It's always an exciting time to be moving to a new office space as usually it means new and improved services, better location and a bit of a fresh start for the employees. However, it can also be one of the most stressful things that a company can go through. A large percentage of companies actually put off the move due to the fear of how stressful it will be, continuing to stay in offices that are inappropriate for their needs.
If you are part of the team responsible for any kind of office relocation there are many important factors to consider to ensure a smooth transition and that disruption to staff and clients is minimised. The good thing is that you are unlikely to have to do this many times in your career! However, this also means that if the time comes it will be a completely new experience and there may be a lot of pressure to ensure that the new facilities meet the current and potential needs of your company.
We've put together a list of the seven essentials factors you need to consider to successfully manage an office relocation project:
You will be amazed at how quickly the costs can add up when moving an office. There is a whole host of things that can cause this, delays, oversights and issues that crop up unexpectedly. If you are the project manager responsible for managing the move budget there are many things to consider when thinking about unexpected costs. Here are a few things that can often be overlooked:
- Cost of dilapidations or reinstating the office that you are leaving.
- Do you have any leased or specialist equipment that requires special handling?
- Is there any access of timing limitations that might affect the cost of relocation?
It is crucial that you ascertain the full costs of your office move before you get caught up in it. There are plenty of experienced commercial relocation companies that it might be worth reaching out to for advice before you begin.
Ultimately it is your business’ capital which will dictate your decision to move premises and has the biggest influence on the size and space of the premises that you move into.
It is highly recommended that you use a relocation agent to assist you during this time as they can provide guidance on financial elements like business rates and rent so you avoid unexpected costs at a time when you need them least!
Another important external party to involve is a good solicitor who can be involved from the very beginning to assist with landlord negotiation, legal documentation and ensure that your interests are protected from the outset.
2. Interior Solutions and Office Design
Depending on the new premises you find, you may need to do a bit of touching up or even a substantial refurbishment. Again, this can add to the costs! Speak to an office outfit company who can provide the interior solutions that you need. When speaking to them make sure to clarify the budget, timeline and standard of work that you expect.
It is also the best time to consider major revamps to the office design as once you are up and running it is difficult to find time to close again for office renovation. Consider the following things when planning a revamp:
- What is your business like?
- Do you think work productivity and employee morale will benefit from an open or closed office space?
- Are you planning any major staff changes in the next year that might see the office layout majorly shaken up?
If you have a very clear idea of what you want in terms of interior solutions you can delegate this to the fit-out company of your choice and ease some of the pressure on you knowing you have delegated this to professionals. Just ensure that you are kept updated on each step of the process.
It is a major part of planning a move to make sure that you have alerted everyone relevant. There are many ways to do this:
- Flyers or change of address cards
- Email or postal campaign
- Notification on the website or in email signatures
- Social media
- Google listing
Make sure that you update your address on any stationary or email footers or websites where your info is listed. Informing your clients and suppliers as soon as possible is strongly advised.
However, it is also important to make sure that the channels of communication are open within the company. Nothing can add stress and anxiety to an employees work life like feeling out of the loop or unsure of what is happening. Many employees may also have a lot of concerns regarding the move or new location so it's important to give everyone the opportunity to air these concerns and take the time to address them.
A lot of service providers will need you to give notice of the move so, make sure you find the time periods for these out well in advance. And of course, don’t forget to let your bank and insurance providers know the change of address!
4. IT, Data, Computers and Connections
IT, data and equipment are critical to the running of most businesses so it is essential you take particular care when relocating this equipment. Break it down into categories to address the needs of each type.
You will need to audit equipment setups to re-commision equipment ready for use in your new office. Then once they have been moved they need to be recommissioned and connected to sometimes complex network infrastructures. These systems often host sensitive data that must remain secure so it is imperative that you use professional IT engineers to re-commision equipment.
Data Centres & Servers
Servers need to be safely and carefully relocated with as little downtime as possible to impact on your business and network as little as possible. It goes without saying that equipment must be moved as carefully as possible as breakages can be hugely expensive not to mention time-consuming, further setting your business back whilst you are in-between locations.
If any of your equipment is leased you will need approval from your vendor before you can move it. The vendors may insist upon doing the removal themselves in the cases of certain specialist equipment. Make sure to check contracts in these cases for the obligations detailed within.
Telephones and Internet Connections
Allow enough time to ensure phone systems and Internet connections are live from the first day in your new office. Whether you are switching service providers or staying with your current one, you need to ensure connectivity isn’t compromised during the relocation. If you have to change your number it is possible to have your old number redirected to your new one.
5. Office Furniture
If you’re relocating it may seem the perfect time to throw out your old furniture and replace it with brand shiny new stuff. However, it is worth considering if you can refurbish or remanufacture your old furniture. This is a much less wasteful way of updating your furniture and can cost less in the long run.
However, if you decide to go for new items, do some research into the ones that have the best reviews and are quality checked. Whilst the budget will be tight, it’s worth spending a little bit more on certain items like office chairs, which will improve productivity and staff wellness.
6. Old Equipment and Unwanted Furniture
Moving offices is a great opportunity to have a clear out of unnecessary files and furniture that you no longer use. No need to waste the moving budget transporting items that are only going to sit in a corner and be ignored in the new offices too.
You can use a sustainable clearance provider to responsibly clear old items you no longer use, they can also donate office furniture, IT and electrical equipment which prevents waste and saves money for others. You can also resell items if you choose. Basically, try every option before throwing items into the skip and ending up in landfill.
7. Moving Plan
Having a structured clear moving plan is critical whether you are working with a removal company or with an integrated office relocation service provider. Having a plan will ensure that timelines are observed with as little disruption to the business as possible.
Integrated service providers will provide support before, during and after your move as well as providing knowledge and expertise along the way. This might include packing and unpacking services to help make sure that everything is transferred safely and securely.
When you’ve completed the move with as little stress and disruption as possible its time to celebrate with a moving in party for staff!