How to: Relocate offices
So your company is expanding and you plan to relocate to bigger premises. Relocating any business can be agonising and expensive, full of unknowns and uncertainties.
That’s why many will put off moving for as long as possible, particularly if the company has been successful. When moving, strategic advantage comes from identifying the right place for the business. Choosing the right location can make all the difference to business success.
That’s the strategy adopted by the best franchise operations. They select places with lots of traffic and visibility. It can come down to identifying how many cars go past there every day and how many people are living within a 2km radius. There is no reason why other businesses can’t adopt the same strategy.
After the location is lock in, what’s next?
Practicalities like planning out your office space should be the next priority. Before you move into your new office you should know where you want everything located and have it mapped out to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
Consider things like desk arrangements, service portals and common areas. Decided whether your existing furniture and equipment is suitable for relocation and if not organise for new or additional equipment to be ordered and delivered to your new premises. Sell what you don’t need to help reduce costs.
Work out your costs
The business has to create a budget for the move. This budget should cover such things as property costs that could include acquiring and fitting out new premises and upgrading equipment. The budget should also cover people costs, like relocation and redundancy expenses, recruitment costs, and the costs of time lost during the move. It should also factor in the possibility that sales might suffer from the disruption.
Many companies relocating use professional office removalists. The best of these professionals create floor plans for the new premises covering the location of desks and equipment. The removalists can also provide advice on labelling to ensure everything is correctly placed in the new office and nothing gets lost. They sell or dispose of unwanted equipment and can help staff pack their workstations. The best of them use a files and records management plan.
Read more: Moving office: More than just packing boxes
Some companies appoint a project manager to co-ordinate the move. Their job is to liaise with employees, the removalists and subcontractors brought in to help manage the move. The project manager can delegate specific areas of responsibility, like moving IT equipment, telecoms and data, occupational health and safety, and moving furniture to individual employees helping out with the move.
The best office removalists use a files and records management plan.
Indeed, it’s a good idea to involve key employees in the relocation plans. It helps create a sense of everyone being in a team. To do that, it’s important to keep them up to date with briefings or presentations as the move progresses. Employees can be given specific tasks to help make the move so management should come up with a plan that has a completion date for each of the tasks. Another good idea is to have a back-up plan to ensure the business continues to operate if, for example, the unexpected happens.
Ensure all services are connected to the new premises before you move in, so you can be fully operational from the day of the move. This includes electricity and gas, internet connections, phone systems, and cleaners and waste management.
All services should be connected before you move in.
Another critical task is to organise stationery – which includes letterheads, envelopes, address labels, compliment slips and business cards – showing your new address. Advertising and promotional material needs to be amended to show the new address as does the website.
Dedicate at least one day, several weeks before the move, to getting rid of old files and clutter. It might mean using a shredder, or storing some documents with a records management company.
Spread the word
And finally, use the relocation as a marketing opportunity. Let your clients know when, and to where, you’ll be moving and make arrangements to minimise any disruption to supply. Explain to clients that the company has outgrown the old place. Invite customers and suppliers to mark the opening of the new premises.