First Steps to Planning a Business Move
If you need to move your business, the best place to start to plan how to pack and move is right here.
I’ve had a lot of requests from individuals who have been given the task of moving their company office and while moving an office is a large undertaking that may require additional help in the form of other colleagues (creating a committee) or by hiring professional packers, for the purposes of just getting you started on your office move, we will begin with some basic steps to start the moving process.
Plan the Move
Create a timeline that will allow for all the necessary stages of your move. This will need to be discussed with the rest of your moving team or with the managers and supervisors to ensure that it is feasible.
For a small office, you’ll need at least three months to prepare and for a medium to large office, at least six to eight months. The key is to start as early as possible.
The next step is to collect all information on the new space. Try to acquire blue prints or floor layout so you can identify key components such as electrical outlets, storage space, etc. and most importantly, to determine the new office layout. It is also a good idea to have a general layout plan for your current space so you can compare the two; if there are areas in the current office that are not working, identify them so that they can be resolved in your new space.
Also make a list of potential problems with the new space, such as a smaller reception area or less storage area or perhaps a larger open space that may require more cubicles or temporary walls.
It may be necessary to hire carpenters or painters if walls need to be constructed or painted. This may have been addressed when the new space was acquired, but just make sure that no additional construction or cosmetic changes need to be completed prior to the move.
Gather Your Team
For medium to large offices, I recommend appointing (or ask for volunteers), someone from each department or division to coordinate their particular area.
This could be assigned to the department supervisor or manager who can then ensure that each employee takes responsibility for packing their desk, files and personal items. For smaller offices, you may be on your own. If so, identify a few key people who may be able to help with coordinating the move.
Your team can also assist in identifying current issues with the old space and provide possible solutions for the new office. This is a great way to incorporate other viewpoints and to achieve consensus on the move if some are not quite excited about the change.
Have Regular Meetings
In your schedule, set regular meetings and make sure that employees are notified of meeting details and to ensure everyone knows what they need to do to pack up their office or workspace. It is important to keep everyone informed to limit any worries or concerns; moving is stressful for everyone involved especially if decisions are not being communicated.
Determine Your Budget
If you have a specific budget amount assigned for your move, it will be important to identify costs before you hire movers, or even before you pack the first box.
Have your moving committee create a list of tasks that need to be completed and make sure they are added to the time line/schedule. You may require specialty service providers, such as telephone line installers or computer network specialists. Ask each department manager or supervisor what is required from their area. Make sure common areas are covered, such as the reception area, lobby, and storage areas.
One of the most critical tasks is to hire the movers. There are moving companies that specialize in office moves. Just make sure you do your research, ask the right questions, and have the company come to your office to assess your move. Like any household move, you need to make sure the company is reliable and that you are receiving the best service for the cost.
Make a Contact List
You’ll need to make sure that everyone you do business with, both suppliers and clients, know that you’re moving. It’s a good idea to assign this task to one person to oversee. Notifying customers and clients requires specific communications around where you’re moving to and how business will operate during the move. Such information is essential to ensure your customers don’t go elsewhere for your services.
CHECKLIST FOR MOVING YOUR OFFICE
- Set moving date. Each person should pack his/her own office the day before the move.
- If new space requires remodel, ask for staff input on their work area requirements.
- Be sure you have sufficient electrical, telephone, and cable capabilities for current and future needs.
Notification of Move
- Advise current clients of upcoming move several weeks before the move. Give clients directions or map to new location. Update map and directions on firm web site, if applicable.
- Get a small red stamp that says, “Note new address.” Use this next to letterhead on all correspondence mailed for the first couple of months after the move. People tend to use addresses from computerized address books and may not make the change when they receive a formal notice of a move.
- Have your receptionist incorporate a message regarding the move when answering phone calls.
- Change the recorded phone message for the office main number to include a notification of the new location.
- Order and be prepared to mail formal notices of the move as soon as the move is complete to:
• Former clients
• Others you do business with
- Contact your telephone company. Do this as soon as you know you are moving because you want to be sure your new phones are installed by the time you move. Also, you will need to be sure you meet the deadline for advertising in the next year’s phone book. If you must change your phone number, arrange for a referral message to be placed on your prior phone number. Check if automatic forwarding is available. Call your old phone number to insure that your requested message or message and automatic call forward service is in place.
- Notify post office and arrange for forwarding of mail.
- Notify insurance company of new address.
- Arrange for new business cards to be printed. Also, letterhead, envelops, etc. if you don’t use computer-generated letterhead.
- Arrange for new signs on door, building, etc.
- Notify your website designer that your office will be moving as soon as you know you are moving to allow changes to be made to the website, including any hyperlinks to office location maps from mapping services.
- Notify any affinity group, membership organization, or marketing portal websites that list your office address of your new address and phone number.
Preparing for Moving Furniture and Equipment
- Arrange for office removalists.
- Contact telephone company about installing new lines for phone, fax, Internet, etc. Arrange for this to be done well in advance of move or you may be in new office with no phone access.
- Arrange with computer consultant to set up equipment/network at new location. Don’t plan computer upgrades to take place at time of move or you may find yourself without the use of your computers.
- Arrange with copier company to have the copier set up at the new location.
- Decide on layout of furniture and equipment in new office. Measure spaces to insure current furniture and equipment will fit. Be sure there is adequate space around equipment for repair people to make repairs.
The Actual Move
- Each person should pack her/his office.
- Label each box and label each drawer with a corresponding number. This way the morning after the move when you absolutely have to have something you know was kept in drawer “32,” you can go to box “32” and find it.