An office relocation has a lot of moving parts and a lot of people involved in making it happen. Whether you have 50 employees or 500, you’ll need to ensure you do everything you can to make it smooth and reduce stress.
There are a few easy ways to approach your move to ensure the transition is easier for everyone involved. Read on for our top 7 tips for an office move.
1. Plan Early
When’s the best time to start? As early as you can.
An office move isn’t like moving house. In principle it is: you pack things up, load them in a truck, unload them on the other side, and find a place for it all. Sounds easy, right?
Procrastination can create annoyance in a residential move. When it comes to commercial moving, it can be detrimental. Moving to a new office is a big project and requires a lot of planning and organization not to mention, a lot more people involved.
Start your planning early so you can see the entire project scope. Nominate someone who can track your timelines and budget, and who can keep everything moving smoothly. Starting early not only means you’ll be able to get your company involved early and lower stress. It also means you’ll be more likely to choose the dates and times to move that suit you best, keeping the impact on business operations to a minimum.
2. Review Agreements
Whether you’ve outgrown your current space, are downsizing to a more efficient one, or just need a change of scenery, there are many reasons you may wish to move to a new office. Whatever your reason, it’s important to check your tenancy agreements before you sign a new one.
If you’re planning to move with months or even years remaining on your tenancy agreement, begin discussions and negotiations early. Make sure you know where you stand with your current space before you make commitments to a new one.
Once you sign your new tenancy agreement, make sure you keep good notes on what you are and aren’t allowed in your new space. It’s important to pass clear information to your project manager. Confirm whether you’re allowed to make holes in the walls, if there are restrictions related to plants, and whether your employees are allowed to bring their animals to the office – if that’s a policy of yours.
3. Get Employees Involved
Not just a big project for you, moving is also a big life change for your employees. Depending on how far you’re moving there’s a good chance things will change in their commutes, possibly impacting their timing at home. The impact can be even greater for those with a family who need to get their kids to school, daycare, or activities.
We’ll let you in on a not-so-well-kept secret: you can’t make everyone happy. There’s nothing we can say in this tip that will get everyone on your side, unfortunately. The good thing is, you can at least help them get involved.
You could send out a survey gathering input. Ask your employees about what effect the move will have on their commutes. Take input on amenities they’d like to see, including meal discounts or gym memberships in your new neighborhood so you can check the cost.
If this sounds like it may open a big can of worms, do your best to at least give employees ample heads up. Once you’ve chosen the new space, make sure you let them know when and how things will happen. Be clear about what you want or need from them, and what they can expect along the way. Make sure you order new business cards and stationary early to ensure your employees have what they need with all of the current details when they need them.
4. Consult Blueprints
Even if you anticipate a bit of a plug-and-play move, it’s best to consult layouts and blueprints of the new space before you move. Chances are you may need to plan around electrical outlets, doorways, storage space, and even air ducts. Check your blueprints early and get teams involved in any reconstruction or renovation so you have ample time to finish those projects before the move begins.
5. Enlist the IT Team
No matter the type of business you’re running, we’re guessing you have computers, servers, printers, telephone lines, and other electronics in your office. Don’t wait until the last minute to chat with IT – get them involved early as well.
Let your IT team evaluate your new space to ensure everything is set up as your business needs. They’ll be able to tell you whether you require any upgrades or additional wiring in order to keep things running.
There are also laws about transporting sensitive employee information. Your IT department can ensure your servers and private information is transported securely so you meet legal requirements.
This is such an important tip that we could never leave it out: downsize!
Give yourself ample time to declutter before moving day comes. This may involve a bit of coordination from your project manager, ensuring individual departments take some responsibility for this purge.
If you’ve been in your current office space for some time now, you’ve undoubtedly collected a lot of unused things that you don’t even notice sitting around. Old printers, monitors, boxes of papers, and promotional materials often collect and take up space, or serve as makeshift furniture (have any potted plants propped up on outdated printers, maybe?).
Make sure sensitive documents are shredded, electronics are properly disposed of, and check if you can donate working but unused equipment to an organization near you. Many will also collect the items from you, saving you the time and hassle of transporting them.
Ultimately, just remember: don’t move anything that you don’t want, need, or won’t use on the other side. Not only is it costly but time consuming and frustrating.
7. Update Customers and Partners
A move is a great time to get in touch with customers. If you have a mailing list, send an email announcement out to your contacts to let you know you’re making the shift. Update your website, invoices, letterheads, email signatures, business cards, and other items that display your address. Post updates on social media, as well.