When a company decides to relocate their office space, it is an exciting time for their employees. Changing a work environment can have benefits for any organization. It is a time for the implementation of new processes and can be a morale and productivity booster. But, moving an office can become a huge undertaking for the employee who is put in charge of managing the monumental task. Communication, prioritization, and planning can cause undue stress for anyone regardless of their experience or skill level. Whether you are moving a corporate headquarters or a small office, the following are pieces of advice on how you can ensure a successful office move.
Selecting your new space and creating a floorplan
You may be starting with a blank space or you could be moving into an office space that was previously configured for another organization, either way, you are probably going to need to reconfigure your new space to best meet the needs of your company. You must first consider if this reconfiguration is going to be cosmetic or if a general contractor will need to be involved. If the space requires building individual offices, break rooms, or other space such as conference areas, starting with a general contractor with a good reputation should be your first step. Asking for references from other companies can ensure you hire a reliable general contractor. If no renovations are needed, you should begin with a floor plan which provides a sketch of each employee’s work space and miscellaneous spaces (kitchen, bathrooms, server/IT rooms, etc.). This can be done by the project administrator themselves or by hiring a professional space planner. This is a great time to see if your existing furniture will fit, if you will have to purchase additional items or if you need to purchase all new furniture. It is also important to take into consideration any growth your organization may have during this planning stage. Making sure the space is properly configured for your company’s needs can ultimately save money by eliminating future changes to the space.
Hiring professional installers, office movers, and working with other vendors
Moving your ISP and phone services – This part of the project usually requires the most notice to your providers (at least 30 day but 60 days to be safe as the waiting list to have it installed could be quite long). You should contact your current ISP and phone provider as soon as you know your office will be relocating. You should ensure that they provide service at your new location, verify the length of your contract, and contact new providers if your current providers do not provide service in your new area. This is a great time to discuss contracts and pricing as well as considering increasing your bandwidth. With new technologies such as cloud computing, mobile BYOD (bring your own device), and a growing mobile workforce, this is a great time to plan for the future of your business.
Hiring a cabling provider – If you have any existing IT provider they may provide this service or can help you to find a vendor in your area. Most new offices will need new cabling, new drops, jacks, face plates, and patch cables. A simple walkthrough with your cabling provider can help them determine if you need Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling and whether conduit or other infrastructure needs to be installed. This is also dependent on your floor plan. As you can see, doing things in a particular order is important. The cabling and ISP/phone installation needs to be in place and tested before moving any network/IT infrastructure. This is a great time to consider moving phone service to new platforms such as Skype for Business and/or integrate video conferencing and instant message services to improve internal and external communications.
Moving your network/IT hardware – Informing your current IT provider or contacting a provider in your area should be next on your list. Hardware such as servers, firewalls, switches, racks, and other expensive and fragile equipment can be damaged by office movers and is rarely insured. This is a wonderful time to look at upgrading antiquated equipment, ensuring that all equipment is under an active warranty, and decommissioning any equipment that is no longer in use. It is also important to make sure all of your necessary data is backed up prior to the move as well. Also, consider the need for an electrician at this time as large network equipment such as UPS battery backup systems may need special outlets installed if they are not available in the new space. Next, consider any HVAC and ventilation needs in your server room/closet (servers cannot withstand excessive heat and this equipment also puts off a lot of heat as well). Consider using an audio/visual consultant to move any large televisions, audio equipment, Smart Board technology, or other equipment not supported by your IT provider.
Moving security systems – Most likely you will need to involve whomever installed this equipment originally to move the hardware. It is also a great time to make sure your equipment is under warranty, is up to date, and does not need to be replaced. You will also need to consider adding or removing cameras and other security hardware depending on if you are moving to a larger or smaller space. And, at the risk of sounding repetitious, this is also a good time to review your contract.
Moving your desktops, laptops and printers – Most office movers can move this type of equipment, but, if you have a service contract with a printing company they can also move your printing/copying equipment as well. Most likely, your IT provider will need to be involved in this portion of the move as well to re-establish connectivity of all devices once they arrive at the new location. Your IT provider can also usually provide this service as well.
Moving office furniture and/or company signage – Hiring professional office movers is always the best option. These companies tend to be bonded and insured along with having many years of experience. Your location Better Business Bureau or fellow business owners can be the best source to find a qualified office moving company. Make a list of all of the items that need to be moved (including your exterior or interior signage) and provide this list to the moving company to ensure the most accurate quote possible.
Miscellaneous vendors – Although often overlooked, you may need to consider notifying or changing vendors such as janitorial services or vending machine providers. Once again review your current contracts and contact them to see if they provide service in your new location. You will also need to make sure couriers such as UPS, FedEx and the USPS know when to stop picking up or delivering to your old location and begin at the new location. Lastly, make sure your website, flyers, stationary, business cards and other branded items get updated with your company’s new address and phone/fax numbers.
**All vendors should provide a project plan, statement of work or other form of documentation telling you exactly what you are paying for and any down payments that are required.
Organization, Archiving, and Destruction of Antiquated Paperwork or Hardware
Moving provides the perfect time to get organized. Consider archiving old data from your server, hiring a shredding company to shred outdated documents, decommissioning old hardware and donating unused office furniture and supplies to a local charity. This will help to ensure that your new office space is clutter-free and productive from the very beginning.
The Big Grand Finale: Moving Day
Finally, after months of planning, moving day has arrived. This is normally the most chaotic day your company will experience. But, with proper communication to staff members and a company organization plan, this too can be a stress-free day. Start by creating a well thought out announcement to help employees pack and label their items and distribute a timeline for the week prior to the move. Provide boxes and other storage to your staff members to pack their personal and work items. Create a number or color-coded system to ensure the boxes get placed into the corrected rooms/areas by the movers (make sure the movers have a copy of this as well). Lastly, try to schedule your key providers (IT, printing, other contractors as needed) to be on-site the day of the move to help resolve last minute issues. In closing, remember that an office move is exciting for your employees, celebrate the day and your company’s achievements, and enjoy your new, up-to-date, organized office space with increased sales and company profit!