What happens when you spend months planning your office move and the forecast calls for snow? Not just your typical snowstorm – a blizzard! This can very easily become the worst nightmare of project managers, facility managers, movers and all other stakeholders involved.
It doesn’t have to be.
Every relocation should be planned with contingency in mind. If it is not the weather, it could very easily be a power outage or other mechanical failure. Whether it’s a tornado in Nebraska, a bomb threat in Michigan, a Hurricane in Philadelphia or a bear on the loose in Hartford (yes, all of those actually happened), having a contingency plan in place will help keep the projects moving forward.
Most companies already have existing Business Continuity Plans in place to deal with unexpected events. A BCP typically includes how companies communicate to employees, where employees will go and how they will continue doing their jobs. These plans vary depending on the size and type of the business, but they typically have a common thread of how they will continue to maintain business operations and provide communications to employees during the event.
It is imperative you develop a contingency plan for a move and communicate ahead of time to all who will be involved. In the event nature strikes and a blizzard is on the way, you can set your plan into action. This obviously includes notifications to all vendors about the delay, the new plan of action, the rescheduling of resources and the risks that need to be addressed and mitigated as a result of the change. You can also tap into the company’s existing BCP communications protocol to inform employees what the new plan will be.
The scenario may be as simple as delaying a Friday night move to avoid a blizzard, and attempting to complete it over the weekend instead. If that were not feasible, a communication should go out directing employees to report to their existing location on Monday or follow the BCP protocols until the move can be executed.
No matter what the event, it’s vital to have a backup plan in place and to make sure the plan is communicated to everyone involved. The more prepared you are for the unexpected, the lesser the chance you will cause disruption to customers, add additional project costs and increase employee anxiety.
Matthew Dennis is the COO and co-founder of 300 Decisions, a strategic, full-service relocation management company specializing in helping organizations transition into new work environments without disrupting business operations.