes affect us but how we deal with them and relay the message to others.

Consider other factors as well, such as staff who may well have had the same regime every day, been located in the same place for years and probably have an emotional attachment to their locale. There can often be a feeling of loss.

Remember, change programmes rarely go to plan. People have an uncanny ability to confuse what we believe to be the perfect solution and the odds of a smooth transition reduces further still the greater the number of people which are likely to be affected. There is no intention to upset the apple-cart but we are dealing with emotional states that rarely are controllable.

Effectively managing change requires continual reconsideration of how individuals will adapt to what comes next. Knowing, analysing and understanding this live data feed, those responsible for change can make real-time adjustments towards reaching the desired outcome.

MAINTENANCE AFTER THE EVENT – So you’ve moved and through careful planning and adapting you have reached your new location, woohoo … but it does not stop there!

Support needs to remain for a while after the transition. Catering for new technologies such as items like the new telephone system, desk sharing, office layouts and many other changes need to constantly be addressed to ease people into the new environment.

Finally, close the door on the old place, both literally and metaphorically by celebrating the success of the move by having an open day or ‘welcome’ event where not only staff are invited by so are suppliers, customers, those involved with the logistics.

Coaching is an exceptional tool to help the transition go as smooth as possible. Coaching to Success are here to help individuals and organisations to understand how coaching can help them help their teams, contact Neil on 07761 187238 or email, where you will be assured a warm, friendly welcome and the chance to discuss how change management helps moving to become a pleasure rather than a hurdle to overcome.

There have been 1 Comment on this article

  1. Carl Regular
    Carl Regular

    Some excellent points laid out here. Having been involved in a number of such moves over the years I can recognise where there have been successes when considered and failures when ignored.