One of the most important components of planning an office relocation is laying out a structured timeline, which outlines all the tasks to be completed leading up to, during, and even after, this major transition. While each situation may bring its own unique factors, setting up a proposed schedule is universally useful in minimizing potential stress and unnecessary corporate upheaval.
While not all office moves have the luxury of a leisurely window of time during which to prepare, those that can be planned six to 12 months out are ideal. This leaves adequate time to shop for a new location and weigh the options, choosing the one that best suits your particular needs. Likewise, if it’s possible to move during a “down time” in your business cycle, this can greatly minimize corporate inconveniences.
Approximately six months in advance of the designated move-in date, measures should be taken to create an estimated budget overview, taking into consideration the cost of an office redesign, required insurance, trash disposal, utilities, information and communications technology (ICT) providers, and updated marketing materials, along with the fulfillment of the current leasing agreement.
Most businesses in this day and age would be paralyzed without technology, so it’s vital to lay the framework for an office connectivity plan as early as possible, preferably about four months out. At this time, a blueprint for internet, phone service, data, IT resourcing, power and cabling should be laid out, to be followed up on as the day grows closer.
Interim office move planning should be next on the agenda, with a rough design of the new office layout and seating plan beginning to take shape about one to three months prior. Consideration should be given to internal communication, service providers, marketing material updates that will have to be made, as well as compiling a master inventory list.
One month prior, you should start to focus on moving day preparations, including putting together a schedule, organizing postage redirection, client/vendor notifications—through multiple channels, several times leading up to the move—setting up new building access, and assessing the need for office supplies.
Fast forward to the week of the move, and any miscellaneous final details should be wrapped up, taking in the remainder of the packing and labeling process, a final site inspection, call redirecting/porting, and testing of any IT functionality. It’s best to have one key person in charge of each department or division of the company, to streamline employee communications—and create individual checklists—during this hectic period.
This is when it’s recommended to begin packing the nonessential items, to avoid being overwhelmed at the last minute.
Once the big day arrives, the most important task is ensuring that all furniture and belongings are safely transported to the new site, where they can be systematically unloaded and set up in a strategic manner. This is where having your inventory list comes in handy, as a means of confirming that each item is accounted for.
Any of the more personal possessions, as well as plants and particularly fragile decor, should be transported separately by a designated staff member. IT setup, as well, is best handled by a person with expertise in this field, to ensure that all components are properly assembled. Technical equipment such as monitors, keyboards, mouses, wiring, headsets, and phones should be appropriately labeled with the employee's name, department, and floor, if applicable.
Communication is Key
The most critical aspect of the entire process is communication, from the staff and clients, all the way down to the general public. By holding regular staff meetings to keep employees up to date on the progress of the timeline, to ensuring that all customers and vendors are informed as soon as possible via phone calls, emails, mailed announcements, social posts and more, any minor inconveniences or interruptions in service will be much easier to absorb.
Once you’re settled in, don’t forget to make updates to email signatures, letterheads, business cards, website footers, and social media accounts, to maintain continuity and ensure that no elements slip through the cracks.