We’ve compiled 25 years of insight and advice for businesses facing an office transformation during the coronavirus pandemic, including a live discussion with Tracey Gleig, Executive and Office Manager at Square Enix, and Lorna Killick, Oktra’s Head of People and Workplaces.
A lot goes into an office relocation or refurbishment, and COVID-19 has introduced a new set of safety factors that have changed the way businesses approach workplace transformations. Generally reserved for companies approaching the end of a lease, planning for a relocation or refurbishment is becoming more common as businesses re-evaluate their space requirements in light of remote working. Whether you’re considering an office update or full relocation, these are the steps to managing a successful office transformation and what to think about along the way. For Tracey and Lorna’s discussion of office relocation and refurbishment, continue to the end of the page.
Office updates are tailored to a company’s strategy and operating model, meaning the exact process will look slightly different for everyone. These steps form the foundation of a successful change management strategy and can be used no matter what your unique requirements may be. We explain each step in greater detail in our article, ‘How Businesses Can Start Planning for Their Return to the Office.’
There are a lot of factors you’ll need to consider during your office transformation, the health and safety of your workforce being chief among them. Once government guidance allows for the return to work, businesses will need to enact physical and behavioural changes to ensure user safety. Your ability to communicate your plan and involve the business in the relocation or refurbishment, will determine the overall success of the transition. It may seem daunting, but conducting an office move during widespread remote working has the potential to be easier than it was pre-pandemic.
Flexible workplace strategies are already defining the future or work. By combining remote work and office-based working, flexible working allows businesses to remain agile and connected while employees have greater control and choice of where and how they work. Core office space is taking on a newly social and collaborative role as the heart of company culture and a place for co-workers to connect. While COVID-related health and safety measures remain in place, it’s important that this connection is facilitated in accordance with government guidelines.
A combination of physical and behavioural changes is the most comprehensive way to ensure your office is COVID-secure.
Your ability to return to the office depends upon government guidance and employee sentiment. Ensuring employees have a way to voice their needs and concerns has been a fundamental part of navigating the pandemic, and an office relocation or refurbishment is no different. Using an employee sentiment survey will help you understand what the business needs to address in order to create an environment your people are comfortable returning to – and that supports them as much as possible. You can get in touch to request a copy of the COVID-19 Sentiment Survey we’ve developed.
Office moves or updates often coincide with new ways of working, but the return to work now has an entirely new set of rules regarding space use due to COVID health and safety precautions. Your change management strategy should include resources and processes for training staff on how to use office space safely. Once employees have returned to the office, you’ll also need to monitor space use and hold users accountable for following new health and safety practices.
Fostering an emotional connection to your office transformation will help employees feel involved with the process and invested in its success as a result. Share the process with employees across the business to include them in your business’s journey. Quarterly progress updates are a great way to keep everyone up-to-date on your new workspace.
An empty office makes for a streamlined move or update. Pending government guidance, refurbishments and relocations are easier to conduct now that workplaces are comparatively empty. If your business is able to operate in your office space, projects can always be phased in order to minimise disruption.
The first episode of Oktra’s Future Office Series features Tracey Gleig, Executive and Office Manager at Square Enix, and Lorna Killick, Oktra’s Head of People and Workplaces, in conversation about their experience managing office moves during COVID-19. Watch the full video below to learn about the biggest challenges they faced, their top advice for other office move coordinators and much more.