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How to Plan an Office Relocation

How to Plan an Office Relocation

Here’s how to plan out an office relocation
‍Here’s how to plan out an office relocation

Most businesses have moved to a new office at least once in their lifetime. It may happen due to expansion or relocation but one thing you definitely need is a checklist to guide you through the entire process. 

Download our office relocation checklist as Excel spreadsheet, which outlines the tasks to be completed from pre-move to post-move.

Make your office move project plan early

Actually, you should have a relocation plan in place long before you feel the time has come to move your business. What are the indicators you should monitor in your office move strategy:

Logistics factors. Assess factors concerning the overall satisfaction of both clients and employees coming to your business location.Brand appropriateness. You do not locate a top fashion brand in the outskirts of a big city, right. So, watch out how the neighborhood is developing and how these developments reflect your brand reputation.Lease contract. You will need your relocation plan when you decide to renovate or refurbish your office to find out that your leasing agreement prevents you from making changes.Market pressure. It is the utmost relocation factor and you will draft your business development and expansion strategy also having business relocation in mind.

You can find a good list of considerations concerning finding an ideal office location for your business here. Your requirements may differ since no business has exactly the same needs as another but you’ll get some basic guidance.

After you have took all factors into consideration, you should start looking for a reliable broker. On some occasions, you can find a suitable office location yourselves but it is quite a challenging and time-consuming process. Moreover, some landlords work only with real estate brokers. You can rarely have a detailed look at a space for lease unless you are a really big company.

You should also discuss the new office location with your stakeholder, so you need a broker who is able to present multiple locations to choose from. Not all locations are created equal and not all of the available options will fit into the very same budget, so you will want to have a varied list of possible office moves.

Requirements for New Office

Moving to a new office is a business-critical decision, isn’t it? You should carefully consider your motivation and business needs to relocate. More important, you need to know in detail how the new office will address your pressing business needs.

So, take your time and make a relocation plan comprising of all positives and negatives of both your current place and the planned new location. You can, for instance, create an office relocation checklist in Excel and then compare the advantages and disadvantages of both locations. There is no place offering only advantages to a business.

Example Checklist

  • Can you afford it?
  • Does it have insurance?
  • Is it big enough for everyone without anyone being uncomfortable?
  • Would it accommodate all the manager’s personal space?
  • Does it have rooms you can use for business meetings and conference?
  • Is there room if you decide to expand in the future?
  • Does the space have air conditioning, or central heating? If it doesn’t, installation will cost you more.
  • Does it have a kitchen?
  • Does it have bathrooms? Showers?
  • Is it close to amenities (shops, gyms, saloons, hairdressers, bus and tube stations)?
  • Is it comfortable for clients to visit?
  • Is it a relatively safe area? Are the streets lit well? Is it close to busy streets? Is there hired security in the vicinity?
  • Does it have available parking space? Can you store bikes securely?
  • Are there enough power sockets?

Assess all your current expenditures and compare them against the new office location. Take into consideration all the services you need to run your business smoothly and put them on the list to check how the new place compares to your current services infrastructure.

After you perform the above steps, you will have a budget in place comprising of current costs and costs in the new location. Costs might be lower or higher in the new office and it is up to you to decide whether the expenditures are defendable from a business point of view but you’ll need to plan also for the relocation expenses in any case. These are one-time expenditures but they still enter your books, so plan carefully. Costs may include:

Moving of office furniture and consumablesCosts for a professional moving serviceLosses incurred due to down time during the moveCosts for backing up business operations during the move

Depending on the nature of your business, you can have other costs associated with moving to a new location on your relocation expenses list.

Large office moves may also require substantial team efforts involving extensive employee communication, group move coordination, furniture selection and testing, design of specialty areas, and many more.

Timeline for Office Relocation

Once you have selected your new place, whether yourself or with a help from a broker, you need your office relocation checklist to move each and every piece of equipment to the new office. A rule of the thumb is to move the non-essential office items first. Another best practice is to have all your boxes labeled before the move.

