Moving offices...and involving everyone

Creating a great environment to work in may not be viewed as an important factor to engage your talent but its been one of my many priorities over the past year during our office move (in addition to the day job of course). 

It took over a year from initially being told we needed to move from our lovely offices in Covent Garden to eventually settling in to our new home in Soho (with literally two days to spare).  What has been hugely satisfying for me is that everyone here loves their new space, our clients love it and we’re all really happy being here.

It hasn’t been plain sailing and we have learnt a lot - here are my personal tips to get people excited about an impending office move.

  1. Involve everyone at an early stage (or as many as possible)
    We asked everyone what they would love to have in their new office if budget and options were limitless and what they would change with their current set up given the opportunity.

    We then put together teams across the business, gave them a very healthy drinks budget and off they went to scout areas around London and score them according to how good they were for socialising, transport, shopping, facilities and so on.
  2. Listen to people’s opinions
    After our scouting sessions, it was very clear that most of us were happy to compromise on certain factors to ensure we got certain other things eg size of office vs location.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out during the process how everyone was realistic what we would be able to achieve and what was never going to happen.  A roof terrace with swimming pool was probably just that step too far (although we have got our garden room)!
  3. Involve others in decision making
    We put together an office team made up of people from different teams who would help me make decisions eg choosing our brilliant fit out company, furniture choices, colours and so on.  They would then tell everyone else in their team what’s been chosen and progress in meetings.
  4. Keep everyone up to date with what’s going on
    The whole process for us was massively delayed whilst the lawyers did their bit which ultimately left us with very little time to get the office ready and moved.  However, we made sure that everyone knew what was going on (good and bad) at every stage so there were no surprises at any time.  Luckily it all got done in time – just!
  5. Plan for everything
    The smallest things can take the longest time so planning and using people’s talents to get things done helped me a great deal.
  6. Cancel all other plans!
    If you’re the main person in charge of the project, be aware that most other things have to take a back seat especially in the final couple of months.  We are a small company and I was amazed at how much time it took liaising with our contractors, suppliers and internally to ensure the move went as smoothly as possible. 
So, the result of following these points?  A very hectic and sometimes stressful time but we have a fantastic new home with everyone happy about being here and working for us.