If moving house is one of the top five most stressful events in a person’s life, just imagine what the stress levels are like when it comes to an office relocation.
While relocating an entire office is a significant undertaking, by planning carefully and breaking the process down into small, manageable chunks, you can have an easy transition, with minimal disruptions and associated costs.
That’s why we’ve put together this super-handy office relocation checklist, so you don’t miss a thing.
With an office move, there are many moving parts. It’s important, therefore, to get your ducks in a row as early as possible. Careful planning and preparation can help ensure the office move is not just smooth, but that it actually benefits your organisation in the long term.
12–18 months before the move
- Determine what your key objectives are for your move (e.g. do you want to reduce costs, boost productivity or attract top talent?)
- Find an expert: a workplace design partner to help you with a workplace design strategy to identify your key objectives and determine the future way of working for your company. This will determine how much space you will actually need.
- If based on the above, the decision is made to relocate:
- Look into your current lease and determine how and when to give notice to your landlord. (If you need to vacate your current premises before the lease is up, you may need to sublet or assign the lease to another tenant or negotiate a termination. You may want to seek advice from a property solicitor to work out what may be the best option for you.)
- Do you have a make-good obligation? Consider the budget for this and adequate timing to have it completed
- If the desired outcome is to create significant change in the environment, then refer to your workplace design partner for a change management program to ensure all staff are brought on the journey
- Conduct a location feasibility study of shortlisted sites to determine the most suitable space – your workplace design partner can also assist with this
6-12 months before the move
- Negotiate and finalise the terms of your new lease
- Put together a detailed timeline to ensure the move is completed on time
- Liaise with the building manager at the new property to help determine the layout
- Create an inventory of your existing furniture and fittings, and determine what will be moved to the new office, and what new furniture and fittings will be required
- Involve IT with your workplace design partner to perform an audit of your current IT and communications systems (computer, photocopies, phones, etc.), and determine what equipment will be kept and what needs to be upgraded. (It is essential that all your IT equipment, systems and phones are all fully functional on the day you move in to ensure minimal disruption.)
3-6 months before the move
- Select a moving day
- Devise a detailed moving budget (for moving costs only, separate to your relocation budget)
- Schedule wiring and cabling of all computers and phone lines
- Create a master change-of-address list, listing clients, vendors and suppliers that will need to be notified of your new details and order new stationery
- Hire a professional moving company
- Hire a professional cleaning service for the vacated property
- Create a company moving team, ideally with a representative from each department, to help coordinate the move across the organisation
- Depending on the extent of the change, ensure the staff are regularly informed about and involved in the moving process, in conjunction with the change management program (if applicable)
- Keep a hand in with your workplace design partner, ensuring everything is going in the direction you need it to
1 month before the move
You’re on the home stretch! This is the time to make sure things are still on track, and to double (and triple) check nothing has inadvertently been left by the wayside.
- Hold a meeting at the new premises with all the parties involved (design/construction/movers/IT etc.) to ensure all details have been covered and responsibilities for the upcoming weeks are clear
- Put together a welcome pack for employees, outlining information about the building and the neighbourhood, so employees can quickly settle in
- Organise an office warming party to welcome employees to the new office
- Finalise employee seating plan
- Implement a clean-up program (purging files, disposing of rubbish, moving old files to storage etc.)
- Back-up business operations
- Acquire packing supplies for the move
- Create a detailed moving day plan
- Reserve loading dock and elevators, and acquire any necessary permits (such as parking)
- Sort out keys and access cards
- Start setting up IT and communications systems
- Give staff a tour of the new premises so they know what to expect when they arrive on day one
On the day
The big day is here. While much of the work will be in the hands of professionals (thanks to all your careful planning), you’ll still need to be keeping an eye on things and ensuring everything’s ready to go when employees walk in the door.
- Arrange with the building manager to have air conditioning switched on prior to entry (this will make the day much more comfortable!)
- Ensure workstations are assembled and correctly labelled with numbers or employees’ names, so employees can easily find their desks
- Test computers, phones, internet, and other technologies to ensure everything is connected and working properly
- Ensure old site has been cleaned thoroughly
- Ensure the new site is clear of excess furniture, crates and packing materials
After the move
Hooray! The hard part’s over. Now it’s time to tie up any loose ends, let your clients know about your new location, and reap the benefits of a brand new office.
- Brief staff on new premises, such as workspaces, break areas and amenities
- Distribute welcome packs and new phone lists
- Address any residual issues reported by staff
- Confirm termination of the old lease
- Schedule press release and client announcement
- Review office fitout and design, and track relevant metrics to see if key objectives are being met
As you can see, an office relocation is a lot of work! That’s why you want to ensure you reap maximum benefits from it. To help your business get to the next level, choose a workplace design partner that can help you achieve your objectives and prepare your new space for you. To learn more, download our free ebook How to choose a workplace design partner now.