Moving offices can be an exciting yet stressful time for everyone involved. Whether you’re moving the whole office to a new location, upsizing or downsizing, or perhaps moving out to smaller, satellite offices adopting a ‘hub and spoke’ model, it can be a daunting prospect. But it is also the beginning of a new period for your business.
Office relocation can mean ensuring that employees are organised, sensitive data is not lost, expensive machinery is undamaged, and that’s before you’ve had to notify customers and suppliers.
Here at Boxpod, we understand the pressure of moving business premises, and so we have created a guide to making sure that your office move runs as smoothly as possible. The key is organisation and planning, so here is a guide to making your office relocation as seamless as possible…
1 Plan as much as possible in advance
As we said, planning is everything when it comes to moving offices. It means that you have had time to think of everything, advise those who need to know, and that staff and removal companies will know exactly what they are doing, when.
Ideally, you should plan your office move at least three months before the big day. This allows you to make sure that nothing has been missed, and that those who you need to inform of the move are also able to plan for it.
Some things that you should consider at this stage include:
- Creating an office move planning team who can ensure that all areas of the office relocation are covered
- Informing staff, in particular the IT staff who will need to extensively plan the relocation of IT equipment. Make your employees aware of what they need to do and when, and allocate a co-ordinator in each department
- Confirming the date of the move
- Finding and appointing a removal company – go for one who specialises in commercial removals
- Creating a timeline of when things should be done and by whom
- Considering any new equipment that you want to get
- Creating a data back-up plan in case any equipment gets damaged in the move
2 Make a detailed floor plan
It is important to make a detailed floor plan of your new office to make things easier when you move in. You should plan where furniture, desks, and other equipment will be going and this is easier if you have information about where plug sockets and ethernet connections are as well as any existing storage.
This way you can enable your staff to visualise where they are going to be and how to plan out their area, as well as help the technical staff to do any work that they need to do. It is also useful for the removal company as it means that they can move desks and large furniture straight into the place where they will be set.
You can use this time to order any new equipment or furniture that you might need as well as anything else such as new signage.
3 Deal with your accounts
In addition to the physical work that is involved in moving offices, there is also a great deal of administration needed to ensure that your business doesn’t get disrupted. There are several people that you will need to notify of your change in address, including:
- Utility companies such as the gas, electricity, water, and internet suppliers
- Companies that you have other agreements with
- Companies that have issued you with licenses
- Your insurers, bank, HMRC
- Your suppliers (they may need to totally rearrange delivery schedules, for example)
- Security companies
- Partners and affiliates
- Think about setting up a Post Office Redirect or Business Diversion service
You should also remember to cancel or move people who supply services to you in your current location, such as cleaners and gardeners, and cancel your existing utility companies.
This is the ideal time to renegotiate contracts and ensure that you are getting the best deal available.
You should also blank out the removal day and a few days around them in your diary to ensure that you have time to move and reorganise yourself. This includes rescheduling any meetings that you might have arranged for then.
4 Update your marketing
Make sure that you send out notifications of change in address to your customers if appropriate as well as any marketing material that you have. This can include:
- Office stationery such as headed paper and business cards
- Websites and social media accounts
- Google and Yelp listings
- Review sites
5 Write an inventory
It can be useful to create an inventory of all of your equipment to know exactly what you’ve got and how much of it. This can help with the floor plan of your new business premises as well as help you to decide if there are any new things that you need to get. If you are getting new furniture or equipment, try to coordinate this with your moving as it would be preferable to avoid having it delivered twice (delivery to your old premises and then the transfer to the new ones).
This also gives you the perfect opportunity to get rid of any unnecessary equipment or furniture that is out of date or not being used. There is no point in moving unused items that will continue to be unused!
You can use this inventory to calculate the number of boxes or crates that you will need as well as give an indication to the removal company of how much you have to move.
6 Label EVERYTHING
It is a good idea that you stock up on packing supplies in advance – boxes, packing tape, protective covers, blankets, etc.
Make sure that you have a labelling strategy so that the removal company knows where things should be going. Some people like to use colour-coding for different departments or just writing on the boxes.
Most businesses that are moving to new office premises get their staff to pack up their own personal belongings. It might be that equipment such as desks, chairs, telephones, and computers are left to the company to organise, but desk contents can be packed up by the individual. You should ensure that they have enough boxes and packaging materials to enable them to do this.
You can begin to pack items that are used less frequently in advance of the removal day (or week) to take the strain off nearer the time.
The logistics of renting or buying a new commercial property can be a daunting prospect, but with a clear and concise plan, you can ensure that it goes smoothly and without a hitch. This is the beginning of the next phase for your business, so it would be great to be able to get it off to a good start!