When it's time to change business locations, whether they’ve enthusiastically volunteered or have been flatly “voluntold”, employees will play a role in your office move.
Maybe they’ll be responsible for securing their personal items, packing and labelling bins or boxes, and maybe they'll even have a say in what their next office environment will look like.
Nevertheless, when it comes to employee involvement, there’s one area in particular that leaders and managers stay on top of. Otherwise, employees could be on track to make a MASSIVE – but little-known – office moving mistake: improperly moving paper and books.
Why Employees Shouldn't Be Moving Office Supplies
Obviously, boxes or bins full of files and books can be safety hazards, since employees can bump into or trip over them. What’s more, they can (and often do) lift these boxes incorrectly; especially since paper and books can be surprisingly heavy.
Yet less obviously – and here is what you need to be vigilant about – those books and paper can be riddled with dust mites, mold, book lice and dust, which become airborne during transit and therefore represent a serious health risk; especially for employees with asthma or other respiratory problems. And while older items are more vulnerable to these hazards, newer items that have been on a shelf or in a drawer for a few months can contain invisible dangers as well.
Please note, the symptoms of inhaling these toxins are not always immediate. Many employees who feel no ill-effects during the office move later report that they experienced severely itchy and burning eyes during the night, had breathing difficulties, or suffered various forms of skin irritation.
Avoiding this Massive Office Moving Mistake
The best way to completely avoid this massive office moving mistake is to have professionally trained movers take care of packing and transporting books and papers.
However, if this isn’t desirable or possible, then we recommend the following:
- Before having anyone move anything, thoroughly inspect the material for hazards – especially mold contamination, which is very common.
- If there are no hazards/mold, then provide staff with gloves, as well as dust masks.
- Advise staff to wear clothes that are machine washable, and to bring a second set of clothes with them to work, so they can immediately change into them as soon as they’ve finished packing the paper/books.
If all of the above sounds like lot of hard work – and the optics of having staff looking like they’re cleaning up a toxic spill isn’t great either – then, again, go with a professional moving partner and let them take care of everything. Your employees will thank you.
At Precision, we have decades of experience helping businesses – and their employees – make their office moving experience safe, successful and stress-free. To get more useful tips, contact us today. Your consultation is free.