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Last edited 23 Feb 2021
Small moves are usually associated with the term 'move, add, change' (also referred to as MAC). MACs take place, for example, when an existing employee changes jobs and needs a new workspace that reflects their new position, or when a new staff member joins a team and requires a workspace that is in close proximity to other members of the same department.
Larger moves (sometimes referred to as project moves) may occur, for example, when an entire department moves to a new location. The location can be on the same site or it can be in a different location entirely. Due to their scope, project moves can be much more complicated to coordinate.
In many organisations, employee moves - especially smaller ones - happen frequently and may be referred to as churn (defined by an attrition rate). Churn occurs more frequently when the employee turnover rate in a business is high or an organisation is experiencing a great deal of change as a result of business decisions - such as an internal restructuring or an external acquisition or relocation.
A formula for calculating monthly and quarterly churn rates can be a helpful method for anticipating an organisation’s space and budgetary requirements. To estimate churn, facilities managers should take the total number of moves during a 12 month period and divide that by the average number of building occupants over the same period.
Churn can be challenging for human resource departments, IT departments and facility management departments, and it is important for these departments to share data to help the organisation anticipate activities associated with staff moves.
Churn can create a degree of disruption in organisations. Not only does it have an impact on budgets, it can also affect employee morale and productivity. For facility managers, understanding churn rates can be one method of controlling the impact they have on the organisation.
Formalising the move process is one strategy facility managers can use in order to anticipate and minimise possible disruptions. The following steps can be considered during the planning stages of a move:
- Require all move requests to be initiated through a formal process. A move request is similar to opening a work order ticket. It starts the process in a formal manner, which allows everyone involved to be aware of the activity and the scope of work.
- Set basic objectives for the move and develop a timeline. Goals and benchmarks can help keep the project on track - or can trigger warnings if unexpected issues arise.
- Create a layout for the space. Departmental proximity is not the only priority when employees are moved. Even if the move is for just one staff member, it is important to ensure all accessibility and health and safety requirements have been met. This is essential for large project moves as well.
- Document each step of the move. Every phase of the move should be recorded - including those activities before, during and after the relocation. For instance, when a new staff member joins the organisation, an alert should be sent to the department in charge of setting up the person’s phone; another one should go to the department tasked with adding the person’s name to the employee directory, and so on. Benchmarks can be set to keep the entire process on track.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Transparency around moves is a key part of preserving employee morale. Regular updates from managers to staff can be helpful and minimise negative gossip when staff members feel they have been excluded or ignored.
 Automating moves
While some organisations rely on manual move management methods, there are automated solutions as well. These can be used to gather and share the data across the organisation and inform other departments that are involved in the process.
Some move management software options cover each step of the process - from move request to timeline development to layout planning and documentation. For organisations that experience a high level of churn, move management software may be beneficial.
An automated system can be a practical tool for organisations that occupy several locations. Many companies have a centralised office where most of the administrative activities take place, but for a facility manager coordinating a move in another location, automated software (particularly cloud-based systems) may be beneficial. Automated systems are also useful when external service providers or vendors are involved.
After the move is complete, facility managers should go analyse the process. This may include conducting employee surveys (anonymous, online surveys may gather the most accurate information) and exchanging feedback with representatives from the departments involved (including human resources, IT departments, external service providers, and so on). Key personnel who initiated the request should also be invited to share their input.
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