How to plan a successful office relocation

Relocating a business can be a significant investment, both in monetary and practical terms. Don't underestimate the time and resources an office move can demand. To make sure your relocation goes smoothly, Paul Middlemas, office relocation expert at Crown Relocations, offers these tips to help your move go smoothly.

1. Planning

Once you have decided to relocate, it is crucial to start planning as soon as possible.  It's important to contemplate the implications of the move with regards to the costs involved, the extent of its impact on the day-to-day running of the business and how employees will be affected. If this stage is carried out thoroughly, you will be able to identify any potential cost savings and ensure that the move runs as efficiently as possible.

2. Create a relocation timeline

All moves will cause disruption to a company but, by developing a relocation timeline, you will be able to plan for minimising disruption to the business and keep down time to a minimum.

If possible, plan your move around a quiet time in your business activity and ensure that it won't conflict with promises you've made to your customers as this could jeopardise your relationship.  In your timeline, include any fit out of the new office, furniture installation, building works, IT and telecoms installations and the main relocation itself.

3. Appoint a project co-ordinator

A project co-ordinator can be an existing employee, or someone you hire from out of house. Who ever you decide to appoint to the role, it will be their responsibility to ensure that the project runs on time; they will therefore need to know every aspect of the move.

Crucially, they will be the main point of contact between the company and any contractors, as well as your employees. By having an individual dedicated to the relocation, you can be assured that any delays or potential hiccups will be identified as early as possible, allowing you the opportunity to act accordingly.

4. Keep employees updated

Employees will be the end users of the new premises and, if they are kept informed about what is happening, it will help to make the transition easier for everyone. Larger organisations should consider appointing a 'move champion' from each area or department to regularly meet with the project team. This will provide you with a good opportunity to address the concerns of your staff.

5. Understand responsibilities

To avoid ambiguity or any costly misunderstandings, make sure you fully appreciate the scope of work that the relocation company will provide and therefore who is responsible for each aspect of the move. This will help you to effectively communicate to staff exactly what they need to do, such as packing the bulk filing.

For instance, if employees believe the relocation company is packing something but they have stated it is to be completed by staff, this can cause delays and is likely to incur extra costs as it will be a variation to the initial contract. It is essential that this kind of information is communicated between the project team and the staff.

6. Allow time for packing and cleaning

Remember to allow sufficient time for items to be packed and transferred and for any waste to be cleared. It is important to make sure you have enough time to do the packing between the arrival of your packing crates and the actual move.

If necessary, request an early delivery of some of the boxes in order for people who will be on leave or working off site to pack their items. Without an adequate timeframe, packing will inevitably be rushed which means items are likely to be missed. This will delay the relocation and in some instances cause increases to the cost.

7. Have a good clear out

A move can be a good time to clear out waste and have documents sent for archiving; this should be started as soon as possible and preferably completed before the relocation crew arrive to avoid confusion.

8. Minimise staffing levels

During the move, it is advisable to keep the level of staff on site to a minimum. Only having key people involved will increase the speed of the move. If there are lots of people on site then this will cause a health and safety problem to both your staff and the relocation crew. The team will be moving a large volume of bulky items so it is important that they have as few obstacles as possible.

9. Provide technical support

If you are moving IT and telecoms, have an engineer either on site or on call to provide technical support. In addition to this, if you are moving to a large multi-floor building and intend to use the passenger/goods lift to deliver items, establish what the call out time is for a lift engineer. If necessary, request an on site presence in case of a breakdown as this can cause a lengthy delay to the relocation and increase costs.

10. Consider post-move assistance

Moving an office can provide the perfect opportunity to discard unnecessary furniture and even disused filing systems. To establish your needs, it is worth spending some time thinking about post-move aftercare.

For further information about Crown Relocations' services, please visit www.crownrelo.com

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