Why moving office can lead to more than a change of address

Why moving office can lead to more than a change of address

The cranes are coming down, signage is going up, and Jersey is on the move. Some of Jersey’s largest financial companies, and professional services organisations are in the process of rationalising, and relocating. Their destination: The Esplanade and the International Finance Centre.

Set on the western side of St Helier, this zone of vast, gleaming buildings is quickly becoming Jersey’s new CBD (Central Business District). Over the past 12-months we have been helping a growing number of BDO Greenlight clients move to this area.

Whether you’re in the process of a move, or are wondering if relocating is the right option for your firm, here are a few points to consider.

Drivers for relocation

 Many companies in Jersey that are based in older offices tend to have staff spread over different floors, or even across different buildings. As companies streamline their services, perhaps following an M&A, they need to reappraise how staff work together and which functions and departments need regrouping.

Bringing staff together in one place helps make working practices more efficient, and can lead to cost savings for companies involved, e.g. the need for one reception desk, boardroom, cafeteria, rather than two or three.

Moving to a sleek new office can also be an important part of brand identity – if a company wants to position itself as a forward-thinking market leader, then a new office in a prime location fits the image better. A prominent location also serves as an advert for the firm as more people will see it than if it’s hidden away in a nondescript building on a back street.

Key considerations

 When making a move companies need to think very carefully about the long lead times involved. While new office blocks seem to pop up out of nowhere, it may be years before you can negotiate a convenient end to your current lease.

A new office should allow a company to embrace changes in working practice – offering staff a better working environment now, and for years to come. This includes things like sit-stand desks, and ample power points and wifi access for people to easily connect when hot desking. As more people cycle to work, and incorporate exercise into the working day, good cycle storage and showering facilities become the norm.

Changing the way you use space will also affect the way you work, for example a new office may have more floor space for desks but less for storage, leading to the need to store paper documents off site (in less expensive space) and use e-documents which can be accessed by users in the office and on the move.

Finance companies will already have clear desk policies, but a new office can be a good opportunity for to re-align working practices making it easier for staff to be compliant with regulations.

Ensuring a smooth relocation

Consulting employees about how they work, and how they want an office to work for them is an important part of the relocation process. People need to be at the heart of any change process for it to work, and you need to get staff on board with the move from a fairly early stage to maximise your chances for a smooth transition.

The world can change significantly in the period from agreeing a move to completing it, as we’ve seen recently with Brexit. Although most firms factor in contingency funds for unexpected events, and perhaps hedge against currency fluctuations, sometimes the scale of the event is beyond what anyone would expect. This puts pressure on budgets and may lead to a company having to rethink its position.

Regardless of what happens, you need to remain flexible, and capable of adapting your plans to fit with the world as it is, not how you thought it was when you began planning your move.

Relocation is a huge opportunity for change – not just of location but of working practices, and corporate identity, the people you work with, and the services you offer.