Business trends and locations have likely never changed this quickly before. With the COVID-19 pandemic came a rethinking of all kinds of business processes. For many companies, this meant relocating.
Now, you may even be thinking about permanently relocating your business to an entirely virtual space or a cheaper building in a new location. Regardless of where you move your business, you need a plan in place for transitioning your workforce without losing productivity.
Below, we explore tips and strategies for relocating without losing the pace of business.
1. Conduct Complete Research
Before you even consider a move to a new building or out of a centralized location altogether, you need to put the work in.
From the logistics of employees permanently working from home to utility costs in a new area, exploring your situation through research is one of the most important steps to successfully moving a business.
Investigate all the relevant research questions surrounding the transference of your company. For instance, you’ll need to know what the local economy is like if the population has an interest in your products and services, and what commercial rent is averaging. Then, you can build the tools you need to better understand the details of your move. At that point, surprises that derail worker productivity can be more easily avoided.
2. Set a Budget
Determining a precise budget for your relocation process is essential in smoothing problems that can crop up during a move. From the costs of transferring servers and systems to the cloud to the price of movers, transitions mean plenty of expenses and moving parts to track. With a comprehensive budget laid out long before the move, employees can remain focused on their immediate agenda throughout the transition.
In managing the risks and liabilities of uncertain times, your budget should include funds allocated for emergencies, shutdowns, employee unavailability, and several other factors that might come up in the course of the move. 2020 proved that businesses with a rainy day resource were better able to handle unforeseen public crises.
Plan for any emergency with funds set aside for any problems that might occur during a business move, such as lost or damaged equipment.
3. Consider Data Transfer
Transferring over your virtual data and computer processes to a new location can be problematic — especially if you operate your own internal server network. The risks to your equipment in the move are great, and the difficulties of getting your system set up and restored once more can be an expensive endeavor.
In light of these problems, you will want to consider the costs and logistics of transferring to a cloud data service. There are virtually unlimited options out there for maintaining cloud data with maximum security and efficiency. As a result, your employees won’t have to spend their time managing your systems and will be able to access their work from anywhere, after providing the proper authorization, of course.
With a cloud data service, you can reduce the downtime of your systems to the absolute minimum. Then, even if your employees are traveling, they can use simple tricks to get Wi-Fi anywhere to access their work information. Mobile hotspots, portable routers, and hotspot databases all make cloud services more reliable and useful than ever before in maintaining productivity over great distances.
4. Brush Up On Local Tax and Business Regulations
One component of your move prep that many businesses don’t consider enough is how much the area you move into can change the opportunities and incentives offered to your company. For example, businesses considering a California move can look forward to the tax breaks of the “enterprise zone” if they are involved in manufacturing.
Tax breaks like these are designed to keep businesses in an area and flourishing. They often make it easier to move into an area and continue conducting business as needed. For workplaces looking to transition, find a region in which tax benefits and other government incentives will help you save money, stay open, and build a name for your company in the new area.
Even if you only plan to transition to a permanently remote-working business model, you may be eligible for tax incentives. Contact a finance professional before finalizing the move to see where you can save according to local regulations.
5. Network With Local Vendors and Colleagues
If you find yourself in a new location without the resources that made business possible, you’ll find the productivity of your workplace to be highly impacted. That’s why you must begin developing necessary relationships before you even solidify the location of your moving business.
Seek out the vendors, suppliers, delivery companies, and any other supplementary help you need while still in the planning stages of a transition. For a remote-only shift, make sure that your employees will still have access to any supplies they require without interrupting their workflow.
The success of your move may only be as successful as the network you have in place from day one. Bridge any gaps that could impact productivity through networking long before moving.
6. Double-Down on Employee Communication
The productivity of your workplace throughout a transition is also highly dependent on how well you can cultivate communication across your company. Employee productivity in the office requires a safe and supportive environment, complete with access to helpful tools. In the middle of a location change, this means platforms for online check-ins and team meetings.
A host of such platforms are out there, ready to be applied as a new staple of employee communication. From Asana to Zoom, software that keeps communication following can be applied long before a location change. This will give workers a hub they can check for any updates or status checks for the projects they are working on.
Explore all the tools and software-as-a-service (SaaS) options out there to supplement communication practices no matter where your employees are working. Then, ensure your employee communication practices prioritize clear, quality communication.
7. Begin Transitions to New Systems Early
Whatever platforms or processes you plan to adapt to enhance employee efficiency throughout a relocation, you should consider applying them well before the transition occurs. By giving your employees time to adjust to new tools and practices, you can address problems without being distracted by the logistics of the move.
Start your transition with a comprehensive plan that drips in helpful tech integration months ahead of your relocation, if possible. For example, if employees are set up with Slack accounts that allow them to check in with one another on project status, they can iron out communication difficulties and even relay feedback on policy effectiveness.
Then, you can adjust your practices to meet employee needs without being in the middle of a huge business disruption. This will allow you to ensure your workers have everything they need without risking additional downtime.
8. Hybridize Your Work Structure
If your business model allows it, hybridizing your workforce can make transitioning smoother and safer. This means adopting a remote work system alongside in-office practices. Employees will be able to continue working by going back and forth between the two as needed. If you are changing locations, such flexibility is highly desirable.
A hybrid work structure means you can redirect your workforce and address the location change in a comprehensive and empathetic fashion that considers worker needs. This approach can keep you from having to lay off certain workers who cannot or do not want to relocate right away. In the meantime, you can streamline employee efficiency during a move by ensuring that location does not impact workflow.
The effectiveness of a hybrid work structure may require effective planning and project timelines, but the flexibility such a structure allows can definitely be worth it. Just be sure any changes to your business model don’t impact the way you manage your customers.
9. Maintain Transparency With Your Customers
Every transition creates communication difficulties.
If your business is customer-facing, you’ll need to address these difficulties with clear communication standards that let the customer know what is going on without giving them cause for concern. For example, if your move to a cloud data system will interrupt their ability to access an account even for a minimal amount of time, give them significant notice upfront.
Customers will appreciate your transparency and workers will have an easier time managing customer relations with informed customers. Make transparency and clear communication flow a priority across all your business transitions.
10. Allow and Encourage Innovative Solutions
Finally, you are sure to miss out on some cost-saving and efficiency-boosting practices through your move without the input of all the creative minds on your team. Your workers need to feel like their voices matter. This is especially true during times of transition.
Allow and encourage employee feedback through consistent team meetings and brainstorming sessions. Listen to what workers have to offer. There may be countless ways you can reduce employee stress and transition-related problems that you might never think of yourself. Let employees provide you with their own ideas for innovations as well as the reasons for their challenges.
Alongside all these other strategies, this is an essential team-building practice that can help ensure productivity isn’t lost during a business’s relocation. Whether you are moving states or simply over to a permanent virtual system, these tools and tips will keep communication flowing and business happening so that you don’t lose valuable time.