site closures and relocation


A site closing down is not a normal or welcomed event in anybody's workplace. The news of a site closure may be balanced with the consolation that staff are not being laid off but having to move elsewhere. Other closures are much more difficult and employees are terminated.   There are however issues that employees face in learning that a workplace is closing a branch or shop front and being relocated. Site closure and relocation can be a real shock to some.

 For others it may not be such a surprise.  Some employee’s may well have read the writing on the wall and that company strategy is moving in the direction of closing offices or recognising digitalization and generational change. For others it might be declining client numbers or falling revenues. Closure may be seen by those individual workers as the inevitable. Announcement of closure might come as unhappy news. Albeit news that eventually had to come.

None the less, for those who saw it as coming-or for those who did not see closure coming, it still presents itself as a grief and a shock. In life, we feel safe with predictability. A work life and home life is generally ordered around making life as predictable as possible. The closure of an office or branch makes life unpredictable for a short period of time.  It’s also about the emotional losses and also the grief around those losses.  

People feel a range of  losses.  They are not always obvious at the time when a closure is announced. But predictable things are lost.  Predictable patterns of going to the same workplace. Predictable contact with workmates and friends at a site. These will change. Workmates can be moved to different geographies. They move away, along with their personalities and stories and histories. That might not always be a bad thing either. It’s also the anticipation and unease that comes from having to make new workmates.

Over all there will be losses. 

Also where there has been regular contact with customers or members, it is only reasonable that relationships are established. There will be a familiarity with some people’s stories.  This can be difficult, because you know those customers who do business as an opportunity for social contact with a friendly face.  Equally there can be anger around the exiting of services from a community of customers in a isolated  geography.

Moving location or exiting a predictable office can mean that your own family's transport arrangements around drop off and pick up are disrupted.  Once again the unpredictable enters into the world that you would prefer to be kept predictable. Especially if it involves your family. The impact is multiplied if the closure and transfer requires movement interstate or overseas. 

There are  a number of things to consider and think on around closure and relocation.  It is a disruptive time and you can feel sad and even angry. 

It's important to accept that a commercial decision has been made. It is beyond your control so focus on those matters that need to be finalized.  Its important for your own mental well being that you need to move into that personal place of acceptance of the closure. 

Accept the feelings that go with closure.  Also be focused on the present need to assist the business and your  Management in shutting and relocating.  Be active in being positive about the move with other colleagues. If necessary, initiate some leadership in keeping morale going and being positive about the move.  Not only have you maintained your employment, but also gained new work possibilities and potential friendships elsewhere.