How to plan a smooth business relocation

While relocating a business might involve several risks and challenges, it might turn out to be the best decision to make. Having a reliable and efficient business relocation plan is one way to ensure that the move is seamless. You need to consider the short and long-term impact the business relocation will have on the organisation and any stakeholders before making a decision.

What does relocation mean?

It refers to moving your business from one location to another. There are several reasons a business can choose to relocate but it’s not a decision you can make overnight. You need to carefully plan and put several factors into consideration before proceeding in any way.

Essential factors to consider during business relocation

Moving your business to a new area is something that requires careful and strategic planning. Some of the essential factors one needs to consider include the following:

  • Cost of the move
  • Impact on stakeholders and employees
  • Timeline of the move
  • IT infrastructure relocation
  • Task delegation
  • Informing the employees and stakeholders involved
Employees in Office

Cost of the move

When planning to relocate a business, it’s essential to have a reasonable and realistic budget. Planning your move poorly can cost you more than you had anticipated. Consulting with different movers will help you get a more accurate figure for the office relocation cost estimate when planning your budget.

Timeline for the move

During a move, most businesses aim at ensuring there is minimal disruption in the daily operations. With the aim being having minimal downtime, it’s advisable to settle for a timeline when the business is not at its peak.

Task delegation

It’s advisable to inform the employees so that they can help out with the move. Informing them on time will help them adjust to the idea and even prepare accordingly. This will help minimise the chances of any confusion that may arise. It will also help make it easy to delegate tasks related to the move to various employees and their team leaders.

Impact on stakeholders and employees

A move can adversely affect the business if not handled with due diligence. Therefore, you need to consider the impact it will have on your clientele, employees, and other stakeholders. This will help you determine whether making a move is a viable choice for your business.

Informing everyone involved

From the employees, investors, consumers to government entities among other stakeholders, you need to ensure that everyone is notified about the move on time. Usually, planning for an effective move takes anywhere between three to six months depending on the siZe of the organisation. This period gives you ample time to inform everyone of the move to your new workplace.

IT infrastructure relocation

With most businesses transitioning to the digital way, IT equipment is something that should be handled with utmost care. You need to hire an IT relocating expert that will ensure the safety of your data and equipment during the move to a new location.

You certainly don’t want your sensitive information to end up in the wrong hands. Choosing suitable types of packaging materials is one way your mover can ensure your electronics aren’t damaged during the move.

office space

HR’s role in planning a relocation

HR plays an essential role in relocating a business, especially when it comes to coordinating the different employees. As most employers are aware, the employee retention rate declines after a move. Apart from managing employee relocation, HR must work closely with the other departments to ensure that the move goes smoothly.

Other HR responsibilities during a move include the following:

  • Identifying employees best suited for the relocation
  • Setting and managing policies
  • Selecting and managing external service providers
  • Identifying and mitigating legal issues by working closely with the legal department

Policy Development and Design

Clear written policies ensure that all employees are treated fairly throughout. It will prevent managers from offering different treatment to their preferred employees. The policies also help employees make informed decisions since they outline what’s included. The following are the groups covered by the policies:

  • New hires
  • Experienced staff members
  • Executives

It’s upon HR to adjust policies to allow for the relocation of employees to where they’re needed while ensuring that the cost of relocating employees doesn’t outweigh the business relocation cost.

Components of an effective relocation program

As mentioned earlier, employee retention rate after the relocation is considerably low. After all, their willingness to move doesn’t necessarily reflect their commitment to the organisation. To ensure a seamless corporate relocation, here are some factors a business should consider when creating an effective relocation program.

  • Relocation incentives
  • Site visits
  • Marketing the employees home
  • Reimbursement for moving expenses
  • Payback clause
  • Providing family support
  • Effective communication

Relocation incentives

Offering pay adjustments and bonuses are one way to convince employees to relocate. The state of the job market is what determines the incentives needed to convince an employee to move. Some of the common incentives include relocation bonuses and cost of living pay adjustment.

Marketing the employee’s homes

The employer relocation program should include offering help to either market or organise the purchase of an employee’s home if it doesn’t sell within the required timeline. It could also include helping to get an employee pre-qualified for a mortgage. These incentives can make a difference on whether a staff member will decide to relocate or not.

Reimbursement for moving expenses

In some organisations, the employer can decide to pay lump sums to relocating employees to cater for any expenses incurred during the move. In some instances, they might decide to reimburse expenses like house-hunting costs, or temporary living expenses among others.

Payback clause

Organisations invest a lot when moving staff to a new location. Ultimately, it would be a loss if the employee was to leave the organisation shortly after relocating. If the employee leaves before a specified time, the payback clause allows for them to reimburse the employer for either part or all expenses incurred during the move.

Providing family support

The employer should consider how the move is likely to affect the employee’s family. Regardless of how excited the staff member might be, the employer shouldn’t overlook the fact that moving to a different location can be quite stressful to the employee and the family.

Effective communication

It’s essential to inform the employees of the policies in place. This way, the staff members will know how much they are valued and they’ll also know the services they’re entitled to. There should also be a debriefing after the move so that the employer can assess how the move was.

Project Manager by white board

Special circumstances to consider:

The above-mentioned focuses on permanent relocation. However, the other special instances the HR should consider when formulating policies include the following:

  • Group moves
  • Temporary moves

Group moves

There can be a lot of speculation from employees when it comes to group moves considering it involves the entire organisation moving to a different relocation. This means the employees and their families will have to relocate too. HR should know how to inform the employees and deal with any rumours that may arise. Not to mention how strenuous such a move can be to the organisation since they need to ensure the daily operations continue as usual.

Temporary relocations

Temporary relocations are quite a cost-effective option for most organisations. Since it’s over a short period of time, one doesn’t have to relocate with the entire family. This means the business won’t have to spend a lot reimbursing employees due to the move.

Legal Issues

There are several legal issues that employers have to consider during a move apart from moving employees from one location to the other. These legal issues can be relocation agreements, taxes, and data privacy among others.

Relocation agreements

When moving, it’s essential for the employer to have a contract with the relocation company. It’s also essential to have a written agreement with the employee clearly stating the limitations of the relocation policies.

Personal information

It’s upon HR to ensure that the employee’s information is protected. Therefore, they should work closely with the mover to ensure that when they pack for moving, the personal data and documents of all staff members and the company are safe. The company should also do due diligence when selecting a mover.

Tax

Taxes are yet another issue that requires careful consideration to avoid any unnecessary complications. This is especially considering tax consideration varies for both permanent and temporary moves. An expert should review the tax and legal issues to ensure that the policies are within the employer’s legal objectives.

Employee’s willingness to move

As mentioned earlier, an employee’s willingness to relocate doesn’t necessarily reflect on their commitment to the organisation. Also, in instances where an employee thinks they’ll incur a loss for selling their property, or even worse, not finding a buyer, chances of them not wanting to relocate are higher.

As much as organising a business move can be quite hectic, having an effective and reliable business relocation plan is crucial in ensuring everything goes seamlessly. Not forgetting other things like clear communication and choosing the right timeline among other things. Hiring a qualified and experienced mover is also crucial especially if you want to ensure the safety of your belongings being moved to your new work location.