Moving offices, whether for expansion, geography or other reasons is a big job, involving everyone in the organisation to a smaller or larger degree. It’s normally a crucial step in the growth of the company, so how can you make sure it all goes to plan?
While this might go without saying, the more planning you can do in advance, the smoother the office moving process will be. Well before you sign on the dotted line at your new premises, work out what your company will need from new office space not just in the next couple of years, but long-term as well. Is it worth finding a much larger place to encompass more ambitious expansion? Do you need to be closer to national or international transport links like airports, train stations or motorways? Do you want to eventually own your office building or are you happy to stay in a medium or long-term lease agreement? When do you need to move by and, perhaps most importantly, what is your budget?
People tend to be inherently suspicious of change, so a physical upheaval in their working lives of this nature must be handled sensitively. Get all staff involved from the start by canvassing opinions and ideas and finding out what they want from the move on a more personal level. You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but they will feel more appreciated if you at least show interest in their views and explain the rationale behind the decisions that are made. Many will end up welcoming the chance for a fresh start in a new location with shiny new desks, chairs and drawers to fill.
It is a good idea to put together a small project management team specifically for the office move, calling on people who have the right logistical experience, organisational skills and patient approach. They should be put in place as early on in the process as possible and given enough responsibility to fulfil the administrative, recruitment and financial duties associated with their task. As well as sorting out physical logistics, they will need to oversee communications about the move, agree on timescales and manage the redistribution of equipment, furniture, IT and other office resources, once they are on the new site.
Work with professionals
While your project management team will play a large role in the move, it is also a good idea to add extra resources in the form of professional office movers or an external project manager. They can help by planning and oversee the move, finalising the red tape, packing and unpacking items and protecting the agreed budgets and timescales. They can also take pressure off any internal project team members who have other deadlines and duties associated with their normal day jobs to achieve in the same time period. Calling in professional office designers and furniture buyers can help get things laid out and set up properly at the other end so that the new office can look attractive to clients and visitors and offer maximum functionality to staff and contractors from the word ‘go’.