9 Tips to Make Your Office Move Easier
Have you outgrown your office? Is your lease up and you’re looking for a fresh start with new ideas? Follow these tips to make your move a breeze!
An office relocation doesn’t need to be difficult. By planning early and staying organized, your office moral will remain high and with any luck, no one will be left behind 😊 All kidding aside, an office move is a great time to evaluate your current space, equipment and furniture, and make smart choices for your new location.
A binder, or folder, of lists is going to be your best friend. Moving your office, small or large, will be much easier if you stay on top of everything that needs to be done and enlist help from the start.
Tip #1 – Make an Office Checklist
An office move checklist should include anything and everything that needs to be done from the day you start the list, to after you’ve moved into the new location. It’s going to be a long list that includes things like:
~ Review your lease and know how you’ll be getting any deposit returned, what to do about any damage, etc.
~ Bring office movers in for estimates, set a budget, make a process for packing
~ Decide what gets moved and if you’ll be donating or trashing any unwanted furniture and ordering new
~ Ask for move team volunteers or assign the duty to department heads
~ Plan where everything will go at the new location
~ Contact vendors and service companies.
~ Look into the need for moving insurance. Talk to your insurance professional, as Basic Carrier Liability is very low and may not provide the coverage you want. This is especially true if you have large machinery important to your business’ operation. Make sure you assess the true value of what’s being moved accurately, including each and every possession.
Take as many hours as you need and play the scenario out in your mind, writing everything down.
Tip #2 – Create a Timeline
If possible, start at least 3 months before your actual move date. For larger offices, you may need up to 8 months or longer to prepare. Break down your timeline however is best for you but keep it realistic. It can always be reprioritized as time goes by.
Use your office checklist and plug in the tasks to your timeline, adding beginning and end dates or deadlines. You want to experience minimal downtime, so plan down to the last detail. Will your business need to close for a day? Will employees come in that morning to work and then hand in their keys? Plan it all out.
This timeline will be your golden playbook and will be shared and reviewed with everyone involved in organizing the move. As an example, you could break it down like this:
3 months out: create moving team, notify current landlord, determine budget and timeline. Look at ordering new furniture
2 months out: work with the new floor plan, start holding weekly meetings with stakeholders, begin change of address process for contacts, hire a mover
1 month out: schedule transfer of utilities, inventory your assets, develop new marketing material, letterhead and business cards, begin to communicate the relocation, reach out to computer, IT, internet and phone companies about the move
2 weeks out: consolidate furniture and accessories, backup data, confirm internet and phone service, start to clean
Week of: have new keys and access cards made, inspect the new location, gather packing supplies, start packing files
Moving day: meet the movers, do a final walkthrough and document any damage, collect employee keys and security cards
This is just to get you going. Make the timeline fit your needs. The more you stay organized the less likely something will fall through the cracks.
Tip #3 – Create Your New Office Layout
Get your hands on the office blueprint or floor plan and start laying everything out. Ideally you know where all electrical outlets are too. Look at your desk sizes, where storage will be, and how cubicles or moveable walls might be used. If any work needs to be done to modify the space, this is the time to figure it out. Hire an interior designer for help decorating or landscaping if you need that help.
If you’re thinking about making any drastic changes, like moving towards an open workspace concept, you probably want to broach that subject well in advance with your employees or leadership. You’ll need their buy-in and the move itself is going to be stressful on staff.
Once you have the design fairly complete, let your employees know where their offices will be and hopefully they’ll start envisioning how to set up their new space. Create the buzz and share your vision for the new office.
If they see the design with their names on their offices, even better. This is the plan you’ll give to the mover as well so they can match the employee’s boxes with the office where they belong. The more information you can finalize ahead of time, the less questions will be asked on the day of the move.
Tip #4 – Find a Moving Company
In NYC, there are many companies that specialize in moving only offices. Call at least 3 of them and have them visit your location to write a custom estimate. Why do you want to choose an office mover over a generic moving company? These companies have the experienced manpower to move small to large offices. They know how to properly disconnect, pack and move electronics, IT, and other equipment that needs to be delicately handled.
What are some things you should ask an office moving company? After you’ve determined that they are a reputable, legitimate company, licensed and permitted, find out more about their processes.
What is their system of moving and transport? What do they do in order to meet deadlines with no wasted time? What makes their moves most successful and do they offer packing materials?
