Prompted by premises that are too small—or just the opposite—is the management team considering a move to new offices in the Canton of Geneva? It is the facility manager’s responsibility to study the geographical and logistical options in conjunction with the various department heads. Once the location has been chosen and the action plan confirmed the facility manager will draw up the detailed planning schedules and orchestrate the move. He/she will have the delicate task of calculating costs and satisfying the majority of requests, starting with those of the security and IT departments.
What should a facility manager think about before a move?
A move must be explained and thought out in advance. It requires answers to a multitude of very concrete questions, in the interest of the teams. Is there enough space for bicycles? How is recycling managed at the new site? Is there a park nearby for a walk during the lunch break? To this end, the facility manager must gather as much information as possible from the management team and the various departments, particularly human resources. Employees must be provided with optimal working conditions and ergonomics in their new offices, with good insulation, powered by renewable energy. A site that aims for sustainability is likely to make employees proud and accept a move more readily.
The layout of the premises will have a direct effect on their sense of well-being, as will the managerial approach: open space, individual offices or desk sharing. Office sharing is a trend that has accelerated with the Covid-19 protection measures. And if it is applied, even though it is a concept that has been familiar for more than ten years, it creates certain layout and planning constraints.
Similarly, the installation of ‘sit stand workstations’ which protect employee health takes some advance planning– and is not without cost. These are all issues and new ways of working that the facility manager must consider.
What are the priorities in security and IT?
Before looking at the operational side of a move, the strategic plan needs consideration. The security and IT departments will assist the company’s management in this task.
While it may form part of the facility manager’s responsibilities in small and medium-sized companies, security is generally outsourced to an external company if the data is particularly sensitive. Its observations and comments will have an impact on the choice of location for a move in the Canton of Geneva, and depend on the neighbourhood. Security will be a factor for consideration in the layout of the premises. Some organisations will refuse to have an underground car park which could threaten the security of the whole building. Many private banks, for example, prefer to use their basements as a data centre.
The company’s IT department will also have a say in the suitability of new premises. For IT, the constraints associated with a new building are not the same as those suffered when moving to an old building. In such a case, it is often necessary to plan for infrastructure costs, possibly revamping the cabling, installing the servers in air-conditioned areas that are self-sustaining in the event of a power outage, etc.
Where to relocate in the Canton of Geneva?
Establishing a presence in the Canton of Geneva is of course to become part of a history built around trade, finance and humanitarian work. It means being able to benefit from infrastructure such as Geneva-Cointrin airport and joining a cluster of 470 international or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). And the canton is home to four times as many multinationals! All these assets make the region an attractive location in Europe.
Hoteliers are well aware of the “3L” rule, “location, location, location”. In the Canton of Geneva, this motto is no less important for all sectors of activity. This enclave, in the far west of both Switzerland and Lake Geneva, is officially divided into three major zones: the left bank, for banks and international trade, the centre which is both agricultural and industrial, and the right bank, oriented towards peace and centering round the United Nations (UN).
The challenge is to find a location that appeals to both general management and the financial director, and that also appeals to the board, or governing bodies. When evaluating the move, the facility manager must consider, in addition to financial constraints, the practical aspects of different means of access: the railway station and a frequent bus service for those choosing “soft mobility ”, motorway and parking spaces nearby for those who come by car.
Often attracted by the preferential tax rate in the Canton of Vaud, multinationals more readily choose the Côte, or even the Morges and Lausanne region. NGOs, on the other hand, have an interest in moving to the Canton of Geneva and the Grand-Saconnex area. Among other advantages, this commune offers them a preferential tax rate, proximity to Geneva International Airport as well as the iconic headquarters of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, for business and networking, as well as shops and restaurants for employees.
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