Office Relocation Planning: Keeping Your Move On Track – Part 1
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What’s more anxiety-provoking than living through a move? If you work in corporate real estate planning relocations, you know the answer: workplace churn management.
When you’re involved in churn management on a daily basis, it can take its toll on your nerves, not to mention your reputation and prospects for growing in your career. There are so many details to manage and so much that can go wrong. Most of your company’s employees have probably lived through a relocation in the past, so they know all too well what can happen: delays, inconvenience, interruption in their work, and even lost possessions. That’s why people dread moving and business teams are not often on your side when you let them know that you’re planning to move them to a new floor or even to a new building.
The good news is, there are proven strategies to minimize problems with moves and optimize your churn management process, making employees happier with the move and increasing their trust in you and your team.
8 Tips for Improving Your Churn Management Results
Here are some tips for improving your churn management and making relocations happen faster, smoother and with less anxiety.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #1: Start With Accurate Data
Have you ever accidentally tried to move a team into a space already occupied by another group? That’s what happens when you don’t have accurate occupancy data before you create your relocation plan. Or when you fail to keep it updated throughout the churn management process.
It’s essential that you know who sits where, what space your business units are currently assigned to, which groups need to sit near each other, and how much vacancy actually exists. Collecting this data manually will always be a flawed process, since it’s so time consuming that the information is outdated even before you finish collecting it. If you’re planning a major move, invest in a space planning tool that allows business units to own and validate their own occupancy data.
- CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #2: Align Moves With Business Objectives
This churn management tip is the secret to getting business units on your side. Engage them in the process early and often. Ask them about their business objectives and plans: you’ll want to know if they are planning a major restructure or significant addition or reduction in staff. And work with them to schedule the move around any critical projects or deadlines they are facing. Assign client relationship managers from your team to work with business unit stakeholders to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
When you’re having these conversations with business stakeholders, use your data to take emotion out of the equation. When you can convincingly show how much vacancy actually exists, the LOB’s real space requirements, and how much the company stands to save with your plan, you’ll have a much easier time getting everyone on board.
Also, don’t forget to sell your business units on why the move is good for them: better facilities, amenities, locations, and opportunities to consolidate the team or sit near a team they work with closely. And how about the chance to reduce their chargeback cost if you are consolidating space?
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #3: Automate Communication To Ease Anxiety
Getting business stakeholders on your side is challenging enough, but to win over those 500 people who have to move to a new desk or a new building, you need to think bigger. The way to do that is with regular, helpful communication.
People have had bad experiences with moves, so to gain their trust you’ll need to set the expectation that this time will be different. Create a communication plan that details what everyone involved needs to know, and when. Then set up email templates that let different groups know what’s happening every step of the way, what to expect and who to contact with questions and concerns before the move and on Day 1. Make all that communication easier for you by choosing a tool that helps you automate sending emails to different teams.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #4: Tackle Large Moves in Phases
Unless you want a nightmare on your hands, you can’t shut down 5,000 people at once. For a very large move, break the move into phases over a period of days or over several weekends.
Before taking on a significant move project like this, it’s essential to have the right space planning tool in place. When you have easy access to accurate data and up-to-date floor plans, you’ll be able to visualize the change at every stage of your move to assess the status and make any needed adjustments to the next phase of your churn management plan.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #5: Freeze Small Moves Before the Big Move
It’s enormously helpful to draw a line in the sand after which you won’t implement any more churn in advance of the big move. This gives you a better chance of having all your data accurate on move day. However, it may be unrealistic to expect NO changes in that timeframe, so keep your ear to the ground and make sure any changes that DO happen are documented and your data updated.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #6: Create a Detailed Logistics Plan
As far in advance as possible, create a detailed move schedule showing dependencies and sequence of move activities. Make sure everyone involved knows important milestones, such as:
- Move-freeze date
- When packing will be complete
Churn management happens more smoothly when everyone understands the entire picture and can plan their tasks according to the move schedule.
Using the right relocation planning tool can take much of the work out of creating & updating these detailed plans, and can even provide detailed floor plans for reference by both internal teams and outsourced service providers.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #7: Early IT Involvement
Enlist the support of your IT group on the move planning team from the beginning to avoid expensive problems on move day. Make sure they are ready to manage changes to mainframe printers, telephony, call routing and diversions, system availability, firewall burns and domain availability.
Hundreds of people without network access for even a day costs the company a great deal of money. Not to mention adding to their frustration and destroying their trust in your CRE team.
CHURN MANAGEMENT TIP #8: Plan for Move Day Support
Establish a Real Estate Operations Center (ROC) to handle issues on the day of the move, such as:
- Logistical questions: How do I move my chair? What to do with carts and boxes?
- Maintenance: Address any needed repairs that are discovered during and after the move
- Facilities instructions: How to adjust desk heights or use the tech features in new conference rooms
- Location: Provide site tours as well as information about nearby amenities such as ATMs and shopping
- IT issues: Including network access, printers and phones
If you are moving to a new free-address workspace, even more support will be required for employees who are expected to change the way they work every day. Plan training sessions that explain how to use each of the new spaces, as well as wayfinding tools for locating people and work spaces.
The Right Automated Tools Are Essential for Optimizing Churn Management
Workplace management software tools can save you time and headaches in your churn management process. They help you collect and validate your data, engage your business teams, visualize your current block and stack and available space, create relocation scenarios, provide dashboards and reports, and can even provide room availability and wayfinding features for agile work environments.
Yet with such a wide range of features and functionality in different systems, it can be difficult to compare apples to apples.