Moving office is an exciting time for any company but for those responsible for managing the move it can be very stressful. As a result 78% of companies actually report delaying a relocation, opting to stay in inefficient, cramped and costly facilities just to avoid the stress of moving. With forward thinking and proper management moving office presents an opportunity for companies to make exciting and valuable changes such as:

• Developing new working practices: implementing modern systems and investigating alternative ways of working such as collaborative and creative working styles

• Workplace culture: any changes will have an impact on culture, which will need to be proactively managed. This is a great time to look at employee wellness.

• Brand identity: a move can be a good time to look at changes to your brand identity, with many companies opting to reenergise their corporate image and branding alongside a move.

During any type of office relocation it is vital that disruption is minimised and new facilities meet the current and future needs of your company. Get these changes right and your business can soar to new heights. With relocations so critical to your business it’s essential to organise, manage and procure every aspect of the move with great detail, yet as seamlessly as possible.

To ensure you avoid the costly mistakes, we’ve put together a guide of the essential things you must consider to successfully manage your relocation project.

What is the timeline and budget?

These are the two most important questions that need to be decided when planning a move. A relocation project can be one of the most expensive events in the life of a business and the costs can quickly escalate. With improper planning or delays budgets can be easily overshot so it’s essential to develop a clear and realistic moving schedule and budget. Get quotes for everything and draw up a full budget for the whole project, including:

• Occupancy costs (such as rent, service charges, taxes, energy, maintenance etc.)

• Transaction fees (for property agents, lawyers)

• Insurance costs

• Fire assessment plan

• Design and fit out costs

• Environmental assessments

• IT (cabling and equipment relocation fees)

• Furniture (the cost of new furniture, delivery and installation)

• Disposal Costs (old furniture and outdated equipment)

• Printing Costs (changes to addressed stationery)

• Telecoms (equipment and installation)

• Marketing costs (new stationery, announcements, invitations, website changes and mail redirection)

• Dilapidation costs for your old space (many leases require you to put your old space back to its original condition.)

• Air conditioning, heating and ventilation

• Energy performance (heating and gas, also consider any ‘green’ regulations for your new space)

• Moving company (Are packing boxes and materials included or do they need to have their own budget?)

• Contingency (it is not uncommon to budget an extra 20% for contingencies and changes)

Take an inventory of existing office equipment.

This will help you identify what you may no longer need, which pieces of equipment are vital to day-to-day running of the business (and therefore need to be in place for as long as possible) and what new equipment you may need to purchase. At this stage consider any new working practices you wish to implement and how this might change your needs.

If you are thinking of using some or all of your current furniture you will need to work out how it will fit. Get a professional to come in and give you ideas on how to maximise your new space. Look for a furniture company that offers this as part of their service and can show you a plan of how your new office will look and flow once the furniture in place. This stage is vital toavoiding costly mistakes.

Have you got facilities in house to coordinate a move?

It is most likely you will need to hire a professional moving company. Employees can help co-ordinate the move but make sure they steer clear of any heavy lifting. Injuries can be extremely costly.

Shop around to find a reputable removals company. It’s not always about who is the cheapest. Check for professionalism and feedback online. They should also have the correct insurance in case anything is damaged in transit.

Your moving firm may provide packing materials, otherwise you will need to remember to order these prior to your relocation.It’s a good idea to give staff the materials to organise their personal items. Be sure to mark each box up and indicate which room or space it needs to go in when it arrives at the new location.

Consider phasing an office move to avoid too much disruption

Giving yourself an overlap of a couple of days between leaving your old office and entering your new one can take the pressure off. You may also decide to move different departments into the new offices at different times which will ensure that the relocation will not interrupt business too much.

A phased move can make life easier but it’s not essential. Just get crates delivered a few days before your leave date and start packing early.

How will you relocate your electrical equipment and IT?

When relocating your computers, data and electrical equipment, there is no shortage of points to consider and as they are essential to the running of any modern business you will want to take special steps to care for this equipment. Contact your IT company to assist the move.

DESKTOPS – each individual’s set up will be unique in terms of configurations and screen equipment. Before moving you need to audit equipment set ups so that it can re-commissioned in the same way.

DATA CENTRES AND SERVERS – Servers that host critical data need to be carefully relocated with reduced downtime. Sensitive data needs to remain secure, it is essential you use CTC cleared engineers to re-commission equipment.

LEASED EQUIPMENT – You may need to request approval from your vendor before you can move it or risk breaking warranty or service cover agreements. For specialist equipment vendors may move the equipment themselves.

TELEPHONE AND INTERNET CONNECTION – Allow plenty of time to ensure phone systems and internet connections are live from the first day in your new office and connectivity isn’t lost. If you are moving within the area covered by your existing telephone area code, you will be able to keep your number. If you have a 0800 or 0845 number you can take them wherever you want within the UK. If you do have to change your number it is possible to have your old number redirected for an additional cost.

Is there any refurbishment required?

Depending on the state of your new workspace you may need a substantial refurbishment or just a little bit of touching up. Either way, you will need to find an office fit-out company that will provide you with the interior solutions you need. Your fit-out company should be able to take full control of the design, equipment supply and contractors to complete the work. This will help you to reduce your workload and stress.

It makes sense to engage with a good office design company at the early stages so you can plan ahead. If you haven’t yet purchased or leased new premises, your office design company can help you by calculating the amount of space needed, including all services and storage. If you have found your space they can help you by coming up with cost estimates and help you to visualise how your new office will look. That way you will avoid any surprises later on.

Hire a company that offers a complete ‘turnkey’ solution. It will save you time, money and the hassle of having to manage multiple contractors.

Who needs to know that you’re moving?

Effective communication is essential to the success of a relocation project. Communicate everything with staff so they stay informed throughout the process. If you involve your team in the process they will be more comfortable with the move and it will go smoothly if everyone is aware of timescales etc.

Inform your service providers well ahead of time and check regularly to make sure all facilities will be in place by the move date (Telephones, gas, electric, water, security alarms, air conditioning, IT network, heating and lighting.) Banks and Insurance companies will need to know you are moving as well as suppliers for deliveries.

Give a forwarding address to The Post Office so that they can send on any mail that may be delivered to your previous offices. Remember to change your registered office details and update information online. You will need to change your address details on your website as well as online directories (Google, etc) and digital maps.

It’s very important to let customers know that you are moving to a new location especially if you regularly have clients visiting your offices. Consider starting this process as soon as possible. There are many ways you can tell clients you are moving and it can be a great opportunity to do some marketing or re-connect with clients.

• Distribute flyers or change of address cards with customer receipts and invoices.

• Email or postal campaign

• Place a notification on your website

• Add a P.S. message to your emails

• Social media posts

Once you’ve completed the move, organise a move-in party to celebrate with staff and clients.

Call our expert team for friendly advice or to arrange a free design consultation for your new office. 01772 696222