Example Checklist

PRELIMINARY

  • Finalize lease for new location
  • Notify present landlord of termination date
  • Advise staff of date and location of move
  • Engage designer for new premises
  • Create a master change-of-address list

PRE-MOVE—GENERAL

  • Reserve elevators and loading docks for moving day
  • Bid and award moving contract
  • Bid and award telephone and computer cabling
  • Inventory existing furniture
  • Code furniture and equipment on a colour-coded floor plan
  • Audit keys
  • Order any new office furniture and equipment
  • Order new stationery
  • File change-of-address forms with post office and forward mail
  • Check your insurance coverage for the move
  • Obtain the Certificate of Occupancy and any other required permits or licenses
  • Advise suppliers (telephone, bottled water, coffee service) of new address
  • Alert photocopier contractor
  • Decide on security procedures for the move
  • Mail moving notices
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Clients and customers
  • Professional organizations
  • Credit accounts and credit cards
  • Insurance companies
  • Accounts receivable and payable
  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  • Telephone company and internet service provider
  • Prospects and special services
  • Hold a meeting at new premises three weeks prior to move. Bring in all parties involved (design/construction/mover/cabling company/information technology specialist) to ensure all details are covered and all responsibilities clear
  • Change locks/access codes on new premises as close to moving day as possible to secure access
  • Schedule public relations effort, including plans for news releases and an “office warming” party
  • Arrange for listing on lobby directory of new building
  • Arrange for post-move cleaning

PRE-MOVE—INTERNAL

  • Organize a “staff moving committee” if appropriate and delegate responsibilities
  • Schedule and prepare agenda for your employee move orientation meeting
  • Finalize seating plan and identify each location
  • Prepare labels for moving furniture and boxes to new locations
  • Assign move supervisors in each department
  • Develop a master relocation project schedule
  • Schedule and implement a clean-up program (purge files, dispose of trash)
  • Schedule staff for unpacking, including stocking supply cabinets, storerooms, file rooms, and removing tags from all furniture and equipment to ensure your company will be operational as rapidly as possible after move
  • Arrange for off-site storage of old files
  • Pack contents of all filing cabinets and desks, ensuring everything is properly labeled
  • Arrange for staff to tour new premises a few weeks prior to move
  • Schedule post-move training for security, fire, and life safety procedures at the new facility
  • Distribute access cards and keys for new premises

MOVING DAY

  • Arrange with the building manager to have the air conditioning on during the move
  • Remove computer equipment (server) and phone system prior to arrival of movers and commence reinstallation at new site
  • Draft an emergency contact list for vendors such as elevator maintenance, building management, utilities, telecommunications and moving company

POST-MOVE

  • Install and test telephone system
  • Distribute new phone list and map showing the locations of departments
  • Install and test all computers
  • Do a detailed walk-through of the premises and report any damage to moving company
  • Transfer your insurance to the new location
  • Obtain Certificates of Insurance from your insurance company
  • Confirm termination of old leases
  • Collect parking passes, security cards and keys for the old facility. Confirm the return of any deposits held by the landlord for these items
  • Audit final invoices against contracts
  • Complete and file all warranty information for all new furniture and equipment
  • Update fixed asset accounting system for any new furniture and equipment purchased
  • Confirm the change-of-address corrections made
  • Schedule press release and client announcement

In case you missed it, get all of these points in a checklist format with our office relocation checklist.

A business relocation plan may involve numerous tasks and cover thousands of items, even in the case of a small business. 

A business relocation checklist template would include the following points:

  • Timeline for the move. What, when, and where will be moved.
  • An accurate record of all items you move.
  • A list for labeling each box or package.
  • A list of people in charge of each stage of the move.

Do not forget about the moving insurance which is actually a must have for many business. Cleaning up your last office location is another task you should have on your list. Really, any office move is a stressful experience but if you equip yourselves with a comprehensive office move plan and have thorough checklist in place, you can make more pleasant and, which is more important, quite more efficient.

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