No matter the industry, running a successful company in such a dynamic, fast-paced environment is trying. To stay competitive, difficult decisions must be made, resources efficiently allocated, and meticulous plans put in place to stay on track. Needless to say, any distraction or drain on those limited resources can negatively impact operations and, therefore, an organization's overall well-being.
Moving into new office space is a fitting example of such a predicament. Although often a sign of a successful company that might be outgrowing its older space, it's still a demanding time for any organization, sometimes even frustrating when ill-planned. To that point, an efficient and effective move can often require months of tedious planning and preparation.
With that in mind, TenantBase has written this guide to provide organizations a concise set of best practices that can minimize the frustration involved with a move to new office space, streamlined the entire process, and make it an enjoyable, hopeful experience that an entire company can rally around. For more detail, be sure to checkout our guide, Relocation Checklist: Planning an Office or Business Move.
Every big business project requires a detailed plan that serves as a constant touchstone to make sure deadlines are hit and goals accomplished. Whether a company is thinking about expanding product lines, entering new sales territories, or moving into a new office complex, a project plan should be the foundation to all decisions and actions involved.
In other words, when a company decides to move into new space, establishing an effective project plan should always be the first step in preparations. Such a plan will establish definitive timelines should include all necessary steps for the move and guide the entire process from inception to conclusion and all points in between.
An effective project plan is one that is approved – particularly with respect to timelines – by both a company’s management team as well as the group moving all of the office equipment, furniture, and anything else that will be making the move. Each involved party should approve of all timelines to make sure they are reasonable and realistic.
Although no two organizations are exactly alike, there are a handful of topics that should be included in any project plan. Each of these topics should have their own start and completion dates as well as an assigned task owner who has previously agreed to those responsibilities:
Before putting any plans into motion, a detailed moving budget should be established to identify financial constraints. Of course, this will directly affect all decisions regarding who is chosen to physically make the move and how involved they will be in the packing and unpacking process.
Regarding potentially delicate items like office supplies and furniture, TenantBase suggests hiring a reputable team of movers with a good track record that will ease the burden of the moving process rather than create additional stress.
A company also needs to determine if team members will be responsible for moving their personal items within their individual workspace. Obviously, delegating more responsibilities to qualified, professional movers can make the transition easier for employees but also put a greater strain on a moving budget.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, it's in an organization's best interest to invite the moving company to their current facility a few months in advance to discuss the details of the move. At this time, all lingering concerns from each of the office managers and task owners should be addressed.
After the search for new space has been completed, the new office space identified, and contracts negotiated and signed, request blueprints or floor plans from the new space to determine the most appropriate basic layout. This layout should include seating charts, furniture arrangements, and office equipment locations so the movers have something definitive to work from and can make sure everything is in its designated place.
Referencing a helpful set of guidelines can optimize the layout relative to a company's specific needs. As a rule of thumb, however, it's always a good idea to take future growth into consideration. This is true for both overall company growth as well as future expansion of particular teams or departments.
For instance, if multiple teams have traditionally sat together but significant growth is expected within one or more of those teams in the future, make sure to take those expanded teams into account when assigning seating arrangements. Also, the seating arrangement portions of the project plan should be distributed to all employees and managers so everyone knows and understands their designated locations within the new space.
Of course, moving to a new office space involves more than just a company’s employees and chosen moving company. All customers and vendors should be notified of the move well in advance to adjust their own records and bookkeeping accordingly. This is especially important to those that make deliveries or send tangible mail to the office. Failing to provide them updated delivery addresses could negatively impact operations just after the move.
Likewise, the current landlord should also be given ample advanced notice of any impending move. The lease agreement for the current office space will provide the specific amount of time the landlord must be given ahead of the move. Typically speaking, this is a few months before the end of the current lease.
It's also wise to ask the current landlord to either forward any mail or hang onto it so it can be retrieved at a later date. Under some circumstances, it might even be helpful to ask the current landlord to place a temporary sign on the door to provide the new office address for anyone that might show up. Updating any local business listings on Google is a necessary task that, like a sign on the door, helps make certain the public and, most importantly, an existing customer base, is made aware of the move and new address.
Once the big day finally arrives and the final components of the project plan are put into place, a few specific steps can help make sure everything is as simple and streamlined as possible, including:
Moving into new office space should be a time for celebration and a sign of bigger and better things to come rather than an exhausting and frustrating experience. Take a well-organized, detailed approach to an office move with an effective project plan at its core to minimize the inevitable stress involved with such an undertaking. As always, TenantBase will be here to provide useful and reliable insights along the way.