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Have an upcoming office relocation to organise? Worry not, as we’ve prepared this exhaustive article to help you organise the process in a stress-free manner.
If you’re a business owner, CEO, an office manager, or someone is in charge of planning this complex task, then this guide is just what you need.
Why your office move needs a project manager?
Organising the relocation of an entire office is a mammoth job and needs to be done assiduously. Finding a reliable person to plan and coordinate the steps of the process and the people is a must. Here are five golden rules for an office move.
A project manager can communicate the steps to the employees, talk to the moving company, optimise the process overall so it flows smoothly and ends as quickly as possible so there’s no loss of money for the business.
The designated person can be from the office or can be outsourced or from the moving company. The person needs to be detail-oriented, organised, able to track the steps and follow-up when something has been crossed off the checklist.
If you have many employees, different managers can be appointed for each department. Only you know what is best for your office and what works for your employees.
How to communicate an office move to employees?
Communication is key for offices that have a lot of employees and departments. If possible, everyone should know about the relocation as early as possible. Your colleagues may have ideas and tips about planning the move, and even some volunteers might come forward and help with the process.
Some ways to break the news to colleagues:
- Meetings - they are personal, they are convenient, and people can ask questions. It can be done in several small meetings, by department, or any way convenient for you.
- Mass emails - this is a standard way and it saves a lot of time. It’s a common practice in offices with hundreds of employees. Regular emails with updates and reminders to keep the employees up to date are a convenient way to communicate the progress.
- Stand-ups - a quick direct message while everyone is in their workplace can also work. No official meetings are necessary.
- Bulletin/Message board - if your office has a board where messages are announced, you can use it too. Also, there can be put the list of people who will manage the process and their responsibilities. This way if your colleagues have questions they will know who to turn to.
An open discussion is often the best choice. An office move requires a lot of work and concentration to accomplish and every pair of helping hands matters. There are a lot of details to consider and plan that people on higher positions might not realise at first. Every employee’s opinion is important when the stakes are this high.
A poorly planned business move can end fatally for the company. There are many security and legal points to consider and plan. And another important part of the move - time. Inadequate timetable for the moving process can result in loss of money for the company.
Sometimes you may not be able or authorised to give out all the information to all employees. And you don’t have to. But some basic pieces of information that concern them personally should be announced to them.
Some of the points people should be aware of:
- The new location if it is known.
- The date for the move - so they know how much time they have left, see our post on how to choose the moving date.
- Will there be cutbacks or dismissals?
- Will they have to get involved in the moving?
- Who will organise it?
- Who can they turn to if they have questions or suggestions?
Different departments might require slightly different preparations for the relocation. The designated person for their respective teams should discuss internally the checklist and design it in the best interest of the team.
How much does it cost to move an office?
As you expect, it is not cheap to move an entire business to a new location. And it can only get more expensive if the office is upsizing.
However, there are some other charges that you may not have considered:
- Packing - to have a peace of mind that your business furnishings and items are safe, you need to deliver sturdy and reliable moving boxes and packing materials. You can get them from your moving company. You may also want to leave the packing of appliances, machinery, technology, furniture to professional movers and packers.
- Transportation - depends on the company and the way they price services, but you may have to pay per mile, and for the hours spend on the job, which can end up being pricey.
- Storage - if there’s a gap between the moving out and moving in day for some reason, or it isn’t decided what is to be done with some items from the old property, you may have to book commercial storage as well.
- Insurance - most companies have insurance covered, but you can always get a second one to ensure the most valuable office items.
- Shipping costs - for documents or other items.
- Parking fees - parking will have to be arranged at the two properties if there isn’t free parking near the building.
Design and layout
It is highly likely that the new office space will not be the same size or form as the old one, so some adjustments may be necessary, either to the room itself or to the layout of the space.
- If the room will be changed - there will be a cost for builders and handymen.
- If the layout will be changed - new furniture and desks might be needed.
- New decorations or art pieces for the new office.
Furnishings and equipment
These expenses will only occur if you decide on updating the office furniture and appliances, or technology. Or if you’re upsizing the office, you need new additions for the new colleagues.
- Desks and computers.
- Chairs, tables.
- New conference room furniture and equipment.
- New break room furniture and appliances.
Changing the office address. Documents, business cards, contracts even, ads, billboards, flyers, anywhere the company address is mentioned must be changed. And all of these cost money.
