Moving to a New Office? Why a Gradual Transition Is Best
Moving your business to a new office represents an exciting, change-filled time. It’s usually a sign that your needs are expanding and that your staff is outgrowing their current space.
But moving can seem a little hectic too, since it requires some planning in order for it to go as smoothly as possible. Moving to a new office is not quite as simple as packing up all of your supplies, hauling everything to the new location, unpacking and then carrying on as usual.
Here are some of our expert tips for transitioning to a new office.
Your new office building might have a fantastic, centralized location and a flowing layout that your employees will love. But is the building equipped to handle your communication needs? If you need high-speed Internet, like a fiber optic cable, make sure that is installed before you move. The same is true for multiple telephone and fax lines.
In fact, if telecommunication is the backbone of your business (if you sell merchandise online, for example), it may be worthwhile to hire an IT advisor in order to ensure that you are well-equipped for your current and future technological needs.
Be sure to have the building thoroughly inspected by licensed professionals, like those at Allen’s Foundation, to determine if there are any signs of structural damage. The last thing you want is to finally get settled into your new space, only to have to move all over again so that important repairs can be made. Get everything in tip-top shape before you sign a lease, or at least before you move in.
Make a Floor Plan
You’ll also need to buy new furniture to fit your new, expanded space. Make a floor plan and take inventory of what equipment, furniture and supplies are already at your disposal. Does your new office come with work stations and appliances in the break room? Do you have to leave anything behind at your old office based on your lease agreement?
Create a floor-plan of your new space. For best results, draw it to scale so that you know precisely how your furniture will fit. Then, draw in the furniture and equipment using a color coded system. Start by drawing items you currently have in storage. You can move this in without disrupting your employees as they continue to work in the old office space.
In another color, draw in the furniture that you already own but that is currently in use (this should be moved last). In a third color, draw what you need to buy to fill out the rest of your office space.
Be very detailed! Include computers, appliances, and even decorative items. You don’t want moving-day to finally come, only to discover that you have forgotten to purchase something important.
Business as Usual
When moving to a new office, your ultimate goal is to carry on with business as usual while you make the switch. This is why you should move gradually and make sure that all systems are working at your new location before you shut down your old one for good. You don’t want to constantly be apologizing to clients or customers about lack of service or frustrating technical problems.
If your phone lines will be down or you anticipate any interruption of everyday business due to your move, try to make those changes on the weekends or during your off hours.
Ideally, you can do a “half move,” where half of the company transfers over to the new location a week or two before the other half follows.
The idea here is that the business essentials can still be handled in the old office space while any bugs or problems are sorted out in the new space. When the new space is ready, the business essentials will be handled there while the remaining equipment and employees are transferred. This minimizes any potential service interruption and lost profits.
Organize and Label Everything
When it’s finally time to pack things up and make the exciting move, be sure to have an organizational system and to label every box. At the very least, you should put the following information on each box:
- What’s inside
- Whose work-space / which department it belongs to
- Where it was located in the old office
- Where it should be located in the new office
- Priority label
Using your floor plan, you can even assign numbers to each area of the new office, and include the number on the box. That way, when many people are moving boxes around, they can be sure to put each one where it belongs. The priority label will help you identify boxes that contain essential items that need to be unpacked immediately, as they are important for the day-to-day running of the business.
Moving to a new office should be an exciting time for you and your company. Don’t underestimate the value of making a detailed plan for every stage of the way, as this will help you transition with minimal headaches. Best of luck!
~Guest post by Cathy Habas, a professional writer with an interest in the environment, home renovation and social justice. She enjoys writing about things that help people live their fullest lives. You can contact Cathy through her LinkedIn.