Whether you’re downsizing, upscaling or just looking for a more suitable environment for your business operations, relocating to a new office space requires a great deal of planning and logistical consideration to ensure a smooth transition from old to new premises.
In today’s article, we’re focusing on planning and executing a seamless office move. From effective floor planning advice to straightforward time saving tips, we’ve put together an essential checklist for a smooth office move - to ensure moving day runs like clockwork and you minimise business down-time and disruption during the upheaval.
Outline a moving budget
Moving can be an expensive process, especially for businesses. For this reason, it’s imperative to outline your budget from the start - and make sure you stick to it. Start by taking into account the cost of hiring movers, cleaners, new equipment and furniture, as well as the impact of any non-operational periods when the move is underway. This will give you a clear picture of what you expect the move to cost and you can plan accordingly.
Create a moving timeline
Just like moving house, the process of packing up an entire business and setting up in a new building takes time and effort. So, the first thing to do when you’re planning your move is to get organised and put together a realistic timeline for packing up equipment, furniture and paperwork well in advance.
It goes without saying that the larger your office, the more time you will need to plan and pack for the move, so forward planning is vital for getting everything ready and ensuring the whole process runs smoothly and efficiently on the day.
To reduce the amount of disruption to your business, it’s often a good idea to arrange for packing and removals to happen out of office hours where possible - meaning, for the large majority of the move, it’s ‘business as usual’.
Inform staff of the move
Moving can be an unsettling time for staff, affecting morale, productivity and their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, so once you have a moving date in place, communicate this to all team members at the earliest opportunity.
Outline the packing and moving schedule and what you expect of them during this process - ensuring everyone knows their key responsibilities as well as how and when the changes will take place. This way, you can be sure that everyone knows what to expect and when, and is able to manage their workload accordingly.
Notify IT and telecoms providers
With modern businesses being so reliant on technology, we’d highly recommend that you notify IT and telecoms providers at least 1 month prior to moving. This will ensure servers, phone lines and key equipment are up and running in your new office as quickly as possible to minimise non-working time.
Plan the layout before you arrive
The downside to moving offices is that there will inevitably be a period of non-operations while the relocation is underway, however, you can minimise this by pre-planning an effective office layout - even if it’s just temporary.
Review your current office setup and your new office space, measuring areas, as well as furniture and equipment to make sure everything will fit in. Also, don’t forget to account for power sockets and walkways that are key to the daily functions of your business.
In addition, take the time to consider the most important elements of your business, such as IT infrastructure that needs to be in place first to facilitate the rest of the business. This information will help you to organise packing up more effectively and ensure items are loaded and unpacked in the right order and in the right place - making it quicker and easier to get everything set up.
Shop around for movers and cleaners
Hiring help for your move can seem like an unjustifiable expense for a small business, but it could be money well spent when you consider time, efficiency and ease. Of course, you can enrol help from employees if budgets are tight, but this might require some negotiating!
If you do opt for hiring movers and cleaners it’s advisable to start looking at least 2-3 months in advance - allowing plenty of time to shop around to find a reputable company, (not just the cheapest) and a better choice of availability. Ask for recommendations from vendors or clients and always get a few quotes to make sure you get the best deal for your budget.
Start packing early
Packing is one of the most time-consuming elements of moving, but the earlier you start, the easier it will be on the actual moving day. Where possible, involve staff with packing to lighten the load and start with non-essential or infrequently used items first.
To keep on track and organised with your packing schedule, keep an itinerary and ensure you have sufficient containers ready to be filled, such as strong cardboard packaging. These can be safely stacked and stored away until the big move and labelled for easy identification.
Let everyone know you’re moving
From utility providers and insurance companies to vendors and customers, make sure you tell everyone your new address. For customers and vendors, be sure to phone or email them to notify them of the move 1-2 weeks ahead of the big day.
Arrange a postal forward for at least 3 months after your move date and if possible leave a ‘We’ve Moved’ sign, with the new address at your old building just in case. Also don’t forget to update your website, business cards, stationery and advertisements that may feature your old address.
Relocating your business is always going to be a challenging time, but we hope with these tips on how to get organised and effectively plan your move, the process will run as smoothly and efficiently as possible for everyone.