Moving house is stressful. Not wanting to do it again, we might say “this is my forever home.” Planning an office move can be even more arduous. Business relocation is a bigger ordeal as any downtime derails productivity and can negatively impact your bottom line. Organized planning can help make office location moves less stressful. Here’s help.
Before the move itself there are many things you’ll need to get done. First, you’ll want to research office movers, get estimates and select a mover. Then, you can lock in your move data and start getting the plan together.
Pulling together a move committee can be helpful. This group of individuals, typically representing different areas of the business, will be responsible for ensuring every aspect of the move is planned in advance. They’ll also be the ones who determine how employees, partners and suppliers are kept in the loop about the upcoming move.
If you have a project management system, it’s a good idea to put the move checklist in there just as you would any other business project. This can help you keep track of tasks and timelines throughout the process.
Business moves are challenging because there are so many pieces to consider before the move date. You’ll need to:
- Conduct an employee census and occupancy review
- Review current office layout to create a detailed existing furniture inventory including the condition of furniture
- Determine appropriate file, print and common area needs in new space
- Identify and prioritize opportunities to improve your office floor plan in the new space
- Verify dimensions and plan a layout in the new space
- Make a plan for handling surplus assets (liquidators, charities, disposal, recycling, redeployment)
- Examine the communication and network system in the new office
- Contact service and utility providers to update service or setup a new plan if needed
And that’s just to get a general sense of where things will go in the new space and ensure your business communications are back up and running as quickly as possible.
Securing Files, Records in Office Moves
Judy Baker, Safety & Records Logistics Manager at Patterson Pope’s FileSolve, has 15 years of experience helping clients with full service office and business moves. The first step is to determine your goals for the move. Looking at what type of filing and storage system you’re using now, she says, consider what you want to gain from the moving process. Are you looking for more growth or trying to maximize employee efficiency throughout the day? Plan accordingly.
Keep in mind, Baker suggests, you’re typically “paying based on quantity.” This means “it makes sense to purge and get rid of anything that can be destroyed. You don’t want to pay for moving things that you’re just going to get rid of down the road or very soon after the move.”
Establish a plan to archive or shred the documents you don’t need to move. For all the files and records you will take with you to the new office, it’s useful to inventory what is on your shelves. This can help with validating that everything made it in the move. This also helps your business designate storage in the new office for different departments, various types of files and allow for growth.
Working with a company practiced in moving and storing files, you shouldn’t have to directly oversee the process. However, if you’re entrusting your documents to a regular moving service, you may have to “babysit,” Baker said. “You’ll need to make sure that all of the files are getting put back on the shelves in the way that they were taken off.”
The pros, though, will know to:
- Pack and unpack the files to mirror your systems
- Wrap and protect private, sensitive information from exposure in the move
- Make recommendations about using the new space for greater filing efficiency
They’ll also remind you to think ahead before packing up files. What records might you need to access or research immediately around the move? You don’t want these to be inaccessible in shrink-wrapped carts of files. Keep any files you’ll be actively working with separate, and transport those yourself, Baker recommends.
Finally, she advises, don’t let “contractors leave until you feel 100% sure that the records have been relocated the way that you want them.”
Making the Best of Office Moves
It’s a good idea to host a training for employees to go over moving safety and demonstrate the best way to pack up a desk.
Immediately before the move you’ll want to update your website and social media with your new address. Confirm with your moving company. Reach out to the new office’s building manager to finalize your plan and make sure you know where to load or unload. Give employees access to moving boxes and recycling bins to pack and clear out their own work spaces (if you have decided not to go with professional packers).
You’ll also need to plan signage removal, schedule a cleaning service to attend to the vacated space and collect and return building property (such as security badges, parking passes, keys).
On the move day itself, it’s a good idea to assign specific move coordinators. Have someone on-site throughout the move to define specific responsibilities and monitor progress. Set up a lead person in the office you’re leaving and another in the new space to confirm everything is correctly staged and connected.
It’s also useful to set up and communicate to employees a standard process and point of contact for resolving any issues related to the move.
Office moves are a headache, sure. But they can also be an opportunity to optimize business operations if you are proactive and plan with care. Identifying responsibilities and establishing procedures to manage the changes is key. Contact the moving team Patterson Pope to keep your business relocation organized and on track.