With the right plans and procedures in place, an office relocation is an exciting opportunity for any business. However, research reveals that relocating is the second most stressful task for small business owners, after hiring new staff.
If you want to make sure your office relocation goes smoothly, here are our 11 top tips:
1. Plan well and plan early
Commercial relocations take a lot of planning and groundwork. First, you need to decide on realistic budgets and timeframes for your move. Then, you need to map out the finer details.
For example, you will need to work out where you want to move to, how much space you require, look at the terms of your current lease and list all the essential features you want from your new office space.
When you have worked out these details, start to scope out possible locations for your office relocation. Come up with a shortlist of potential venues, including the pros and cons of each space.
2. Keep your staff informed
An office relocation will affect your employees. Once you have your shortlist of potential properties in place, you need to tell your staff about your plans and give them an opportunity to provide feedback and discuss any concerns.
At every stage of your office relocation, make sure your staff is fully up-to-date with moving plans and time schedules. Make sure you emphasize the benefits of the relocation both to the company and to them as individuals.
You can communicate this information using a number of methods, including team briefings, one-on-one meetings, and follow-up emails. This ensures everyone is involved in the process and helps provide reassurance if anyone feels apprehensive about the move.
3. Hire a project manager
You should source a professional project manager for your office relocation. You could hire in-house, looking for someone in a senior position with exceptional organizational skills and experience working to tight budgets and time constraints.
Alternatively, you may want to hire an external specialist to help with your office relocation. This will free up your staff to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities.
Either way, you will need a go-to person to organize and manage your office relocation. Having a professional guide you through every stage of your move will take some of the stress out of this time-consuming and complex process.
4. Get a floor plan and organize a tour
When you have decided on your new office location, start devising a floor plan. Assign a desk to every staff member so they can go straight into the new office and start unpacking. This will help avoid too much confusion on your move day and reassure your staff.
If possible, you may want to take your staff on a tour of your new office before you move in. This will help ease the transition and introduce your staff to the new area.
5. Plan your timeline
When you have a moving date, you need to come up with a detailed timeline of tasks. Ideally, this should be done at least one month in advance of your office relocation date. This will help prepare your staff for the move and keep things on track.
For example, you may want to start by stocking up on moving supplies such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. You should also encourage your staff to take home personal items so they don’t get lost or damaged in the move.
Closer to the move day, ask your staff to start emptying any filing cabinets and clearing out the office in an ordered fashion, ensuring all boxes are clearly labeled.
You may want to color code your boxes for certain areas of your new office. It may also help to create a detailed inventory of everything that needs to be moved over to the new office.
Also, identify which furniture you want to keep in the move. Any damaged items should be removed from your old office ahead of your move. This also gives you the opportunity to order in any new furniture, which can be delivered directly to your new office location.
6. Prepare for contingencies
Hopefully, everything will go according to the plan, but it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Make sure you have a series of contingency plans in place and the contact numbers of every key party involved in the move.
7. Choose the right moving company
Make sure you pick a moving company with experience in the commercial sector. An office relocation requires a more in-depth understanding of how to disassemble and reassemble office furniture and handle your IT equipment, compared to a residential move.
8. Deep clean your old office
Depending on the terms of your lease, you may need to deep clean your office to return it to its former glory. Also, make sure you take photos before you move out of your old office. These could be useful if your landlord claims you damaged the property.
Likewise, take photos if there is any damage to your new office. You don’t want to pick up the bill for someone else’s negligence.
9. Pre-warn your neighbors and clients
On your moving day, make sure you inform your old and new neighbors of any disruption during your office relocation. For example, you may want to ensure that the elevators, loading docks and access points to your old and new offices are readily available to the movers.
You should also notify your clients and business partners of your upcoming move. You may want to use social media or visit key stakeholders personally to explain the reasons for your move, and the timescales involved.
10. Change your address
Make sure you change your address wherever it appears. This includes any headed notepaper, brochures and your online details. If you don’t want to pay for expensive reprints, a simple address sticker covering your old address could be used.
11. Be there on moving day
Even if you use a moving company, you need to be present on moving day to help with the process. It may help to have one manager present at the old office and another at the new location to help coordinate the move.