people2people’s Brisbane office relocated in December 2016, offices just down the road (conveniently). In my role as the peoplemanager for Brisbane, I was responsible for coordinating the workings of this spectacular and slightly stressful event, so I thought I would share with you some tips on how to survive an office move!
1. Prepare for everything to go wrong
They say preparation is key, and they couldn’t be more correct. I’m not saying to be cynical here – it’s important to maintain a positive outlook during the move – but, it’s also equally important to prepare for any hiccups along the way. No doubt they are going to happen, so it always works best if you can just take it in your stride and be a problem solver. If you anticipate for bumps in the road, it might not be as rocky.
2. Create a task list
This may seem like an obvious pointer, but I think it’s just too vital not to mention. Google Docs is a fantastic tool to use that allows you to generate documents or spreadsheets on Google Drive while permitting several users to access the file at once. Any changes made on the document are updated in real time. Create an office move list that is broken down into sections e.g. IT, communications and packing and prioritise tasks in order according to their time deadlines.
3. Keep everyone updated
Going back to my second point, the Google Docs allows everybody to see where the office move is up to, who’s completing which task and when it needs to be done by. I also found it helpful to send out emails to everyone on what stage we were at in the move. At your weekly meeting it will also pay to have a few updates.
4. Have back up plans for IT Failure
Remember those bumps in the road I mentioned? It’s quite likely that IT failure will be one of them. It’s important to have back up plans for when things go haywire. How will you offset the issue of no internet? What can you do if your phones aren’t working? You should liaise with your IT providers to ensure you have some fail safe measures in place.
5. Send instructions twice
Send instructions twice. I repeat, send instructions twice. Once you’ve got a packing method sorted, send it repeatedly to your colleagues. This will ensure that each employee is held accountable for what they are responsible for and will ensure you avoid the dreaded response, “Oh, I wasn’t told about that”. If you want to be really thorough, send through instructions more than twice! I also found it helpful to ask for access to everybody’s work calendars so I could put roughly 1000 reminders in there such as “Have you thrown out any old files”, “Have you backed up your computer”, “Fridge clean out today!”. Repetition is okay in this situation. Overall, an office move will most likely involve some slightly stressful moments. However, if you prepare the best you can, what’s more important is how you handle those bumps in the road. Deep breath in, deep breath out – it will all be sorted soon enough!