Planning an office move is both exciting and stressful—and if you’re an office manager, it’s probably more stressful for you than almost anyone else. Whatever your company’s reason for moving (whether it’s to relocate to a more convenient locale, or to scale the org up or down), the task won’t be a small one. And the breadth of factors to consider can become even more staggering when you’re constrained by a tight budget and/or a time crunch. Luckily, we have a few tips that’ll make your move as frictionless as possible.
Having a sizeable buffer of time before the big move is the key to making the transition less of a hassle. Unless you’re moving into a turnkey, pre-furnished space, you’ll want to start the moving process four to six months before your projected move-in date. We recommend that you pick a convenient time six months in advance—a good rule of thumb is to choose a 2-3-week period in which there are no big client or board meetings and no important deadlines. Check in with stakeholders from each team to find a window of time that everyone can comfortably plan around.
Because there’s so much more that goes into relocating a business than a residence, you’ll want to err on the earlier side when it comes to hiring movers. Aim to hire one to three months in advance, depending on the scale of your move.
Before contacting movers, determine your budget and the type of moving services your business will need. If convenience is king, you may want to look into experienced full-service movers who will take care of everything for you, including packing and unpacking. SMBs in expensive markets like New York City, where office space can cost up to $80/square foot, might prioritize being economical and prefer to get as much done in-house as possible. For this, consider project-based office relocation services.
Once you hire movers, you’ll want to provide them with detailed layouts and floor plans of both your current and your new office as soon as possible. And because you’re better off safe than sorry, take the necessary precautions: Request the movers’ insurance information in advance, and ensure that the floor and walls will be protected to avoid damage during moving.
The move should interfere with productivity as little as possible, so you’ll want to let employees know about it well in advance. Communicate all crucial details of the move to everyone at the company, so they can take the necessary steps at their leisure.
You should also involve IT team members when touring viable office spaces, as they’ll need to assess the new space and make sure that all the right infrastructure is in place to accommodate your business’s technology. You don’t want to be locked into a lease when you realize that a space isn’t right for your company’s tech needs.
Optimize for organization
A big move presents a great opportunity to do a little spring cleaning. When packing up the office, throw away any old materials that are no longer necessary—when unpacking, your future self will thank you. Ditching the nonessentials will make you more efficient, thereby making it easier to stay organized.
Other organizational tips include labelling or color-coding all your boxes, so that you aren’t stuck trying to remember what goes where in the new space. Employees can write their names on their boxes for movers to match to a seating chart and place in the correct spot—this will help avoid a frenzy of people looking for their belongings.
You’ll want to get in front of updating your address information well before relocation, so that you’re not getting mail or clients showing up to your old address. Update your Google business listing at least three weeks in advance; if you’re not eligible to verify changes by phone or email, you’ll need to verify by mail, which can take up to two weeks (and we always recommend building a buffer for those just-in-case situations!) Make sure that any other directories, in which your business is listed, get updated as well and that all clients are notified. Additionally, as soon as your lease terms are squared away, start updating your printed materials—business cards, sales collateral, and anything else with the company address on it.
Above all, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to prepare for any unexpected considerations that may arise, and that you’re communicating with stakeholders along the way. Though this process may feel overwhelming, our tips above will set you up for a stress-free move.
SquareFoot is a commercial real estate technology firm dedicated to finding the perfect office space for businesses as they evolve. Based in New York City, SquareFoot uses smart tools to aggregate listings throughout the U.S. and Canada.