An office move is an exciting time for a business or company. New office space could be a sign of a track record of success, exciting expansion plans, or a business rebrand for the future. Either way it’s an exciting time for most businesses. But the relocation process to a new location can be fraught with dangers that can damage your business and can cost you dearly.
It’s important that when you are moving your business that you make it as smooth and timely as possible. You want to avoid the pitfall that many businesses face in an office relocation.
Key elements for successful office relocation
Communication is the key element in the moving process to a new office location. Communication with your staff, with your partners and with your customers is key for any smooth transition to a new address.
Planning is also required in any successful office relocation. Appoint a relocation manager to oversee the planning and take responsibility for the process. It’s like any other project in your core business operations. It needs to be managed with clear objectives, schedules, responsibilities and accountabilities.
The final element in an office move is expertise. You wouldn’t leave the responsibility of your core business to an inexperienced staff member, so why would you do it for relocating your office space. You need to engage with professional movers, who can advise you on moving offices to reduce disruption. Faulkner Removals is a full service moving company with years of experience in relocating hundreds of offices, so you can have their expertise at your fingertips.
Let’s take a look at these elements of communication, planning, and expertise along a typical timeline. This timeline is only a guide. It will change depending on the size and complexity of your move. For example, if you need to move servers and data banks then you need a more sophisticated and comprehensive plan to securely move our office.
Six to three months before your office move
Communicate with staff
Plan ahead to communicate with your staff. Seek their advice before making decisions. Staff is the greatest asset you have as a business, but will also be the one most heavily impacted in any move. For example, some of your staff might have children in childcare close to your current office for convenience. a move could severely disrupt that daily routine.
Involve your staff in the decision making process, make sure their input is acknowledged and their contribution is considered as part of the decision making.
An engaged staff is key in change management and ensures a smooth office relocation process.
Appoint a project manager
To give the moving project the weight it deserves it’s important to resource it by appointing a project manager. The relocation project manager sets tasks, decides on processes and ensures schedules are maintained. A project manager can also identify any issues that might arise early so it can be addressed before it has too much impact on your office.
When appointing a project manager for the office move, it’s important to recognise that it comes with a higher responsibility and can take time. You need to give your manager time to d
o the project, so make sure they have the capacity to work through the issues about the move otherwise you are setting them up for failure.
Think about the operations - Skeleton staff
With your moving manager, think about your entire operations. Not just the office, but also any remote services that could be impacted by a move. What are some of the key operators that can not be interrupted? How do they need to be staffed? Can you have a seamless transition with the vital services?
A professional moving company that specialises in smooth office relocation can help in a staged shift to a new location to maintain services such as customer support and enquiries. An office relocation can be a difficult process that can cost more than your staff’s time, but also be financially draining.
When you work out what are the minimum resources you need to maintain service to your customers, then you have a clearer idea of the moving process.
Three months to one month before move
Assign moving project roles
Communication with staff is more of a priority as the moving date nears. The language should change from promoting open dialogue about the move, to appointing staff roles in the move as people start wanting more details.
The message should be clear on when the move will take place, what is expected of the person in their roles, and most importantly why they need to be involved.
Staff are more inclined to be engaged if they feel a part or of the process and understand their role.
Not everyone can be managed the same way and some will prefer not to take on the added responsibility. These role players are perfect for your skeleton crews to maintain business as usual during the moving process.
List equipment and audit the processes
Your project manager should create a comprehensive equipment list of what needs to be transported, and when it’s needed to be transported. It’s no use scheduling a professional moving company to come in and move the office furniture when you still have to box up the bulk office supplies or a worker needs the work station.
Items on the equipment list should be categorised into essential, nonessential, and unnecessary groups. Just like moving house, moving an office gives you an opportunity to take stock of what is necessary in your office and what can go out.
A move is also an opportunity to reinvent the way your office operates. It’s not just about having a new location, it’s also about having new processes.
Map out your floor plan
You should already look at what space you will need, and a general idea of where people and departments will be located for effective day to day operations of your business. With the equipment lists you can now get into the details of positioning equipment, such as the large electrical equipment.
It’s a good idea to include the workplace health and safety officer in this discussion to establish where safety equipment should be placed, make sure emergency exits are clear, and there is no risk to workers because of poor layout design.
You should have as much input into your plan as possible. Also consider getting advice from your professional moving company as they can bring years of experience in office layouts to the discussion.
Week of office relocation
Update your information
It’s time to focus on your external communication. If you regularly welcome customers or clients to your office space then you will need a clear and detailed sign to let them know of the relocation. However, that’s not enough when people can access your office’s details through many sources. An office should do an audit of its location information, particularly online, to ensure the transition is done as soon as possible.
Update your information on search engines, such as Google, and electronic maps. These are key and can be updated quickly. It’s also a good idea to put a notice on your website, particularly if you are moving a long way as customers might mistake a move as a different branch.
You also need to consider your stationary and signs. Items such as business cards, letterheads and signs need to be updated. If you are moving your office to help develop your branding, then the move might also be a good opportunity to redevelop your branding. However, you should be careful as when you change location and branding, then you are at risk of alienating your customers and stakeholders.
Change has to be managed carefully and you might not want to do it all at once.
Make sure utilities are connected/disconnected
It might seem so common sense that sometimes it is overlooked. You don’t want to go into a new space only to find that you are in the dark. Alternatively, you don’t want to leave the lights on at your vacated office.
Engage your professional office moving company
Your professional moving company can give you that last minute advice and identify any issues that could potentially delay a move. You don’t want to have your moving company show up on move day, only to find that the office is not ready for the move.