Office relocation can be an exciting time for any business owner. Consider this a great opportunity to retrospect and to determine what’s lacking in your current workplace. Doing this will help you design your new workplace to cater to the anticipated growth of your brand.
However, office relocation can be a daunting task, for many different reasons. This is just a process, like any other process. Breaking it down into a series of simple tasks will ensure that your relocation is on time, within the budget, and hassle-free.
Assess the motives to move
Moving office spaces is a big change in the evolution of any business, and big changes tend to be risky. Before you start with short-listing locations and properties for your new office, make sure you know exactly why you think a move is necessary and essential for your business. Some of these reasons should include:
- Lower property costs – Rising real estate costs can force a company to move to a new space. If the rent of the current space is high and ever-increasing, search for cost-effective alternatives with lower/similar rent but better amenities.
- Closer proximity to talent – Finding qualified, skilled employees can be a struggle if your office is in a remote location or requires a long commute. In this scenario, moving to a more central district is definitely more convenient for your present and future employees.
- Opportunity for business growth – You settled on your current location when you were getting started with your business. It’s possible that you now realize that your current location is limiting the growth of your business and isn’t the best place to develop your brand.
Discuss the move
Big decisions, like office relocation for instance, will greatly impact your stakeholders and employees, and hence, should be discussed with both parties.
- Engage your staff by conducting a company-wide town hall where you can present all possible locations for the move.
- Display pictures of the various spaces you’ve shortlisted and discuss the pros and cons of each location.
- Encourage your employees to be frank and share their thoughts around the potential locations.
- If you have board members and stakeholders, prepare a presentation about the office relocation, so that they can advise you on which location may be best suited for your business.
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Start planning early
When it comes to moving to a new office space, there’s no such thing as “winging it”. In most cases, starting over in another workspace is a decision that is usually preempted before the expiry of a current lease or a looming lease break. Start planning the entire process early enough, or you’ll find yourself scrambling at the last minute.
- Set aside at least a few months to efficiently plan your office relocation, and a couple of more months to get everything set up and ready to go.
- In addition to figuring out how you’ll get everything ready for moving day, you’ll also want to have a plan in place for where things will go when you arrive at your new office space.
- Assign moving roles among the staff. Choose a person who can multitask and is senior enough in the organization to be your “move champ” and to spearhead the “move team”.
- It’s also important to know how much you’ll have to spend on the move, so don’t forget to account for your moving budget.
Budget the costs
As tempting as it may sound, going down the cheaper route to save money can lead to issues that could end being expensive and time-consuming. Work with your office administrators to create a budget for the move so you are certain you can afford it. The budget should cover various costs like:
- The cost of hiring a good real estate broker – A good broker will help you land a good property that satisfies your business needs without going over the budget.
- The cost of hiring professional movers – If you want your costly, heavy equipment to reach your new office unscathed, avoid hiring amateur movers.
- The cost of down-time – Think about how your business is going to operate during the move so that you can ensure minimal non-operational days while the office is being set up at the new location.
Draft a concrete relocation plan
Once you’re sure that you’re moving out of your current workspace, it’s time to chalk out a detailed plan to go about it. A good plan takes into account employee needs, client needs and partner relations along with logistical needs to clear out the current location and set up shop at the new one. Although the “right” plan may vary from business to business, adhere to this checklist and you should be good to go.
- Evaluate your existing inventory – Take a tour of your entire workplace and you’ll know exactly which items need to be moved. Make a list of all your stationery and utilities that will certainly be essential at the new space. This is also the time to start organizing all your important documents and to stack them up neatly so they don’t get lost during the move. Ensure that your office pantry isn’t stocked with perishable items as the moving date comes closer.
- Create a timeline for the move – Be realistic about how much time you will need to move everything to the new space. A small business with a small office needs about 3-4 months to prepare for this process, while a medium/large organization may need 6-8 months. With that in mind, you should ideally know who will be moving all your things 6 months in advance. As the big day approaches, ask your staff to pack up their personal spaces which should reduce the number of items and the effort required to move.
- Plan your new space – Once you’ve determined the timeline for the move, sit down with your interior designer and your department heads to create a floor plan of your new office. Consider the most practically efficient way to figure out where each department will be situated. For example, the most optimal location for the IT department should be next to the server room. You may also want to consider switching to an open floor plan instead of cubicles to foster more communication.
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Plan an organized relocation
Sooner or later, the dreaded deadline date will arrive. When it does, you need to be sure that you and everyone else associated with the relocation is on their A-game. Here are some pointers to ensure that your office relocation is smooth and seamless.
- Relocate during a low period – Depending upon the nature of your business, relocating offices will result in a brief down-time for your operations. Hence, plan the move during a slow period for your business. In an ideal scenario, moving offices should take place in January, as most businesses are often slow after the Christmas season.
- Make sure everything fits – You may be keen on bringing that massive fridge to your new space, but the dimensions of the new kitchen might not allow it. Instead of wasting time, effort and money on transporting items that aren’t going to fit, compare the measurements of the largest items at your current workplace (like conference room tables) against the measurements of your next location.
- Don’t forget I.T. – Most modern-day companies are essentially non-operational without a decent I.T. infrastructure. If your business relies on I.T. as most offices do, arrange for your I.T. department to move into your new space first. This will ensure that your business is up and running in no time, once all the other teams get settled. This would also be the perfect time to consider and arrange for any upgrades to your present tech. equipment.
- Get moving insurance – You will have all your equipment and tech. gear insured if you work with professional packers and movers. If the party responsible for moving your stuff cannot provide insurance for it, talk to your company’s insurance provider about moving insurance.
Celebrate your space
Moving into a new workplace will mark the beginning of a new era, both for you and the people you work with. Office relocation can be a stressful affair for everyone involved. As a special “thank-you” for everyone’s cooperation for making it happen, celebrate your new space. Budget in a small party once everything is set up. It doesn’t have to be anything major – even a mid-day celebration lunch some time over the course of the first week in the new office works. This will show your employees how much you appreciate their help, and they will be excited to get down to work at the new office.
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