Once you have your space plan completed and know where you’re putting departments, you’ll need to start assigning seats to individuals. It’s important to coordinate the timing of this process with the rest of the project team. Complete it too early and you’ll have constant changes to manage leading up to the move. Too late, and the IT, Facilities and Move teams may not have enough lead-time to finish their tasks.
Also consider who will be completing the seat assignments. Companies often choose a senior- or mid-level manager who may not know the intricacies of how a department functions – and where it makes sense for people to sit. It’s a good idea to include administrative assistants in the process. They often have a better understanding of the day-to-day workflow, and can offer valuable insight as to where people should sit and why.
There are many considerations relating to how people work with each other. Unfortunately, there are often employees who may not work well together. Knowing this during the seat assignment process can make it much easier on them – and you – by putting them in the appropriate seats. By planning well and avoiding excessive change requests, your project team will be able to focus on more important activities.
Also keep in mind ergonomic and health/safety considerations when assigning seats. Some individuals may be sensitive to light and can’t be placed near a window. Others may have a fear of heights and would prefer to not be placed near the railing of an atrium. While these are extreme cases, they have happened and should illustrate how the seat assignment process is much more than writing names on a floor plan.
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.