Moving offices requires a lot of planning to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. With so much to think about, you’re bound to encounter a few HR concerns as you prepare for the big move.

This article will go through everything you need to consider from an HR perspective when you relocate to a shiny new office space.

The planning stage

Failure to plan properly can lead to mistakes and even accidents. Make sure you leave enough time to plan your move and reflect on any issues that might arise, such as:

Location

If you move the location of your business, you’ll of course need to consider your employees’ relocation rights. Some contracts include a mobility clause, which means your staff have to move within certain limits for the business.

When choosing a new location for your office, it’s worth thinking about the following:

  • Transport links: How easy will it be for your staff to travel to the new office?
  • How many of your employees need to care for children under 16 or vulnerable adults: moving too far away from schools etc. might cause problems, as well as disrupting family life
  • Proposed timescales: are they reasonable for your staff?

It’s also important to consider any discriminatory factors that might crop up as a result of moving office, such as making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. When researching a new office space, make sure the area has good disability access and transport options.

Employees not wanting to move

Your employees might be reluctant to move for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Travel times becoming longer, or travel becoming more expensive
  • They may need to move house in order to be closer to work, which could be a long and expensive process
  • It might mean moving away from family or family amenities, such as schools or nurseries

If your employees don’t have a mobility clause in their contracts, they can refuse to move. If they refuse on reasonable grounds, you can offer redundancy pay. Reasonable grounds include:

  • The staff member matches the redundancy criteria
  • They have ‘reasonably’ refused to relocate, for example, because the journey would be too difficult or it would affect their child’s education
  • They’re not receiving compensation from you because they’re choosing not to move

Another option is to offer incentives, such as agreeing to pay travel fairs for staff needing to travel a long way to get to work.

Involving your staff

Though you’ll need a professional moving company to transport your office equipment to the new location, there may be some tasks your employees want to do themselves.

In this instance, it’s important that you provide clear safety protocols to eliminate risk. For example, make sure your employees don’t put themselves at risk by doing any unnecessary heavy lifting.

You could also involve your staff in the decision process of relocating. Moving office will impact their lives, so asking your team’s opinions on location would open up discussions about how you can make the move as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

 Health and safety at your new office

Your new offices must comply with proper health and safety standards. Make sure your employees know:

  • Where all the fire exits and extinguishers are
  • What to do in the event of a fire
  • Where the first aid kit is
  • Who the health and safety contact is

Your staff’s safety is your most important priority, so don’t let basic health and safety regulations fall off the radar in the excitement of the move.

Moving day

When the big day arrives, you’ll need a strong plan in place to make sure everything gets to your new office without a hitch.

Ahead of moving day, ask your removal company to carry out a risk assessment at both your new office and your old one. This will highlight any equipment issues or access problems that might get in the way, and help you find a way around them.

The removal team will also take care of moving any potentially dangerous or delicate electrical equipment. Before they arrive, disconnect all computers, phones, printers and kitchen equipment ready for moving to the new office.

The day before the move, ask your staff to clear their desks and sort through any drawers or lockers to make sure nothing gets lost or damaged in transition.

Ideally, you should move on a day when your employees are out of the office, so that your removal company can do their job without any obstructions and your teams won’t need to work with distractions.

The same applies to the final office cleaning. According to the experts at the Fantastic Cleaners office cleaning company, commercial premises have to be fully empty of any company inventory or employee belongings before the commercial office cleaning service can happen.

Ensure a smooth transition

The last thing anyone wants when your teams start working in the new office is ‘teething problems’. Once everything has been moved across, make sure the internet and phone lines are connected and working. This’ll ensure customers aren’t left in the dark and your staff aren’t stressed on their first day in the new environment.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to moving offices, and just like moving house, it can be a stressful ordeal! But as long as you take into account the above HR considerations, you and your staff will be enjoying your new office space in no time, with minimal issues beforehand.