Having a growing business is a brilliant feeling; you’ve excelled in one locality, and now it’s time to expand the workforce by opening up a new office. There are many types of business that achieve this status, from digital agencies to property experts, but many of the same considerations apply to them regardless of how their business offering differs.
I am the HR Director at one such company, and I am responsible for the well-being of the staff in all four of our locations. Being in this position has helped me to gain an understanding of how each of our premises is run, and how we as a company can make sure that the staff in each location are receiving the same benefits and culture. I thought it might be helpful for you if I shared my own insights into running more than one office.
Bring all staff together for events
My first tip would be to get all of your staff together in the same place for company events, whether team building or a Christmas party. It may be a little bit awkward at first when everybody is trying to remember new names and faces, but it can help your staff to work better between locations in the long run. By having met somebody, it turns them into a person, rather than someone at the end of an email inbox. Staff also appreciate the company making these events into fun occasions, so mix and match your employees into new teams for the day and get them to compete against one another for a prize.
Communication is key
Once your staff have all had the pleasure of meeting each other, make sure they’re able to stay in touch. Intranets are ideal when you have people in different locations, as it means they can log in to see a staff profile so they can remember what someone looks like, or what their job function is. Another option here is a good phone directory, or even just a simple instant messenger service where all the company’s employees are included on a single list. It is important to create rules here though as you don’t want people abusing your IT policies, especially during working hours.
Make good use of transportation and logistics
I’ve also found other services useful to keep our employees connected. Sometimes as a company we enjoy perks, such as gifts from our clients. If there are people in multiple locations who have worked with that client, we simply use a same day courier service to let all staff benefit on the same day; it can be a frustration for someone in a different office if they wonder why their cross-country co-workers are getting all of the rewards. Finally, I’d advise signing up to a corporate rail account as it often makes it easier for staff to buy train tickets to go to the other offices rather than having to claim expenses or risk a team member with a credit card buying the wrong tickets; it certainly saves us time!