Time is money in the business world. Every moment your office is in flux due to an impending or actual move from one space to another is lowering profit margins and productivity. Relocating an office is a multifaceted process that not only involves the physical movement of furniture and equipment, but also potential reorganization and adjustments to keep employees happy.
There is no reason for any company not to have at least six months prior notice before relocating, other than a building suddenly being condemned or destroyed by acts of god or criminals. A year is ideal for planning and executing a relocation. An administrative assistant or someone from Human Resources should be appointed the relocation manager. This person provides a single point of contact and will delegate tasks for everyone else.
The most important task in the beginning is figuring out what is going with you and where it will go in the new space. The current office lounge furniture, for instance, fits well and provides a relaxing ambience in the current room. But the new space is more open with fewer walls. Perhaps new (or at least different) lounge furniture is in order or the layout of the new space must be modified to provide the same or better environment. All practical and feasibility issues are worked out in the early stages of the move. All employees will at least have one task: packing up their own desks.
Larger offices with 50 or more employees need professional movers to ensure a smooth transition. Granted employees can volunteer to help with the move, particularly loading and unloading, in exchange for additional vacation or other perks. But you’ll want reliable professionals handling the logistical aspects involved with transporting all your equipment from one place to another.
Local movers eliminate the prospect of being duped by some shady internet company. A local company also provides the opportunity for you to check out their offices and operations to get a feel for how they do business. Make certain the company specifically handles office moves, not just residential moves. Get at least three quotes from three companies, and compare what exactly they do for each quote.
Movers transporting your office to a new state must have a license from the Department of Transportation, and a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration carrier number. Both numbers can easily be verified on the respective agencies’ websites.
Office moves can have a major effect on the work-life balance of employees, particularly if they are being asked to move to a new city or to commute several miles further. Successful companies do whatever it takes to retain top, reliable talent. The best way to ease any potential shock and anxiety from an office move is to involve employees as much as possible.
One-on-one meetings with each employee is the most personable way to obtain feedback. But surveys sent via email or creating a forum in Slack, Hive or whatever messaging and collaboration tool your company uses, will suffice as well. The latter idea keeps the process interactive and open, which may suit your company best. Managers and other decision-makers can start threads on parts of the move that can be realistically controlled as it relates to budget and space. Ask about lighting, wall colors, changing workspace needs, etc. The gesture alone will show employees that you care about their well-being.
A week before the actual move is when everyone needs to start labeling furniture, boxes, and equipment so it is delivered to the right spot in the new office. Every space in the new building should be labeled so both movers and employees know correct locations for everything.
Employees should have everything boxed up and ready to go two days before the actual move. Now is a good time to allow workers to telecommute to make loading easier for the professionals. You should photograph any existing damage at the new building to protect your company from liability, while wall and floor protectors are recommended to minimize any potential damage during the move-in process.
Finally, plan a move-in celebration. Champagne and beer is great if it fits your company culture. But a simple potluck and half day to absorb the new surroundings helps ease the transition. Welcome to your new office!