Whether you are moving across the hall, across town, or across the country, a smooth office move requires plenty of planning. The key is to start early, be organized and keep detailed to-do lists to minimize stress for yourself and your co-workers.
In an office move, it is all about the advanced planning. Appoint one person to act as the overall logistics coordinator to organize and oversee the office move from beginning to end. This coordinator will handle all communications with staff, landlords, movers, etc. The logisitics coordinator should designate a team to coordinate and manage specific jobs such as relocating computers, servers, security systems, telephones, utilities, and furniture, as well as coordinate moving company services and disposing of furniture and equipment that are no longer needed.
Here are some ideas to help plan the move:
Early Stage Planning
- Preparing for a move is a great time to strengthen your organization’s paper reduction practices. Well in advance of the move, go paperless by scanning as many documents as possible for electronic storage and then shred the unnecessary paper copies.
- Select a moving company. In addition to cost and capacity considerations, choose a moving company that provides boxes, moving containers and checklists to help organize the move.
- Decide whether you will be using existing or new furniture and equipment, or a combination, at the new location. Develop a specific plan to dispose of supplies, furniture and equipment that are no longer needed. Consider donating unneeded items to a local non-profit agency or offering them for sale to organizations in the community.
- Create a floor plan. Take measurements of the new space and draw a location layout of furniture and equipment including electrical and data outlets, HVAC vents, doors and windows.
- Schedule office/file clean-out days prior to the move to save precious room and avoid moving unnecessary items. This is a great time to use PAS’ Getting Organized service to educate employees on how to become better organized and to provide professional consultation around downsizing their “stuff” and organizing their space.
- Have periodic planning meetings to keep everyone informed about the moving plan, logistics, and status.
- Create guidelines and procedures for each staff member to follow prior, during and after the move. Create a timetable so everyone knows what needs to be done and when.
- Schedule your move to occur on a Thursday or Friday. Consider giving flextime to employees to encourage them to use the weekend to settle into their new space.
- Watch inventory levels leading up to the move; you don’t want to move more than needed.
- Apply for and obtain needed final inspections, occupancy permits, and insurance coverage.
- Order any new furniture or equipment in plenty of time for delivery (at least 10-12 weeks in advance).
- Order phone, internet and security services in advance and confirm installation two weeks prior to installation date. Test the services prior to the move.
- Order letterhead, business cards, brochures, change of address cards.
- Update the company website with your new contact information.
Executing the Move
- Each employee should be responsible for packing his or her own office/workstation.
- Provide employees with boxes and packing materials well in advance so they can start packing items that are not currently being used.
- Visibly label every item using a floor plan coding system to aid the movers in placing items properly in the new space.
- File cabinets should either be emptied or locked and secured prior to moving.
- Add fun and lightheartedness in the process whenever possible to keep stress levels reduced.
Having contingency plans and being prepared for the worst-case scenario can reduce the stress of last minute glitches. The more organized the plan, the smoother the process will turn out. Don’t forget to acknowledge the effort and hard work of the individuals involved; appreciation goes a long way.