It takes a special kind of person to enjoy the meticulous planning and monotony that goes into orchestrating a major corporate relocation.
I am one of those people!
While it’s not rocket science, most major relocations involve hundreds of decisions and an aptitude for project management – and maybe a little common sense, too. I’m always amazed when we join a project team and view the schedule only to find four or five tasks on it related to the move. Things like “hire the mover and move.” Our standard task list involves at least 400 items.
The most successful relocations are the ones where the “move” was not viewed as an afterthought, but integrated into the overall design and construction planning process. This integration brings insight to the rest of the team and allows for a better perspective of the “end game.”
We see three distinct phases in a relocation project:
The early stages of planning, this is where you evaluate your timelines to look for potential bottlenecks or impact issues. It’s important to collaborate with all parties involved with the project to get a sense of all the moving parts. Some basic questions to ask:
- When is the best time for the organization to move?
- What major changes will the staff experience?
- How do we communicate effectively to the staff, and through which channels?
- What is the overall list of tasks the organization needs to complete in preparation?
Make sure you have the right internal team in place to drive the relocation activities. You’ll need to make plans for technology and other imperative assets required for your organization to function. The goal is to reduce stress on your employees and relocate with as minimal a disruption as possible.
Defining tasks based on realistic timeframes with sufficient lead-time are the key to an organized, methodical move. Avoid the ‘fire drill’ mentality to save costs and avoid paying a premium price by planning in advance instead of waiting until the last minute.
A well-planned relocation is one in which all tasks are identified and planned for in advance. Communicating details to the staff early and often will result in an organization that is minimally stressed and moves without disruption. This organized execution will result in a carefully orchestrated move where employees are happy and return to work as if nothing happened.
Overall, it’s important to resist the temptation to view the “move” as the last item on the schedule. Start to really think about how your organization is impacted as a result of the relocation and plan accordingly. It will save your sanity – and probably your job – when you remember the president’s Picasso requires special crating, insurance and hanging!
Helen Dennis is the President and co-founder of 300 Decisions, a strategic, full-service business relocation management company specializing in helping organizations transition into new work environments without disrupting business operations.