Renovation vs. Relocation: Managing Employee Expectations


Renovation vs. Relocation: Managing Employee Expectations

For growing businesses, supporting top talent while being flexible on growth can prove challenging. Managing employee expectations during a renovation vs relocation discussion within the office is tricky as well, as there’s a lot of strategizing and communication required to truly understand how your employees will adapt to a new work routine in a new space, or a new area.

Office renovation vs relocation debates are usually steeped in preliminary discussions about expansion and growth – there’s also a strong need to attract and retain top talent, innovate business, and increase your reputation as a competitive entity.

In this post, we’re outlining some major questions and deliberations most businesses need to ask themselves to manage employee expectations when deliberating between plans for an office relocation or renovation.



Employees need to be able to get to and from work in good time, without having to worry about adding an hour to their commute, encountering gridlock traffic, or having to add toll and/or parking costs to their daily routine. If a relocation is in your periphery, ask yourself how travel will be altered for your employees. Alternatively, businesses should also consider if travel is an existing pain-point for staff, and if a relocation can help solve those issues.

  • Does a new office building accommodate the majority of existing staff? Will they have to drastically alter their commute?
  • Does a new location foster better exposure and likelihood of attracting top talent and/or new clients?
  • Does the proximity of your existing space to airports, highways, and essential amenities play an influential role in the decision to relocate?
  • Does it benefit your staff and your business to relocate closer to strategic partners, competition, and trendy modern neighbourhoods?


Current Functionality

Functionality, productivity, and efficiency of your current space is likely one of the biggest concerns for organizations. It’s also a growing concern for dedicated employees – staff need an office space that suits their working style, compliments a progressive company culture, and allows for independence.

A growing attention to sustainability and green initiatives are also important to millennial top talent, so current functionality also must cater to innovative and modern offices that are built to stand the test of time.

  • Do you need to consider adding collaborative/creative spaces, common areas, focus-spaces, and wellness rooms?
  • Is your current location an integral part of your brand?
  • Does your office embody and reflect your brand voice?
  • Can you incorporate new WELL building standards to your existing space? Are they a factor of your moving plans?
  • Will a move support the mission and function of your company?


Down Time

Some staff don’t mind a much-deserved break every now and then, but the other side of the coin – this will typically not be a paid break to move shop, and this can hugely impact employee expectations of a move. Similarly, a massive renovation can prohibit normal working hours for staff, impacting their ability to work well, or at all in a construction zone.

When considering a move, or a renovation, down time is a massive contributing factor to any foreseeable growth as well – companies that are growing need to make changes, but prolonged downtime can affect this growth if time frames are extended due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • How will a relocation impact business and down time for employees? Is your building is a good place to take a week to jump ship and get settled in a new space?
  • Is the timeframe for an office renovation overhaul accommodating to your current workload? Are there ways to segment a renovation to allow employees to stay at work?
  • Will staff sentiment appreciate the down time, or will they perceive a potentially extended renovation break as a way to disrupt progress?
  • Distractions while working in an office with construction going on can be a distraction for staff, and this may impact plans for growth and productivity in the office.


Availability of New Staff

The millennial workforce is here, and they know that they bring crucial skills and mindsets to their industries in new, innovative ways that are massively desirable to employers.

These days, millennial talent expects to be courted by progressive, successful employers, and to attract and retain these talents, the office you provide needs to be modern, trendy, and advanced to offer the amenities top talent requires maintaining an optimal work/life balance.

  • Is your current office space is an area renowned for its emerging and talented workforce?
  • Will relocation put you in a better position to attract new staff and top millennial talent?
  • Does your current office have the amenities that young talent expect in a modern and progressive company?


Employee Sentiment

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, your organization wouldn’t have the ability to produce its goods and services, innovate new ideas, collaborate internally and with other brands/partners, or navigate the nuances of your industry as it evolves.

Connecting with your staff to understand their sentiment on renovating or relocating is critical to maintain a great relationship with your team, and to understand how moving or renovating will impact their routines, travel plans, their work/life balance, and their emotional wellbeing at work.

Both can impact company culture and alter how employees are able to interact with one another – so engaging in deep communication with your employees can help expose valuable insights into how your business should proceed with its plans. Further, involving staff helps them to feel as though their opinions are valued and cherished by the company – and that sentiment helps build company culture and understanding during a process that can be stressful.

  • Where, and how do your employees work best? How will an office move impact their personal lives?
  • How will a change of environment affect company culture?


Formulating a Game Plan

Relocating vs renovating isn’t a task you simply jump into – it’s going to take due diligence and an invested strategy to truly weigh out both options.

  • Begin with your employee communication cycle. Consult them to gauge the public opinion on renovating vs relocating.
  • Gauge travel and location-based points to decide if either option can be measurably beneficial.
  • Consider hiring a professional space planner and/or office space auditor to investigate your current space to see if a relatively painless renovation is in the cards. This could lead to some great insights that can help you either overhaul your present space, or move to the right space, using the information you’ve obtained from an audit.
  • Investigate new buildings. Consider contacting appropriate municipal government offices, or real estate brokerages to investigate geographic implications such as economic breakdowns, demographics, and up-and-coming neighbourhoods to gain a sense of where your office could benefit moving.
  • Involve your staff in your decision-making process to maintain open communication and respect across the board.


Sometimes your current office space just can’t keep up to the growth rate of your organization. This means an overhaul, or a move is in order to appropriately invest in your businesses future. Managing employee expectations is all about making management accessible, open, and engaged in staff conversations.

Always remember that the identity of your office itself it dependant on the happiness and respect your staff feel, contributing to a great place to work.

Recent Articles

Commercial Office Leasing Guide


Key Considerations Before Signing A Commercial Lease

Discover the ultimate guide designed exclusively for decision-makers, providing insights and tips before signing commercial office lease.