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10 Things to Consider when Relocating Offices

Posted in Blog on Jun 13, 2016, tagged with moving tips, office moves, preparing for your move

An office move is an experience that ranges from exciting to nightmarish, depending on how well you prepare. Relocating offices is an extraordinary event and a challenge, in large part because the office manager and the rest of the staff usually don’t have much, if any, experience in handling the job. This leaves the door open for mistakes and oversights that can be mildly irritating or catastrophic. Let’s take a look at important questions to ask and bases to cover so your office move scores a homerun.

10 Things to Consider when Relocating Offices

Preparing for a move really starts months in advance, when the on-staff project team (make sure you put someone in charge) selects the new location. Every company has different requirements based on what they offer, so a space that works for someone else may not work for you. Make sure your project team asks itself the following questions: 

  1. Space - Is the square footage adequate to accommodate current operations?

  2. Scalability - Is the square footage adequate to accommodate growth over the expected term of occupancy?

  3. Flexibility - Is it possible to downsize or expand if growth or lack of growth differs from your plan? Are lease terms renegotiable if circumstances change?

  4. Layout - Will the new space accommodate your existing office furniture?

  5. Power and connectivity - Is the power, phone and Internet infrastructure adequate to accommodate your current and future needs?

  6. Pricing and terms - Know whether the local market is a buyer’s market or seller’s market, and negotiate accordingly — and aggressively. Make sure you understand what services are included in the lease terms and what you are responsible for.

  7. Security - Is the property safe? Will employees be comfortable in the parking lot, public access areas and in the office?

  8. Maintenance - Is the property well maintained? Who maintains it? Check the reputation and track record of the property management firm to make sure it is committed to excellence.

  9. HVAC - Is the HVAC working? An improperly or inconsistently heated/cooled office is an all-too-common problem. You’ll greatly improve quality of life for the entire staff by making sure your new office is an HVAC superstar.

  10. Amenities - Will the office provide the “extras” that attract great new employees and keep current ones excited about their work? Things like kitchens, cafeterias, on-site exercise facilities, modern elevators and windows with views may not seem like top priority items all the time, but in the long run may prove more important than anything else.

Planning the Move

When you’ve selected the new space, ideally six to eight weeks (or more) before moving day, start planning and setting the stage for moving day activity. Important things to do:

  1. Use office blueprints to lay out all of your furniture. If things don’t fit or additional furniture is needed, consider reconfiguring furniture components (if possible) and/or research and purchase additional furniture. Some things are more time-sensitive than others; you don’t want employees sitting on the floor, but perhaps a big conference table can wait.

  2. Make sure you have everything in place for taking occupancy — insurance, an IT plan for power, Internet/phone connections and any other requirements. You’ll need to work with local Internet service providers, cable companies, etc., to have the infrastructure in place and ready when you start unpacking. The goal, of course, is to ensure no downtime or minimal downtime for phone and Internet service. Even a day or two offline is a major disruption and can be quite costly in terms of lost business.

  3. Set up your plan to advise customers, stakeholders and suppliers about your new location. Your communication plan should include website updates, email announcements, press releases, on-hold phone messages and letters to key customers.

  4. Set up your plan for integrating your new address on the website, stationery, business cards, email signatures, sales collateral, invoices and anywhere else your address appears.

  5. Prepare to vacate the old office by canceling, modifying or forwarding newspaper/magazine subscriptions, plant care contracts, cleaning service contracts, etc. Make sure to advise the post office of your move so mail doesn’t get lost or delayed in the shuffle.

  6. Select a moving and shipping company to handle the moving — and possibly the preparation of — your office relocation. Important things to consider in selecting a freight company to handle your move include:

    • Experience. Does the company specialize in office moves? If so, the company will know what to look for, making up for your lack of experience and minimizing the risk of damage and errors.
    • Track record. The competence and reliability of a shipping company can be investigated by looking at online customer reviews, reviewing the company’s website and blog, and talking to clients referred to you by the company. It’s important to investigate thoroughly. Important things to note in the shipper’s performance: Was the delivery made on schedule? Was there damage? Did the company back up its work and accept responsibility for any problems? Did the final invoice match the estimate?
    • Range of services. You may need advice or assistance in packing furniture and other items for transport. You also need to understand what specific work the shipping company will do in terms of unpacking and setting up in the new location. How much extra assistance is the shipping company able to provide? And, be sure the company’s estimate is itemized so you can tell how much each service component will cost. The last thing you want at the end of an exhausting office move is an unpleasant surprise on the shipping company’s invoice!

If you are in the early stages of planning an office relocation, or have started the process of interviewing shipping companies, now’s the time to contact shipping companies about your requirements. It is really never too early to start the selection process, as there are a lot of details to consider. Our goal is to make your office move as smooth and stress-free as possible. Because of our decades of experience, we’ve encountered just about every challenge there is — and figured out a way to overcome it.