Moving to a new office space because of downsizing or upgrading is a monumental task that involves more stresses than moving your home. You cannot just shut down your business for a week, but you cannot really conduct normal business either. Moving an entire office is a state of limbo that is undeniably frustrating for everyone involved.
During the process, overall production is reduced because of the move itself, and because computer networks need to be re-established and office furniture needs to be re-organized to fit the new space. We are here to help. Follow our tips to ensure a smooth move from the initial planning to reestablishing order on the other end of the chaotic journey to your new work home.
Plan the Move to Your New Office
While it can be an exciting time to exit the old office for new opportunities, there are many things that a business owner or operations manager must consider to ensure an efficient move to the new office. First, plan early and plan with key members of your organization. With a move of this size, you cannot wing it; you will need three to five months to prepare everything if you want a perfect move.
Every critical member of the office must take on a portion of the overall responsibility of the move with key deadlines included. You will also need a “moving manager” that is not the most-important person in the building. Your operations people need to conduct important business, so assign a responsible person to take on the task, and make sure the person knows that the move is their number one priority until the transition is complete.
Furthermore, this process involves a blueprint of the new office, and an outline of where you will place teams and their office furniture, as well as where you will place common areas, for maximum returns for your business. Finally, you must establish a moving budget and work out the costs in a spreadsheet, and do your very best to not stray far from the maximum amount allowed. Show discipline.
Find a Reputable Office-Moving Company
When hiring a great office moving company to transport your entire business to its new residence, find a reliable mover with a stellar track record. Recommendations from people you know who have done this type of move are your best bet, but reading reviews on Yelp and Google are also useful. You can spend a day reading through the reviews of the most popular moving companies, and doing that is a good thing. While researching companies, find five professional office movers that you feel meet your early requirements and then interview all of them for additional measure.
While interviewing potential office moving companies ask the following questions to verify the company’s competence and credibility:
- Ask your potential movers if they use staff employees or outsource their moving crews. If the moving company subcontracts the work, they might provide less-reliable service. Moving companies who use staff moving crews hold them to a higher standard, and hold them accountable for their actions, which is hard to do with freelance help. In addition, employed staff members usually have to get background checks and drug tests.
- Ask your potential mover if how they train their moving crews and how much experience they have. The moving company you choose should have professionally trained movers with lots of experience.
- Ask your potential mover how they protect against loss and damage of your office’s possessions, especially fragile furniture and equipment. If you are dealing with a reputable moving company, they can answer this question quickly and in detail.
- Ask your potential mover about insurance options. What basic insurance coverage does the company supply, and what options are available to purchase supplemental coverage? You should cover all of your office assets in case of accidental damage or theft.
After you interview the five potential candidates, narrow your choices to the three best companies. Then, get in-person estimates. A professional moving company realizes the importance of an onsite estimate for such a large move. Get the three bids in writing, and read every bit of fine print, looking for hidden fees and unusual language that requires additional clarification. From there, choose the best moving company that fits your move’s budget.
Consider hiring an all-inclusive moving company that charges by the hour. For example, Royal Moving and Storage, a professional moving services company with offices all along the west coast from California to Washington, offers an hourly rate that covers everything from packing material to fuel, and never charges an additional amount for stairs or other obstacles. Furthermore, commercial relocation is a specialized field, and Royal Moving has the required expertise and experience to manage the move and relocate your business in an efficient and cost-effective manner, while minimizing the interference that comes along with a move of this magnitude.
Finally, it is important to hire a moving company a few months before you move. Therefore, as soon as you know your move date, schedule a professional moving company. If you do not, you reduce your choices, which might force you to hire a company that is not at the top of your list.
Efficiently Packing Your Office
It is in your best interest to have your staff pack their offices and desks, with proper labeling that no one can confuse. If a third-party company packs your office, you create a mess when you get to the new building. Everyone will be searching for her or his belongings, which will create chaos and reduce production. In fact, you might even have your employees personally carry the few boxes that are “crucial” to working on “Day 1” of the move.
Also, when packing, take pictures of the full boxes before your employees secure them shut, and place the photo in a database along with a detailed description of whom the box belongs to, and where it goes within the office building. In fact, inventory each box, each piece of furniture, and every piece of equipment, so that if something is lost or broken by the moving company, you have the required information to file a claim to replace the item.
Understand the New Building’s Regulations
Some office buildings have certain rule regarding a move. There are often restrictions on the days and the time of day in which a company can move into the building. There might be restrictions on freight elevators, and sometimes, you have to reserve it. Also, discuss the guidelines for parking. Where can the moving trucks park? Find out beforehand, so that your movers have a good place to park to satisfy an efficient move.
Get Your IT in Order When Moving Your Office
Your technology drives your business if you are operating in the 21st Century, and more than any other issue, your IT situation needs to be in order well in advance of your move. How will you disconnect your technology, and how will you reconnect it on the other end? Your IT department must put together an exceptional plan, and a budget for executing that plan. Transitioning your IT to a new building is a huge job that includes computers, servers, phones, and the connectivity of it all. Is there ample wiring and outlets? What is already available and what can the office building support? As with an IT issue, this might be a huge chunk of your moving budget. A move also provides a good time to donate, recycle, or sell old equipment, and upgrade to new technology, which might cost a bit on the front end, but save dollars (and make more dollars) in the long run. There are companies that will buy your outdated IT with the plan to harvest the precious metals and other components.
Downsize Your Office Equipment
There is no need to move any item in your office that does not have a place or a use. This is the time to go through every nook in your office, and go through every dusty box, and get rid if useless items. Do not clutter your new office with outdated or broken items that serve no purpose to anyone on the other end.
The first step in downsizing is to take measurements of your current office and your new place of business to establish how much space you have available after the move. It is only practical to reduce your belongings by the percentage of space you are losing. In other words, you must adjust your office furniture according to the scale of the new office, or the difference in square footage.
As you downsize, take on one room or area at a time, and do not attempt to do all of the downsizing in one day because it is not practical, or possible. Make a schedule, and spend a few hours at a time going through each space in your office. Start with the least trafficked areas, and then move to the spaces your employees use the most.
Never create a “maybe” pile. There are no open-ended choices when downsizing. In other words, use the OHIO rule, “Only Handle It Once”. Moving your items from pile to pile consumes too much time, and sometimes, gets you nowhere and makes you want to quit.
Use a two-year rule when determining what to keep, from manuals, to a box of cords, to an old coffee machine. If you have not used an item in two years, get rid of it. If you have two of the same item, one of them must go. Furthermore, do not keep broken times. In fact, just throw them away or recycle broken things, because no charity organization takes broken items.
As discussed, if an electronics recycling company will buy and pick up your old equipment, that is your best bet. You can sell other items on an Internet store. Here are some places where you can deal office items that you do not want anymore on the Web:
Most charity organizations will pick up items if you have enough to make it worthwhile to them. So, get all of your donated items together, schedule a pick-up, and do it only once to save yourself the time. Also, remember to get a donation voucher from the charity and deduct the value of the items from your yearly taxes. Here are some donation centers:
- Habitat for Humanity
- The Salvation Army
Moving your entire office is a headache, but you are doing it for a good reason, either to grow or create a more efficient business machine. To make it come together with few hitches, assign a moving manager, get key players involved, plan early, and meet at least once a week to go over any new issues in order to brainstorm solutions and fix problems quickly. Do not allow any small to big issue slop through the cracks. Stay diligent and vigilant from day one and you will find a smooth road with few speed bumps.
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