Office moves always start out with excitement. The thrill of a larger space, upgraded amenities, or a better location are exactly why companies expand to a new location. But after your search, endless tours, negotiations over lease agreements, and finally signing the paperwork, the actual work begins.
First thing first, you’ll need a comprehensive relocation plan, which will help guide your organization through the physical move and ensure continuity of business.
Business Relocation Plan Checklist – 24-36 Weeks Prior
Define Your Scope, Timeline, Budget, and Key Players
While no move is easy or perfect, the more you plan ahead, the better the transition will be. That means bringing in your key players who will carry the load to ensure as few balls get dropped as possible. There are other considerations as well – you’ll need to arrange for movers (or arrange for new furniture and equipment), transfer your systems and data to the new location, and move your company’s business phones and internet services to the new office. You’ll also want to establish a timeline for the move and prepare your customers, vendors, partners, and associates for any outages or delays in services in the interim and provide them with your new contact details.
Once your timeline is defined, it’s time to give notice to your current landlord so they can prepare to show your location to new prospects.
Inventory, Tour, and Assess
Before you put everything on the truck, take stock of every major item in your company’s inventory to ensure your team will have what it needs when you open up shop. With that information in stock, conduct another tour of the new space, taking into account what you’ll need to upgrade or replace upon taking occupancy. This will also help you plan what to order ahead of time and begin planning your new equipment budget.
Confirm Damage Claims and Monitor Repair Process
Most commercial lease agreements contain a clause regarding known damages and necessary repairs outside of the buildout conditions, meaning you’ll want to monitor the damage repairs before you take occupancy of the property – whether you pay for it out of your side or the landlord does. The buildout should have clearly defined timelines for progress and completion, but ensuring a regular update with the landlord and/or the contractor will give you better insight into the project’s current status.
Initial Preparation – 16-20 Weeks Prior
Prepare Your Continuity of Business Plan
Preparing your key business coordinators for a continuity plan over a move is essential – perhaps the most critical step in the process. You’ll want to make sure each key client and partner is ready and aware of the move and your change of address. Keep them abreast of potential changes or improvements to your services as a result of the move; you should also ensure they’re aware of where and how you can be reached by mail or in-person and when.
Secondly, your IT team should have a plan ready for an office move, ensuring key systems and data are ready and available for employees on day one. Network and system testing should be completed before move-in, so providing a separate timeline for your IT team to access the new facility will ensure a smooth transition.
Prep Your Team
Once you’ve established your timeline and gotten the logistics covered, it’s time to inform your staff of the move and to prepare them for a shiny new space. They’ll have plenty of questions, so gathering details about commuting options, parking availability, building access, and new features will help you better inform them of the upgrade. Chances are, your team will be more excited about an office move than you are, but it’s important to provide them with as many details as possible. Where will they sit? What’s the arrangement? When can we see the new space? What kind of new amenities will we see? These are important details to provide to your employees as soon as you’re ready.
Organize Your Correspondences
If you’re like any other business, you’re likely getting a lot of mail, phone calls, and visitors. Be sure to update your online directory listings, perform a change of address process with USPS, UPS, and FedEx, and reach out to your trusted clients and partners so they don’t show up to your old address after you’ve vacated the premises.
Final Preparations – 1-8 Weeks Prior
Organize Artwork, Plants, and Aesthetic Enhancements
Now that you’ve taken account of your system-critical equipment (computers, networking, furniture, etc.), taking a fine brush to the details of your new space is a good way to refresh – or keep consistent – your company’s office environment. Whether that means moving your artwork (safely and insured) or repotting your plants, you’ll want to fine-tune those details with your office manager or coordinators.
Provide Move Communication Packets to Employees
While you’ve done the company-wide meeting to inform your employees of details of the move and to take questions, you’ll want to provide a detailed outline for everyone’s first day at the new office. This will help with a sense of security in the move, allow them to plan their commute, and what to expect from their first day in a new space. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but any new building or office policies implemented as part of the move should be included.
Prepare Movers for Equipment Placement and Setup
If you haven’t already, a great way to prep your movers and IT team for a new office layout is to develop a new floor plan and seating arrangement. Each workstation should be as each employee left it at the previous location, and details for each person’s’ unique desk setups should be included in this plan to avoid day-one headaches.
Prep and Protect
Valuable or delicate equipment should be properly packed to ensure no damage takes place during the move. Furthermore, freight elevators, trucks, and doorways should be protected against accidental damage during the move. You’ll want to monitor the status of the movers closely and check inventory contents as they’re loaded into each moving truck. Next, on your last day at the old office, security/door keys and passes should be collected from each employee while you distribute credentials for the new facility.
Conduct Final Walkthrough
Once you’ve cleared out and had everything moved onto trucks, it’s time to ensure you haven’t missed anything. Make sure the old location is operational, clean, and functional and report any discrepancies to your current landlord. Finally, the bill of lading (which is usually included as a stipulation in a mover’s contract) should be finalized before closing up shop on the old location and moving onto the next.
Congratulations! You’ve accomplished a huge feat in relocating to a new space and now it’s time to celebrate. Whether you choose to organize a move-in day lunch or christen the occasion with champagne (or both), it’s a monumental time in the history of your company and one that’s worth honoring. We’ll leave the party planning up to you.