How can an office move affect your team?
Choose the new office location by going from RED to GREEN light
Your company will soon move to new offices. Thinking about the new location and your team, you have some questions and you need help finding some answers:
‐ Will the new location be better or worse for us?
‐ How much time will we spend getting to work, will it take longer?
‐ Who will be affected? Is someone very affected by the move?
Here are the main features of the Team Happiness Calculator:
- Calculate the daily commute duration for each member of the team
- Compare the new and old commutes for everyone in the team
- Calculate the percentages of people HAPPY with the new office
- Minimum 50% of people HAPPY with the new office means a GREEN flag
- Preferences for usual working hours and transport mode
Moving an office affects the team in small and big ways
A couple of months went by. In charge of the team, you learn that the spirit is low, partly because people spend more time in the morning traffic, so they begin the day tired.
Some colleagues start to show up later at work
They do this to avoid the rush hours. They go home later too in the evening, having dinner later than before. It gets worse. Some need to find a solution for their young children in the afternoon.
You can avoid problems
You are responsible for a team and you are worried about the time your colleagues will spend in traffic. You can do something to avoid a bad office choice. It is your role to minimize the impact the move will have on the team.
Avoid the worse in an office move
Office move is often needed to accommodate your company’s growth, move to a nicer neighborhood or adapt to an important business change. Winning a big customer or closing a product line and adapting your team to these changes are often the reasons for such a change.
How to keep a balance between the costs for the different office choices and the impact each location can have on your team? In the move cost you also need to include the cost of losing some important team members, a cost in time, effort and loss of productivity.
A couple of colleagues are very affected by the new situation, because of much longer commutes or because they don’t like their new working hours.
You need to avoid this scenario, minimize the impact and protect the team. That means keeping the spirits as high as possible and the team as productive as before the move. Knowing who is the most affected means you can take action by allowing different working hours or even remote work. This would help you keep the team together through the change and avoiding hiring, onboarding and integrating new members.
“Everyone in the team knows that Tuesdays and Thursdays we have the worse morning traffic”
Going to the new office quickly becomes a routine: you know how much time it takes in the morning and how to avoid the worse traffic. You know where to park and where to have lunch. In the evening, you know you need to check the traffic before leaving, sometimes to leave sooner or later depending on the estimated trip duration.
What about the new office you have selected? You don’t know much about the new address, so you check on the map where the new offices are, their surroundings, the lunch spots. You try to picture your own morning and evening commute. Then you try to picture your team in the new offices. All the changes, including a different way to go to the office for everyone.
Who will be the most affected in your team?
Who will you loose in the process?
What can you do to influence the choice and avoid the worse?
The best moment to avoid troubles is BEFORE choosing a new office
Wouldn’t it be great, before moving to a new office, to have a list with your team member addresses, with the old and new offices, and with flags showing how the team will be affected by the move?
The second best moment is just AFTER selecting a new office
How many of your colleagues are happy with the distance between the office and their home, today? How many are affected by the daily commute duration because of the traffic or the working hours?
Once the team is installed in the new offices you can check again the analysis once or twice a year to learn about new commute problems, check the persistent ones and find worsening situations.
Compare the future team commute to the current situation
You speak with your assistant or human resources department and ask them to find a way to do this comparison. To make a report for you, one with the average commute time for each person. Then add up the numbers to the team’s level to compare it to the current situation. And finally validate or invalidate a possible office choice.
You need to do this comparison 2 or 3 times each time you want to move because of office price or company situation.
You hear back that to do this report is more complicated than you thought, as not everyone is coming in the office at 9 and leaving at 6 in the afternoon. To really make the comparison, one needs to take into account the usual arrival and departure times. Some people are driving, some are using the public transports. But all suffer from the rush hours traffic.
Use a RED → YELLOW → GREEN lights system to validate your new office choice
A high percentage of people from your team who will probably be unhappy with the new office is a RED light. The percentage of those who will be mostly happy with the new location gives you a global satisfaction score. A score better than 50% is a GREEN light.
How much is enough is your choice. You know better who are the VIPs in your team. While you should aim high, you’ll probably never be able to keep 100% people happy after the move.