If you need temporary storage units, some companies can provide this service. You also want to know that they conduct business in a safe and efficient manner and that they can fit within your schedule. Find out who your point person would be and if you’ll have a move coordinator to help you with their own tricks of the trade.
Lastly, ask for referrals and look for reviews. In the end, you want a company you can trust and that falls within your budget.
Tip #5 – Hire Professional Packers
Many moving companies have this option available to you. If it’s in the budget, this is an easy way to check this huge task off your checklist.
It’s a good idea for employees to at least pack their own offices. It gives them a chance to go through their things and purge items that don’t need to be moved. Give them instructions on where to find the packing materials and what the deadline is to complete the job. Also make sure they secure the boxes and label them with their name clearly on the outside.
Tip #6 – Create a Communication Plan
This plan comes in 2 forms: internal and external.
Moving can be stressful. Some employees may not deal well with either moves or stress, or both, so keeping everyone informed and staying positive will make your life easier. It’s best to announce a move in person if possible, at a staff meeting. Emails can be missed or misconstrued, and questions or concerns can be addressed early on and face to face in a meeting.
Commutes and transportation routes will be changed, this gives employees time to adjust and to plan. As weeks pass, post updates for employees to follow the progress of the move and do your best to keep a finger on the pulse of staff. You won’t be able to please everyone but listening can go a long way and you might even glean some great ideas. Maybe someone suggests a better way of doing something that could improve operations or workflow in the new office.
How will you let the public know about your office relocation? A good tip is to add an announcement about the move to your employees’ email signature line as soon as it’s confirmed.
If your company is experiencing growth and celebrating an expanded product line, or something similar, a press release is a good idea to share the excitement.
Have a plan for letting your customers know where to find you. It would be terrible if you moved and lost business because they didn’t know. Your approach could involve multiple steps, like a postcard followed by an email. We are all creatures of habit and it may take a multi-approach to remind customers that you’ve moved. Whatever you determine is best for your clients.
Tip #7 – Assign Tasks From the Checklist
Grab your office relocation checklist and timeline. Each task on the timeline should be assigned to someone.
An important job is letting customers know about the move, as mentioned in the communication plan. Equally as important is assigning someone to contact the bank, insurance company, and vendors. Other tasks to assign that could be on your office checklist include:
~ advising the post office of the move and set up mail forwarding
~ contacting the phone company and arrange for service at the new location
~ using your social media guru to design posts about your new office
~ backing up data
~ making a new office packet for employees with details about the building, amenities, coffee shops and dining close by
~ creating an inventory of assets and take pictures for insurance purposes, especially for more valuable items
~ changing your incoming phone message announcing the move
~ calling your VOIP provider and scheduling the change if you use that method of communication
~ checking that the power and water are working at the new office
If your office is small, many of these items will fall to you to complete. By having a checklist, you can visually see your progress and what’s left to do.
On the other hand, early on you may have created a moving team. If you have a larger office, you might have chosen department heads to be responsible for their areas. The concept is to divide the entire office, including common areas, and have someone in charge of each designated space. Weekly meetings with the leaders and those team members tasked with the timeline jobs will keep everyone in the loop and informed about the progress, and any questions that arise.
Tip #8 – Moving Day
It’s an exciting day! Are employees there to help? Maybe it’s cause for donuts, a delivery of breakfast sandwiches, or at least copious amounts of coffee. Your point person is there working with the movers. You’ll have decided at what point phones are transferred so no calls are missed.
Review your master list of employees and confirm that you’ve received their keys and access passes.
At the new space, rooms are labeled to correspond with how boxes are named making it easy for the movers to place them where they belong. Everything is running smoothly. You’ve tasked people with unpacking and stocking bathrooms, kitchen, etc.
Tip #9 – Post-Move
Everything’s been shifted to the new office. It’s time to test your technology and make sure everything’s working as it should.
At the minimum, you’ll have scheduled cleaners for your old space. Depending on your lease agreement, any minor repairs, painting, etc. need to be completed before you can confirm termination of the lease. This last step you should double check. Don’t assume everything is finalized until you know for sure that it is.
Figuring out how to move your office space doesn’t have to be a chaotic nightmare. By being uber-prepared from the start you’ll feel much better that nothing’s been forgotten. Also, by leaning on key leadership in your organization and delegating tasks, you all can enjoy that first day in your new digs knowing it was truly a team effort.