How to keep everyone informed during your relocation
21/07/2020 / Project management / posted by Tim Aspey
A laboratory relocation is a major event and clear communication with stakeholders and staff is vital at all stages of the moving process.
A lack of information about the move can lead to mistakes, problems and delays. It can also cause confusion if all stakeholders aren’t aware of the precise key dates of your relocation and the impact it will have on any ongoing or future projects.
Everyone involved needs to have a good understanding about exactly what will happen and when, what preparations need to be made before the move and an action plan for the period immediately after the relocation.
- Form a key team
Put together a team of key staff who can communicate with all relevant parties during the relocation process. Make sure each member of the team is aware of the four Ps – Purpose, Picture, Plan and Part to Play. This means they need to understand why the relocation is happening, its importance and the impact it will have. They should also be encouraged to picture the end result and consider how the set-up will be in the new location, what improvements there will be and how everything will work once it is up and running. The team needs to plan how they are going to communicate the change involved to everyone who will be affected. And each member of the team should have a good understanding of their individual part to play in delivering the communications strategy.
- Put together a communications plan
Once your communications team is in place, it is time to work on a comprehensive plan for how you will keep all your staff and stakeholders informed. Think about the most effective way of communicating with each group. While informal face-to-face meetings may work well to keep immediate team members up to date with developments, regular emails may work better for stakeholders and staff in different departments. Think about how you will communicate with interested parties before, during and after the relocation. What are the vital pieces of information and who needs to know them? Coming up with a specific communications strategy will help you avoid any miscommunication and unnecessary upheaval.
- Think about announcements
When letting people know about plans for a relocation, notify key employees and influential stakeholders of your plans first before making a wider announcement. Telling a smaller group of people about the plans first will allow them to share any concerns they have and allow you to troubleshoot any potential problems. This allows you to make sure you have the answers to some of the questions staff and stakeholders may have. Any public announcements should come after all stakeholders are informed.
- Create a timeline
As soon as you start planning a relocation, it is a good idea to create a timeline so people know what to expect and when. Be aware that this timeline will need to be regularly reviewed so it is as accurate as possible and takes and changes or new developments into account. Be realistic in your estimated timings and make it clear when there are deadlines which must be met and when timescales are a bit more flexible. Include individual timelines for any equipment which must be decommissioned and recommissioned.
- Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities
It is essential that everyone involved in the relocation knows their own responsibilities. Which team members need to be on-site during the moving process? Do they need to do anything to prepare their own equipment, data or workstation? What is their involvement in the new location? Set clear expectations for each person so they know what their individual role is.
- Avoid information overload
Although good communication is vital, giving too much detail can be counterproductive. Think about who needs to know what information. Tailor your messages to the audience rather than attempting to tell everyone about all aspects of the relocation. This is particularly important when communicating with customers and suppliers. Concentrate on which aspects of the move will have an impact on them. Will there be a disruption in the services you provide? Will the relocation result in changes they need to know about?
- Remember aftercare
Make sure the communication doesn’t stop once you are in your new location. There are likely to be some teething problems in the first few weeks and months so ensure it is easy for people to highlight any issues they encounter so you can address them quickly. Review how well the relocation went and whether there were any aspects which could have been handled more effectively.
Find out how Aport can help manage every stage of your laboratory relocation by calling our team today on +44 (0)1257 676006.