Henry Ward Beecher once said, “It is much easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.”
If you’ve ever wondered whether your workforce would band together to win an uphill battle, try relocating your headquarters. Moving a business is an extraordinary task to take on, no matter the size. At Petplan, we’ve experienced fast and furious growth in just a few short years, and relocating our company to larger digs was not without its challenges.
No one really likes change, but it is my belief — and it has been my experience — that change galvanizes people.
Finding Petplan’s new doghouse has not only sweetened our view from the top, but it has re-energized our team, brought colleagues closer and reminded everyone what our brand is all about. When it’s time to box up your company’s belongings and set out for greener pastures, consider these lessons we learned along the way.
Don’t go it alone
The importance of having a plan for everything — and I mean everything — cannot be overstated. But don’t try to untangle the logistics solo; you’re far more likely to cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s if you crowdsource some of the schematics.
Establish a “move team” comprised of members from each department in your company, and rely on them to take a hands-on role in the relocation. There’s a fine line between a team effort and too many cooks in the kitchen, so be sure that you delegate wisely — and don’t be afraid to exercise your power to veto.
Approach the move as if you were launching a new product to your employees; take their temperature, tailor your message and deliver it through as many touchpoints as you can along the way.
During the months leading up to our move, we teased our team with photos of the new space, sneak peeks at some of the campus perks and construction updates to build buzz and help everyone feel informed.
The week before, we gave each employee a “move packet” stuffed with maps of the new office, a list of campus amenities and coupons for local products and services — everything from nearby banks and dry cleaners to emergency veterinary clinics. Communication will help people feel easier about embracing the unknown.
Make your house a home
Infuse as much of your brand personality as you can into the design and décor of your new office. Not only will it make for a more interesting place to come and do business every day, but bringing your company culture to life in your physical space is a great reminder of why you’re all there in the first place. We put furry friends front and center with whimsical touches in our new space.
There’s no mistaking who we are and what we are all about: Pets always come first at Petplan! Every transition takes a period of adjustment — even my dogs, Wellington and Monty, have to circle several times before settling into a new spot on the couch.
But when it comes to moving to a new office, engaging your employees and investing in the right details will go a long way toward helping everyone embrace the change.
Natasha Ashton is the co-CEO and co-founder of Petplan pet insurance and its quarterly glossy pet health magazine, Fetch! — both headquartered in Newtown Square, Pa. She holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. She can be reached at [email protected]. For more information, visit www.gopetplan.com/about-us.