Helping your Staff Move from Suburbs to Downtown

Are you think about making the move? Moving your company from the suburbs into the big city? From a CEO/Owner perspective it’s more attractive to Millennials, puts you in the throes of larger and more prominent companies, and put you closer to current clients. So, you want to move, you’re ready to attract better, younger, smarter talent and move to where they are and want to be, but what about long time employees, that aren’t millennials? What does this transition mean for them?

As recently as a decade ago, “the sheer amount of space available in the suburbs might have been a positive attribute,” says Bethany Schneider, an analyst with the commercial real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF). “Now, more companies aren’t looking for room to grow. If anything, they’re looking to be more efficient.”

One large concern looms large, “If you’re trying to attract a different type of worker, you might lose some of your more mature employees,” says Matt Stevenson, a partner and leader of the Workforce Analytics and Strategy Group at the Mercer consultancy.

Here are 5 helpful tips to consider when making the move from the suburbs to downtown.

1. Transparency

Share the vision, why this is good for the greater company, and how they are a part of this. Stay open and honest throughout the process. Additionally, encourage open communication as a team. Especially in the face of potential changes for staff make sure they have plenty of time to process them and that you figure in opportunities for staff to voice concerns.

2. Be Honest & Open About Parking

A move to the city often means having the parking discussion. While in the suburbs parking is typically a non-issue, with a move to downtown in some cases parking could totally break you. Again, be honest. Utilize resources from the commercial real estate firm that is brokering your move. Often, they have specific packets relating to parking including what’s near-by, how much it costs a month, and other transit options.

3. Offer Flexibility

Be open to flexibility in your culture. A move is a big change for employees and if offering flex days or the ability to work remotely at times will help ease that transition, don’t be afraid to offer it up. Your workforce is changing, and this kind of perk can make a huge difference to employee’s attitudes and general satisfaction.

4. Give a Sense of Progress

Moves don’t often happen overnight. As plan formulate, keep your staff in the loop. Take them to see the space before renovation, involve them in layout preparations if appropriate. Let them be a part of the transition, giving them some ownership, and it will lessen tensions that might otherwise crop up.

5. Listen to and Address Concerns

Be open-minded. Ask your staff what they are worried, excited, or nervous about, and don’t expect yourself to have all the answers. Give the time to voice concerns in an on-going capacity and follow up. Even if you can’t change something, do your best to communicate why and maybe find an alternative that is mutually beneficial.

The top down, I’m the boss and what I say goes model, is no longer effective. Come to think of it, was it ever? Embrace your employees and help them feel a part of the fold. Ultimately, they are their because they are excited about the work you do and want to do well and be a part of your culture. If well thought out, and employees are properly engaged, moving can be an incredible opportunity to reignite positive company culture and get everyone on the same page moving forward towards exciting new growth.

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