Ready, set, go: relocating your business
How can you gauge if your business is ready for the move ahead? KAREN SKILLINGS reports.
Moving day is stressful enough, but the impacts are felt long before and can linger on for far too long afterwards.
Here, we look at the role of the FM/workplace teams and the challenge of integrating the relocation strategy and change program to ensure business readiness on day one.
The FM/workplace teams contribute to the policy and procedural changes in the business and are often responsible for the transfer of product knowledge and skills to staff prior to, during and after a move.
These teams will need help when there are added complexities such as a change to the ways of working, which affects more than locational change, but also behaviours, etiquettes and business process. To draw out and prepare for the changes ahead, the change manager should look to introduce diagnostic tools such as a Business Readiness Assessment.
DRIVING EXPLORATION OF WHAT IS CHANGING
The FM/workplace teams are responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the workplace and are charged with demonstrating to staff (to a minimal level) how to navigate new infrastructure and processes.
So what sort of things will change when moving to new premises that need to be considered? Well, the usual things, such as an unfamiliar building, mail redirection, building management to befriend, new vendor relationships and almost undoubtedly new technology.
It is easy to look at all these things and say ‘no big deal, done it before, won’t take long’, but don’t be complacent. A Business Readiness Assessment will crystallise what’s required for day one.
AS YOU BEGIN
Keep things relative. It is important to understand the impact on your team before relating it to the business.
I have heard it said that being an FM professional is about providing support for the best user experience possible. With this in mind, it is a good idea to put the FM team in others’ shoes. The change manager should explore this team’s view of the difficulty and complexity level of any changes. It is a good idea to help them identify their capacity for change and understand the difficulties for others.
As FM/workplace teams are all about supporting the business and trying to provide the right user experience every time, encourage them to focus on what a successful transition looks like.
SIX MONTHS OUT FROM RELOCATION
At this time, the FM/workplace teams will start making adjustments to process and providers. To keep traction, the change manager may book weekly meetings with this team identifying what will change, how each change will be managed, by whom and when?
Many of the changes identified in the Business Readiness Assessment may be owned by other teams, such as Operations. If some of the operational processes of the building, such as air-conditioning, sit with another business support group, it is still practical and desirable for the FM/workplace team to capture these in their one ‘source of truth’ and coordinate with the other work streams as appropriate.
The same applies for procedural changes that belong to other business support groups such as HR (human resources). An example of a time when a HR issue may cross into the FM/workplace services space may be when there are changes to car parking arrangements.
THE MYRIAD CHANGES POSSIBLE
The table opposite is to get you thinking about your readiness and the myriad changes possible for your team to manage. Granted, some are small changes, but they all take time. The Business Readiness Assessment will flush out activities that have more challenging solutions. For example, planning your new mail solution for an agile workplace may take priority on your action list, as you are the developer of the solution, whereas the technology solution for meeting rooms is being sorted by the accommodation project.
CONSIDER STAFF FROM OTHER LOCATIONS IN YOUR GAP ANALYSIS
When undertaking a Business Readiness Assessment, it is important to remember that the change does not only directly impact the employees’ relocation to the new premises, but also those in other locations. Consideration needs to be given to the way they interact with the new premises and facilities such as meeting room bookings, car parking locations and public transport availability.
Everyone is going to be curious about the new workspace and the FM/workplace team should be ready for questions for which they may not yet have answers. Ensure the team has a plan for how to respond to questions where this is the case.
Don’t overlook the possibility that this may be the first of a national rollout of projects. This year’s challenge for the Adelaide team may be next year’s challenge in Melbourne. The Business Readiness Assessment may well document the national standard of how space is used and managed.
Karen Skillings is the principal of Skillings Education and an expert in information management, change management and relocations. An accomplished author, she has several publications to her name and has developed nationally recognised training programs.
This article also appears in the December/January issue of Facility Management magazine.
Image: 123RF’s Maksym Yemelyanov © 123RF.com