Consolidating multiple branch locations into one or two main offices often makes sense for companies that have experienced changes in their geographic reach, are struggling to improve efficiency or have observed widespread underutilization of space. In the post-pandemic era, there are even more reasons why you might wish to reduce the number of offices that you have. If you're one of the many companies that have decided to opt for a hybrid model with employees permanently working from home part of the time, eliminating some of your offices can reduce costs. To ensure a successful consolidation, follow these tips:
1. Conduct a Thorough Audit
Begin by conducting a complete lease portfolio review. Determine which offices now have the most unused space, and consider which ones may be capable of absorbing more employees. Be sure to factor in the geographic locations of the offices as well. If you have many offices in one region and just one located outside that area, shuttering the more remote location will mean less disruption for the majority of your team.
2. Dig Deep Into Your Leases
After your audit, you may find that you wish to keep one or two offices and close the rest or that the best strategy is to close all of your offices and open one large new location. Once you have made your decision, carefully read the leases for all of the offices that you will no longer need to find out what types of exits are available to you. Whenever possible, buy out your lease or exercise your right to the early termination clause. Taking these steps will cause your company to incur fees, but they are usually less than the expenses associated with retaining an unused office. If your leases do not afford you the right to do either, see if you can sublet or assign to a new tenant.
3. Integrate Cultures, Not Just People
Even though all of your employees work for the same company, each of your locations likely has its own culture. Dress codes and procedures for breaks may differ. The overall mood of the environment may vary, and some locations may have special perks or amenities that others do not. Do a thorough analysis of the cultures of each location and develop a strategy that will allow the best aspects of each to be consolidated along with the teams.
Distribute copies of your single unified policy to all employees and keep the lines of communication open for employee questions and feedback. Taking these steps can reduce the risk of drops in morale and increases in employee turnover.
4. Don't Underestimate Potential IT Challenges
Combining the networks for multiple locations can sometimes pose challenges. The last thing that you want is to find your team unable to work on the first day of the move due to technical problems. Including your IT team in discussions about consolidations from the start can lower the likelihood of issues arising.
5. Address Security Concerns
Employees may feel hesitant about working in open office settings with people that at first will feel like strangers. One of the biggest worries is likely to be the safety of personal items. Providing individual lockers or desks with locking drawers is a simple way to ease these initial fears.
Here are a few other articles you might enjoy: