Moving offices can have a transformative effect on businesses big and small. Whether it’s giving you room to grow, more space to create, or more control over your brand and environment, a new space is an exciting thing – once you get past the move itself that is.
Any office move is a major project and needs careful planning. It might seem daunting, especially if you’ve never had to coordinate a move before, but don’t worry. Like any process, it can be broken down into a series of simple tasks.
We’ll talk you through everything you need to consider when moving office and have a handy downloadable office move checklist to help make your move a smooth and happy one.
Download the checklist here.
Planning is your best friend, so make intelligent use of documents, spreadsheets and office moving checklists. Include all the tasks that need to be completed, no matter how small, as well as the steps leading up to them and the people, teams and companies responsible for each of them.
This way your tasks are compiled into more manageable bite-sized chunks. Use your planning documents as your road map for the move – and make use of sharing software to let others collaborate and see what needs to be done.
Plan the timing for your move carefully. You might not have much flexibility as to moving dates, but if you can, you want to avoid moving at the busiest time of year for your business. Remember that your business still has to function during the moving process.
Have a deadline
Having a set deadline, or set of deadlines, in place will help you get everything done more efficiently. With a deadline in sight you won’t have the luxury of procrastinating or putting things off until the next day. It’s motivating to have a deadline day for everyone to work towards.
Ahead of the move
Measure up – four to six weeks ahead of the move, go and measure up your new space.
Furniture – figure out if you need to order any furniture for your new space, and do it. Many coworking spaces and serviced offices provide all the furniture you need, or they can source furniture for you if you have any particular needs.
Inventory – make an inventory of everything you want to take in the move. Make a list of everything you need to buy.
Security – at least a month ahead of your move, get in touch with your new building manager to see if security is covered by your rental. If you need to find your own security company, now’s the time to ring around for quotes and get them to survey the new office. Many security companies need a month’s notice, so get this done early.
Removals – find your perfect removal firm. This means getting in touch for removal quotes, checking out reviews and seeing if you can get hold of any word of mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues. Will you be doing the packing yourselves? Do you need packing boxes too?
Essential facilities – look at exactly what services are covered by your new office contract. If it’s a serviced office or co-working space many, if not all, of your essential amenities may be covered by your rental. Phones, phone lines, IT, insurance, business rates, electronics and cables all need to be sorted out. Talk to your current suppliers for their support during the move.
Inform your suppliers – if you have supplies delivered (fruit, newspapers, water, milk and so on) and get in touch with them at least three weeks ahead of time to let them know you’re moving date. Don’t forget to let your cleaning company know too. Now’s a good time to do some research into the best prices you can find for supplies and cleaning at your new office space, if these aren’t already included in your rent.
Stationery – get quotes from stationery suppliers for everything you need with your updated address.
Change of address and phone number – get change of address notifications ready to send to contacts and suppliers and set up mail redirections and forwarding numbers if you can’t arrange to keep the number you already have.
Setting up – about two weeks before you move in, you want to get all the major components in place so your office is ready for your staff. Broadband and phones need to be up and running, plus your kitchen build (if a kitchen isn’t already in place), furniture and any cupboards and storage units. Get IT in to set up all computers and servers.
Final clean – if the landlord requires it, hire a cleaning firm to do a final clean of the old office before you hand back the keys.
Engage your stakeholders
In some cases involving your staff is the law. The Information & Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 state that any changes directly affecting staff should be discussed with them. Unions should also be engaged as soon as possible. Check that you’ve engaged with everyone you need to, which could include unions, regulators, parent companies, board members and department heads, as well as staff.
As well as notifying your customers, suppliers and utility companies, it’s really important that you communicate often and openly with your staff.
The key is to anticipate any likely issues before they become problems and encourage open dialogue with all members of staff. Give your employees clear reasons for the move, explain how they’ll benefit, and what you want to achieve.
Staff will always appreciate being consulted and updated early on then regularly updated in the lead-up to the big day. There may well be staff who have concerns that need addressing, be it changes to their commuting distance and/or cost, where they’re going to be located in the new building, parking availability or concerns over redundancy.
Involve your team members
People that feel involved and engaged will get behind a move much more than if they feel neglected or excluded. A great way to get people together is to have each department put forward a representative for them on an internal office move team. This team can have regular meetings and keep you clued up on any concerns that might be brewing within particular departments. Let them know how much their valuable input is helpful to you.
After the move
It’s a really important thing to consider when moving office, but is often overlooked – how do your staff feel about the move once they’ve settled in? Ask for feedback to help maintain morale and momentum. The feedback will help you to reinforce the positives of the office move and identify and tackle any issues that may have cropped up.
Want a step-by-step checklist to walk you through your move day by day? Download our PDF office move checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered for the big move.