How to Manage an Office Relocation or Refurbishment During COVID-19
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  • Managing a Successful Office Relocation or Refurbishment During COVID-19

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  • We’ve compiled over 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.

    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.

  • 6 steps of a successful office relocation or refurbishment during COVID-19

    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.’

  • 1. Form your response team

    Your office move team should be diverse and multidisciplinary. Ideally, you’ll want representation from as many different parts of the business as possible. That way you can incorporate feedback from all departments throughout this transformative process.

  • 2. Find your thought framework

    Identify a thought framework that you’ll use to chart a course of direction. Clear goals and consistent messaging will help to ensure your employees are engaged in the refurbishment or relocation, making change management as smooth as possible.

  • 3. Set up a system for collecting data

    Establish a system for collecting insights and information from key stakeholders. It’s important to understand your business requirements as you approach the design of a new workspace or the refurbishment of your current office. The most valuable feedback will come from your team, clients, partners and landlord. Be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest government guidance surrounding COVID-19.

  • 4. Complete user journey mapping

    Now more than ever, it’s important to consider how your employees will get to work. While COVID-secure design considerations make it possible for companies to return to the office, public transportation may not be a viable option for some employees.

  • 5. Understand the limitations of your space

    Conducting a workplace consultancy process like space rationalisation will help you identify the limitations and existing inefficiencies of your new or current space. Going through these processes with workplace experts will ensure you have the best understanding of what’s possible in your workplace.

  • 6. Communicate your plan

    Your internal communication strategy is one of the most important parts of any workplace transformation. You’ll need to make sure all employees have a clear understanding of the company’s direction, the changes that are being made and the benefits of those changes. There should also be a feedback system in place so that everyone can help shape the path forward.

  • What to consider during your COVID-19 office relocation or refurbishment

    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.

  • COVID-secure workspace prioritises safety and social interaction

    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.

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  • If you’d like to learn more about navigating the return to work, we’ve created an Office Reintegration Checklist to help businesses plan a safe return to the office.

    Find Out More
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  • Your change management and internal communication strategies will determine the success of your relocation or refurbishment.

    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.

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  • 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.

  • Lower occupancy facilitates an easier workplace transformation.

    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.

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