When it comes to office relocations, it’s never just as simple as organising the removalists’ trucks.
Regardless of whether you are moving to another floor in the same building, or cross-country, having an office relocation checklist is key to ensuring a smooth and organised transition.
Crafting a checklist can help minimise disruptions and risks and can ensure that both your exit from the current premises is neat and your new set up is up-and-running quickly and efficiently.
A comprehensive office relocation checklist will help you and your staff prepare for the move and ease any challenges on the day.
Planning your office relocation
There are many reasons why a business may need to relocate offices.
If a business has grown larger or faster than expected, their current office space may be squeezed for space and some additional capacity is needed.
Other times there is a change in business requirements that necessitates a move, or there are additional opportunities somewhere else.
The first step in relocating is finding a new space that meets the needs of your business. It can take weeks to months to inspect the market and find a suitable new home for your business.
It can then very easily take anywhere up to 3 months to negotiate a Heads of Agreement with the owners, and execute a lease. Depending on your requirements, it can then take up to six (6) months in the current market to design and construct a fit out.
Ensure you factor in time to organise and prepare for the office relocation, as well as time to make good on your original tenancy.
All up, it can be a process that can span anywhere up to 12 months, which is why it’s so important to lock in a comprehensive office relocation checklist.
Developing a timeline and organising logistics for an office relocation
Even if you run a small office, there are multiple variables and logistics to consider when planning for your relocation. It helps to have a timeline and plan.
Once you have locked in your preferred location, you will need to negotiate the lease terms and contracts for the new office space. This includes giving consideration to rent, the duration of the lease, lease incentives and renewal options, lease security, make good requirements, any regulatory and legal requirements.
When all that remains is the move itself, it’s important to make a final checklist and allocate resources effectively to ensure your move is successful and on budget and time.
Work backwards from the move in date and make a schedule that covers:
- Key roles and responsibilities
- IT support and logistics
- Ordering of long lead items like additional furniture and IT equipment
- Connecting your internet and phone, and updating your address
- Commissioning of utilities and services
- Staff communications
- Any make good requirements on your existing premises.
Communication and change management
Ensure clear and timely communication with your employees and your existing owner. Informing your existing owner early and providing clear information on exit dates and requirements is critical, as is keeping open channels of communication in the event of last-minute changes. This is particularly important if you have to break lease.
When it comes to employees, good change communication involves communicating openly and regularly.
Expect your staff to have many questions about the move. It can help to produce a set of frequently asked questions that they can refer to.
Consider if there are any downsides to the move and how you will address or mitigate these - for example, will there be a reduction in on-site parking available, or less amenity.
Being open about these changes and having channels for feedback can help to reduce any unwelcome surprises that could take the gloss off the move.
It’s also important to outline for employees what their obligations will be to facilitate the move. Will they have to remove and transport personal belongings, for example, how and by when?
Although these issues seem small, they have the tendency to preoccupy employees and can usually be easily managed if addressed early.
IT requirements when moving office
Managing the relocation of IT equipment is important to ensure a smooth transition to the new premises and minimise productivity losses (not to mention employee frustrations).
It is usually a good idea to relocate office IT equipment like printers, computers, servers and other devices when employees aren’t at work.
Likewise, making sure there are experts on hand to set up and test the equipment in the new location can smooth a lot of bumps.
When employees are back at their desks, it can help to have additional IT support on hand for any first day glitches. Don’t forget to ensure your internet connection is relocated or set up and is functioning as required.
Office setup and utilities
A new office is a chance for a fresh start for your business. It’s a great opportunity to take the time to reflect on the fit out, layout and design that is going to work best for your organisation and its staff.
Whether you seek expert advice or design the layout yourself, you will need to consider proximity to power points, amenities and accessibility as well as aesthetics.
Before you lock in the layout and design plan, ensure the required health and safety inspections are undertaken, including checks for compliance with building codes, accessibility requirements, emergency exit routes and safety equipment.
Then you can consider your existing furniture and equipment and see if you need to purchase anything new.
If you are planning a major redesign of the office space, make sure you budget appropriately and seek advice on how long it will take to complete the new build.
Final tips for office relocations
Office moves can be complicated, even if you are only relocating to an office within your existing building.
Taking the time to make a comprehensive plan and checklist can take much of the angst out of the moving experience and ensure a timely and smooth transition to your new premises.
If you are considering moving office premises, don’t forget to activate your discussions about insurance and security early to avoid any problems later on.
It’s especially important to get the planning and execution right when you are managing staff through what can be a major change.
The success of your new premises can be directly related to how well you prepare and care for your staff in the move and ensure - as best you can - that they can be productive in the new space from day one.