Office relocation can be one of those marmite topics - exciting to some members of the workforce and enough to send others into a tailspin, retreating into corners to furtively contact recruitment professionals and check job sites on their smart phones.
Once the idea is out there and the whispers have begun, it becomes hot gossip: "Will we move, when will we move and where will we move to..?" There are the inevitable Chinese whispers, fiction turns to hardened fact and, more often than not, it can all get a bit messy unless it's carefully reined in.
If you're an employer, the stories and half-truths that circulate when an office move is imminent are never good news. Staff gossip can be disruptive and misleading and, at worst, damaging to the fundamental status quo.
There is a strong argument for total transparency in these situations. If the move is brainstormed up front and staff are included in a series of talks, which are open and as frank as possible, they are less likely to feel aggrieved when decisions are reached further down the line. A feeling of unity promotes that spirit of 'we're all in it together' and can bring to the fore any issues before they take root and develop into real problems.
We often get asked about key points that are fundamental to a smooth office move and talking to the staff usually comes top of the list. Ultimately, the best way to manage any message is to take charge of it and good communications are always integral to the success of any move.
Keeping staff in the loop as much as possible and getting their feedback in the very early stages makes them feel a part of the process and, perhaps even more importantly, allows them to identify themselves as valued team players whose opinions count.
Remember, if the conversation is out in the open, there is no need to talk in corners. Everyone is privy to the same conversation, including you, and any room for misunderstanding will soon dissipate - just keep talking.