Comparing the team’s daily commute to the current office with the future commute to a new office gives you good and objective arguments for making changes, compensating the effects or fixing the situation.
In case you’re wondering how this works, please read along.
How do you know the calculated commutes are correct?
The calculator uses forecast traffic data to get the most probable commute duration between two points. Mondays are commonly the worst day of the week with regards to traffic. For this reason, the calculator uses the traffic forecasts for the next Monday to estimate duration for each employee.
If the usual working hours are known for the team, they are taken into account to calculate the daily commute duration. The evening departure time is given or calculated 9 hours after the usual arrival time (including an hour for the lunch break).
How much time it takes to do the calculation for a small team of 10 people?
To do the calculation manually, you need to take into account their home address and do the calculations yourself for each colleague, manually, slowly getting the numbers per person and then for the team, using publicly available applications.
After you spend quite some time to do the calculation for each person and note down the results, you need to improve them bit by bit, taking into account usual working hours and traffic forecasts.
To do these calculations for the current office, then for the new one, and to compare the two situations, you need one or two days of work. For a much bigger company, that could amount to a week of work, or even more.
To simplify this work, what you can do is prepare the address list for your team, add the two office addresses and let the Team Happiness Calculator to do all the work for you.
It may exist an office with 100% people HAPPY with it, but it’s quite rare
You cannot please everyone, but at least you avoid the worse for most of your colleagues.
HAPPY 85% + SAD 15% = GREEN flag
That’s much better than this:
HAPPY 45% + SAD 55% = RED flag
And you can decide yourself the level of satisfaction after which the research stops being reasonable. You can also take into account the importance of each member for the team’s success and use this criterion to find the right level.
How accurate are the calculation’s results?
The Team Happiness Calculator uses traffic forecasts for a specific week, the one following the time of the calculation. The results can vary, depending on seasons, bank or school holidays or other local events. Teams working in or around big cities and huge agglomerations are obviously more affected by traffic.
As such, the results are as accurate as possible at the moment of the calculation, taking into account the know events at that moment in time by the mapping and traffic services.
All these efforts to adapt the whole organization to the employees?
In the world and age of creative work the respect of the balance between the professional and private lives of your team members is crucial to ensure optimal conditions for collaboration and creative work.
Working hours, imposed working times, synchronous work – these are all principles and indicators much less important than the team’s results.
The optimization of working hours implicitly gives maximum priority and importance to the actual time each employee spends at work. Or, if this time is optimized at the expense of the private life, the results, efficacy and creativity of the team are the affected.
The goal is the optimization of the results, not checking the time sheets
The focus is no longer on the actual presence in the office. The focus is no longer on the time people are sitting at the desk, in front of a keyboard. The focus is no longer on the fatality of the traffic issues before or after work.
The time has come to ensure the optimal conditions allowing a team to produce the best results by doing a creative and collaborative work.
To do that, everyone needs to be rested and get a good night’s sleep. Everyone needs to have their 3-4 daily meals, with family or friends, or with colleagues. Everyone needs to have some time alone, to read, watch a movie, listen to music, play, run or just slow down and get some head space and a clear mind.
Consider the time people spend on traffic twice a day, five days a week
Because 15 minutes more spent in daily traffic mean 30 minutes less of doing something else. That means 2.5 hours less each week for … cooking, running, or having dinner with family or friends … reading or relaxing before going to bed instead of crashing down tired … sleeping and recharging for the next day.
That lost time means less productive, less rested and less happy colleagues. Long-term that might produce health and family issues, burn-out or even worse. Or it may push some colleagues to leave the company, people your team needs in order to be successful.
Calculate the effect of an office move on my team’s commute
Considering each team member’s situation for the current and new offices means evaluating the work-life balance for the whole team and understanding the situation of each person in this context.
More than a commute length calculator, we’re proposing a comparison between the commute duration for two office locations using the Team Happiness Calculator.
So that your business story continues this way:
Your company has recently moved to new offices. You made sure the office location is OK or better for the team.
Your colleagues spend about the same time to get to work as before the move.
You didn’t had anyone very affected by the office move. For the few that were affected and couldn’t adapt their working hours, you offered home office choice at least one or two days a week.
The change has had a very limited impact on your team.
Interested? Please contact us for more information