This week’s news story about office furniture raises an interesting question: How much information should workers have about a workplace renovation or a move to a new office? Here’s the scenario. In New York, many state employees are being shuffled around right now. The state is taking steps to reduce costs by making use of office space they own and moving out of leased buildings. This requires a significant amount of consolidation into an agency-owned building in the Empire State Plaza.
The impending move is intriguing employees. That’s partly because they won’t be taking their existing office furniture with them. So, they won’t be just experiencing a new layout and wall décor. They’re going to be using a whole different suite of workstations with different chairs and other equipment. Since the relocation destination is only a short walk from the current office, employees have been taking time on their lunch breaks to head on over and scope things out.
Now, a memo has come down from on high banning this practice. Instead of viewing these walk-throughs as an opportunity for professional networking or team building, the top brass is concerned that such sight-seeing expeditions are disruptive to staff from related agencies that are still working in the space. The memo states that any future visits must be “coordinated with the Office of General Services”. Given how slow the wheels of bureaucracy turn, it’s unlikely that such coordination would actually take place before the planned move is completed.
Take Away Points
As an employer, it’s important to keep the feelings of your employees in mind when you’re relocating staff into another space with different office furniture. Depending on the situation, workers might not be involved at all in the planning stages. They may also not have an opportunity to visit the new office prior to moving in. But they still want to know what to expect.
If you can provide a virtual video tour or photos of the new location in your corporate newsletter, this can help ease anxiety over a move. Include descriptions and brand names of some of the furniture they’ll be using so they know what to expect. Test out some of the chairs and workstations yourself and give an honest review compared to the furnishings at the current worksite. Highlight the positives of the move, but also provide some tips for adjustments they may need to make to feel at home in their new surroundings. A little thoughtfulness can go a long way!