Office moves are exciting and scary at the same time. A move to a new office usually means your firm is growing and you need more space for your staff & clients. It means exciting new surroundings that should further your culture. And it may mean new capabilities. But it’s also a scary time, if for no other reason than change itself can be scary. Especially one that will affect different members of your staff in different ways. So on several levels, it’s important that your move go as smoothly as possible. That means the planning starts as soon as you decide it’s time for a new space.
Start Planning Early
Time always goes faster than you expect. It just sneaks up on you. But after helping many companies with their moves, the smoothest moves are always the best planned. The first step is to look at your current commitments. When is your lease up? If your new space is delayed, can you go month-to-month? If you’re vacating early, will you need to sublease? Do you have commitments with services such as internet, phone, or security providers? What are you on the hook for if these vendors don’t service your new location? Once you have a grasp of where you are, you’ll have a sense of any constraints on your departure from your current space.
Bring Friends When You Search - Including IT
The search is probably the most exciting part. Just like looking for a new house, you’re imagining how you and your team would function in the space. Is it big enough for everyone? Does it have enough light? Is it convenient for everyone on the team? Would it foster the culture you’ve worked so hard to build? It definitely helps to take some of your current staff along and get their thoughts as well. We highly recommend bringing your technology partner as you look through potential spaces. Your IT provider is going to be an extra set of eyes, looking for things you may not consider. Does the space have enough electrical outlets for all of the computers, laptops, monitors, printers, phones and all of the other technology gear? Can enough network drops be installed to handle all of your devices? Is there a location to put the network gear and server that is properly wired, large enough to handle your current equipment, sufficiently ventilated, and able to keep the noise produced by these devices at bay? Is there a central location so the printers/copiers are convenient for everyone? Are there challenges to installing reliable WiFI in the space? These are all important considerations that you will want to know as early as possible so they can be addressed as part of your build-out. If put off, adding these things later becomes a lot more expensive.
When You’ve Found “The One”
Once you’ve decided on your new space and you’re ready to sign the lease, chat with your IT partner. If you’ve taken them with you to see the space, they can double check that any red flags identified during the walk through have been addressed. And if you’re moving to a new space, your technology needs will change too. You’ll want to understand what is needed so you can budget accordingly. From there, you’ll need to identify your “first day open” in the new space so a timeline can be developed for establishing or transferring new services, and developing your moving plan. In our experience, one of the biggest things business owners underestimate is how long it will take to have internet access installed. Business-class cable can take 2-4 weeks to establish new service. And fiber can take even longer. The earlier in the process you arrange for service, the smoother your move will go.
If your moving company is reliable and properly insured, you may want to have them move your computers. But in the moves we’ve facilitated, we generally see clients move their own computers, while we handle he server and networking gear. Whatever you decide, you’ll want to have the plan in place well before moving day. Here’s an example of a basic moving plan that has worked well for us:
- If the things are not labeled, it can take quite a long time to determine which pieces belong where when unpacking. So each person labels their own workstation/laptop and related equipment (keyboards, mice, monitor, etc). We’ve found blue painter’s tape works well for this. Then they pack it in a clearly labeled box.
- The boxes are then driven to the new location, usually by the employees themselves, and placed near their new desk according to the seating diagram developed ahead of time.
- It’s important that we take down the server and network gear at the current location and transport it to the new office.
- We will then set up, configure and test everything in the new location.
- We plan to be on site on “first day open” at the new space, just to make sure any loose ends are tied up and everything is smooth.
Moving to a new office is a big and exciting change, but if it’s planned correctly it doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration.