Hot dang! You did it. You moved a universe of people and equipment from A to B, or from B to C, or from C to D. And you’d do it again in a heartbeat, right? ;)
Finally, you can all enjoy your company’s new home.
But the chapter isn’t *quite* complete. There’s one more challenge left on the list… helping everyone get off to an amazing start, settle in smoothly, and make the most of all the benefits the office environment has to offer, so you can get on with doing your thing!
First impressions matter, and you only get one shot (no kidding Sherlock).
Coordination? Troubleshooting? Maybe a nice surprise or two? We’ve put together some tried-and-tested ideas to make your company's first day, first week and first month in your new office as awesome as they can be.
First day in your new office
1. Give people a map of the office (and maybe also the building)
You’ll know the new place like the back of your hand by now, but everyone else will feel disorientated for a while. To help them get their bearings, give everyone a map of the layout (hosted online if you’d rather avoid unnecessary printing) and put one up on the wall too. For bonus points, put together a mini pack that lists amenities in and around the area.
2. Put on a welcome breakfast
This doesn’t have to cost the earth. Anything goes, as long as it’s different to “the norm” for your company. Supermarket-bought pastries, fancy fruit and a few bottles of bubbles can go a long way...
3. Organise a speech
While people are munching on pastries, this is a one-time-only opportunity for a founder or CEO to take stock and acknowledge this company milestone. Whatever led up to this office move, whether it’s been a positive story of expansion or a tough period to cut costs: taking stock will align people around their new situation and herald the fresh start.
4. Make sure everyone knows who to turn to with questions or issues
People *will* have questions and issues. To minimise confusion and disruption, have one dedicated point of contact… yes, that will probably be you, since you know the most. Bask in it, ye oracle. You could turn the answers into a shared document that’s available to everyone, so you don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over again.
5. Encourage people to explore the area for lunch
Get people out and about. Of course, not everyone wants to buy their lunch every day, so is it possible to free up some budget for teams to go out and get lunch together (or bring food back to eat in your glorious new kitchen)? Hello, mini moment of delight!
First week in your new office
1. Do mini-tours of the building and facilities
This might seem like a chore, but tours like this are a way to build energy and get people excited (to keep things manageable, we recommend no more than 10 people at a time). You’re required to do a fire safety briefing about fire escapes and so on anyway. Why not think of this as an upgraded version with the wow factor? Posh coffee machine, yoga room, roof terrace, where to find your ASOS parcel if it’s been delivered but not yet magically appeared on your desk…
2. Set the ground rules
OK, “ground rules” doesn’t sound much fun. Call them what you want, but your new office is different to your old office, and that means everyone needs to learn to treat it right. How much space is there per person in the fridge/lockers/cupboards? What’s the deal with refilling the milk in the coffee machine? Getting post delivered? Booking meeting rooms? Bike storage and shower use? These small things add up. If you find yourself writing this stuff like a “policy document”... stop! Get help from a copywriter. Then send it out by email. Try to keep it to 10 or less of the most important points, or else you’ll end up with eyes rolling all over the shop. Best to send this on day two or three, not day one, to boost its chances of getting attention.
3. Organise a low-key social event
Ready to take your after-hours breakout space for a spin? Board games, film night, Friday beers, pizza, whatever floats your team’s boat. It’s tempting to go overboard here... but after a stressful few days, you’ll thank yourself for keeping things simple. (For a fancier affair, see next section.)
4. Start testing out which areas work best for what
Where will your people be most productive when they’re planning vs presenting vs collaborating with other teams vs doing a retro? Which meeting rooms suit which type of meetings? You want your space to work hard for you, so experiment away!
First month in your new office
1. Collaboratively name your meeting rooms and/or breakout areas
Yet another Turing? We *know* you can do better! Why not pick a company-related theme, put out a call for suggestions, then get everyone to vote for their favourites? One of our basement meeting rooms at Kontor HQ is called The Bunker, but it is more quiet space - less war room.
2. Collaboratively apply some finishing touches to brand up your space
Heard of the “IKEA effect”? People tend to value things they’ve put effort into more than things that are handed to them on a plate. You could tap into this by bestowing each individual team with some freedom to make their area their own. Team mascots, maybe? Or what about giving everyone a budget to buy a cactus or similarly sized plant for their desk, with prizes for any greenery still alive after 3 months? Or take a leaf out of Monzo’s book. Every time they move offices (and that is a lot, we've moved them 6 times), their staff roll up their sleeves and get together to assemble the desks. Hello there, teambuilding win… on every level.
3. Have an office warming party
The motherload! Think bigger than the office social in your first week. Much bigger. An office warming party is a chance for you to bring together your broader business network, industry allies, office neighbours, maybe some clients and customers too. Even when done on a shoestring, it’s an awesome opportunity to mark the latest chapter in your company’s journey and reconnect with old friends in person.
4. Get to know your neighbours
Who are you sharing the building with? Who’s to the left or right, who’s above or below? You might prefer to keep yourself to yourself (fair enough) but if you’re the kind of company that thrives on partnerships and personal connections, there could be valuable conversations behind that door. And if you need to borrow a pan to heat the mulled wine at Christmas, you’ll know where to go!
5. Don’t be afraid to reshuffle
Let’s say you’ve spent a month in your new space and you’re not 100% sure the dynamics are working. Are teams that were once happy neighbours now griping about noise levels or treading on each other’s toes? That’s OK, it happens. Humans reach peak unpredictability when they’re set loose in a new environment. And the building materials, furniture, shape of the space, configuration of meeting rooms/entrances/breakout areas... they work in mysterious ways. Try doing a collaborative rejig (third time lucky).
Then breeeeathe. Take a break. You’ve earned it!