How to manage an office move

How to manage an office move

Your company is moving to a new location and your boss has asked you to either manage or help coordinate the move. While this might seem like a daunting task, you can make it much easier by creating a step-by-step plan that covers all the bases.

  1. Check out the new space

    Visit the new office space or get a floor plan layout with dimensions. This will help you determine how your current furniture and equipment (such as desks and copy machines) will fit into the new space. Ask your boss or the HR manager where he or she wants each employee or department located in the space.

    Solicit employee input as to how they’d like the office to flow, including where to place the breakroom, office supplies, copy machine and conference room. Share a final layout with whichever manager will make the final decisions for the new office space.

  2. Create a reverse chronological timeline

    Starting with your move-in day, create a calendar that lets you know when you will need to have each task completed, such as switching phone service, notifying customers and alerting delivery companies. In addition to using a to-do list on your computer, use a large paper or dry erase wall calendar that’s easy to update. A large physical calendar lets others in the office quickly see the moving schedule and it keeps your deadlines in front of you.

  3. Contact your vendors and suppliers

    Let the people who provide you goods and services know when you’re moving and how you should facilitate the transfer, termination or setup of the following:

    • Phones
    • Internet and IT network
    • Security systems
    • Gas
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Water coolers, coffee machines, copiers, etc.
    • Deliveries (USPS, UPS, FedEx)

    Work with your vendors to create a business continuity plan to make sure you don’t miss any phone calls, emails, faxes and deliveries.

  4. Manage employee communications

    Let your employees know that the company is moving, when the move will take place and where you’ll be moving. Solicit input from the staff and answer any questions they might have. You’ll need to provide instructions for staff members regarding how they must pack up their desks, computers and other items.

    You’ll also need to discuss business continuity with staff members. If you are a business that requires customers to come to your location, you won’t be able to serve them during the move. If you service clients virtually or offsite, however, you might still be able to work with them during moving day.  Your manager or HR department might need to approve and help with this, such as giving certain employees the OK to work from home during the day of the move, or scheduling certain employees to relocate to the new building first or last so they can continue to service clients for most of the day.

  5. Create a supply list

    Write a list of all the things you’ll need to pack, move and unpack your office equipment and supplies. Things you’ll need will include:

    • Boxes
    • Packing tape
    • Padding and blankets
    • Dollies
    • Markers
    • Packing box stuffing (peanuts, bubble wrap, newspapers)
    • Box cutting knives
  6. Hire a moving company

    If you’re using professional movers, use the Internet to research companies, looking for unbiased reviews from other businesses. Get a copy of each finalist moving company’s contract and read the fine print to avoid surprise charges such as extra fees for boxes and tape (which could add up to hundreds of dollars).

    Once you hire a mover, give the company a copy of the office layout you created and ask the movers how they want boxes marked so they can be placed in the correct offices. Using your office layout, you can also give directions to the moving company by placing signs in the new space before moving day, such as “Bob Smith’s office here,” “Copy machine here,” or “Art department here.” Use markers to write information on boxes to facilitate this process.

  7. Plan for safety and security

    Moving day can be hectic and is a perfect opportunity for thieves. Depending on how many people you have in your current office and the new space, someone with a uniform might be able to easily enter your office and walk away with boxes of supplies or computers. Hire or appoint one person to stand at the doorway of both your current and new office and to check the ID of anyone they don’t recognize. Make sure to back up all computers and to safeguard paper documents you might be transferring during the move.

  8. Contact your customers

    Let your customers know you’ll be moving, why it’s good for your company and why it’s good for your customers. Make sure they know that your transition will be seamless and your company will be be able to serve their needs during the move. Send pre and post-move announcements to make sure your customers know your new location.

  9. Perform a final walk-through

    After everything and everyone is out of your old office, do a walk-through to see if you need to make any repairs before you perform the final inspection with the building manager or landlord. Take photographs of the space to protect you in the event you are later charged for damages you don’t believe existed when you moved out.

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