If the current property is rented, you’ll need to hire an move out cleaning service to take care of the mess after you’ve moved out.
And if the new property will be rented, a deposit might be needed upfront.
Loss of business days
In business, time is money. And when you close even for two or three days, the business is losing money. This can be brought down to a minimum with careful and detailed planning.
How to pack for an office move?
Business-wise some of the things you can do to prepare for the office move are:
- You can use this occasion to remove all unnecessary files and clutter from the office.
- An important thing to do is to take photos of electronics so they can be easily connected after the move.
- Categorise all of the important documents and files you have physical copies of.
- Save all important files and documents on a cloud or external flash memory, to make sure no data gets lost or damaged.
- The employees can pack anything that is business-related like physical copies of files, books, invoices, receipts, or any sensitive information, and leave the packing for furniture and technology to the professional movers.
- Labelling is crucial. To move an entire office means there will hundreds of items to be moved. Careful labelling will ensure their safe arranging and transportation in the van and a diligent carrying around.
- Hire a professional team to do the IT relocation and setting up the computers, phones, and other technology used in your office.
- Packing the filing cabinets - discard unnecessary files; if the files are in alphabetic order or numerical order, make sure label the box with the exact range of the order that is in the box. For example, If a box contains files with names from A to C - label the box “Files A to C”.
- Packing the office decor - paintings, pots, clocks, motivational posters, or vision boards can also be packed by the staff members. If there are any valuable pieces, you may want to purchase additional insurance. Decor pieces can be packed up weeks before the moving day.
How to move office furniture?
You may require staff members to prepare their desk for the move and collectively they can prepare all the rest of the furniture in the office.
Steps for preparing the office furniture for the move:
- Two days or the day before the move, everyone should clear their desk and pack their personal stuff in boxes. Empty drawers, wrap fragile items if any. Label their boxes carefully so no confusion or loss of documents, fragile boxes occurs.
- Any upright file cabinets can be packed and moved with the contents inside. If the drawers have locks, lock the contents so it doesn’t fall out.
- If any cabinets are attached, you should make sure they are separated so they can be carried out one by one.
- Pack all books from bookcases. Books should go in small boxes and one box shouldn’t be over 20-22kg.
- Have the people from the office clear ways for the movers to carry out the furniture.
Moving the furniture on your own requires heavy preparation and hides great risks of damaging not only the pieces of furniture but also the floor, walls, doors. That’s why it’s usually the best and safest to leave the furniture moving to the specialists.
If the employees will be doing the packing and not the moving company, make sure everything is packed ahead of the moving day.
Some furniture might need to be dismantled, which should be left to the movers. More often than not it is even included in the price for the removal job. So, you might take advantage of it and rest assured that the furniture will not be damaged or have parts lost in the process of moving them because experienced people will be handling them.
Office move safety tips
Safety always comes first. Here are some safety tips for your office move:
- Do not lift heavy boxes or furniture.
- Do not use office chairs as ladders.
- Avoid overreaching, deep bending, twisting, running up or down the stairs.
- There is a correct and a wrong way to lift boxes. Don’t risk harming yourself.
- Do not leave liquids around the office on the moving day.
- Do not have the office cleaned before or during the moving out day.
- Do not push or pull boxes while they are on the floor.
- Do not climb up a ladder alone, have one more person with you.
Also, make sure there are designated people or person to keep an eye on how the moving boxes are stored before being loaded onto the vans:
- Heavy boxes should be at the bottom, light on top.
- No liquids near the boxes and they shouldn’t be dispersed and get in the way of the employees or the movers.
Clothing appropriate for the moving day:
- No baggy clothes - they can get caught up in furniture.
- Comfortable clothes or sportswear - the moving day doesn’t require formal wear, and the clothes worn on that day may get damaged.
- Glovеs just in case. If staff members will be helping the movers, they should know to have gloves at least.
- Closed-toe type shoes to protect employees’ feet if something falls on them accidentally.
Takeaways of the guide:
- You need designated teams for every department or aspect of the office move. Whichever suits your business.
- Start planning early and create detailed checklists.
- Calculate carefully all possible ways for relocation, where you can splurge and where you can save.
- Safety must always be accounted for first.
- Hire professional movers for most of the job.
- Arrange IT relocation.
- Arrange utilities in the new office location.
- Employees can pack and move only their personal belongings.
- For a safe office move, you should hire movers to do the job.