Moving a commercial office is an incredibly complex undertaking. It involves endless practical and logistical obstacles, and can quickly become a nightmare for a business if handled incorrectly. A botched office relocation is a recipe for revenue loss, disgruntled employees, destruction of crucial infrastructure, and even lost customers or clientele.
Which is why a company can never be too cautious nor plan too carefully when the goal is to make a smooth transition. Of course, it is impossible to plan for every contingency, and unexpected problems are almost inevitable. But with a bit of diligence and some careful preparation, you can certainly minimize headaches and make your corporate move both efficient and (relatively) painless. Here’s how:
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Plan Your Attack
The physical aspects of the move are what you have the most control over, so be thorough when making plans for what goes where. This means knowing where each desk and employee will be placed, where your router will be most effective, whether each workspace has sufficient access to power outlets, and what every other aspect of the floor plan will look like from A to Z.
Have no illusions: moving is expensive. Carefully calculate in advance to find out the financial impact the relocation will have. This means determining freight costs, van hire expenses, movers, costs associated with construction in the new location, fees for IT setup, software upgrades, and potentially even hotel rates depending on the type of move. Also, don’t overlook the fact that a new address will influence the shipping rates for any outgoing inventory and incoming materials.
The best idea is to put each employee in charge of his or her entire work space, making it mandatory that each worker carefully labels and numbers every box and keeps a physical list of what is in each one. This may seem like unnecessary bureaucratic busy-work, but this simple bit of organizational accountability will pay dividends when a client’s unexpected request saves you from a frantic needle-in-the-haystack search right in the middle of a move. It will also help to avoid items from being lost or misplaced.
Timing Is Everything
With enough advance planning, the actual hours you spend boxing, moving, and unpacking again should be able to fit into a single weekend and save you the costly imposition of being closed during the workweek.
Plan For Power
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to contact the various relevant utility companies well in advance to ensure that your phones, electric, and running water are already functioning when you make the move.
Get the Word Out
Failing to inform your associates about a move could result in major shipment delays, re-delivery fees, confusion, and even misconceptions about going out of business. Contact your primary clients to give them the new address and directions, update your website, get a red “Note Change of Address” stamp to label your letterhead and correspondence with for several months, include a message about the relocation on your answering machine, and instruct your secretary to inform everyone who calls.
Plan For the Future
If you have a hand in designing the new office space, be sure to get input from employees regarding their workspace needs. Use the opportunity to make infrastructural improvements, update software, upgrade systems, and plan for the future. Be sure to have enough telephone, electrical, and computer cable routed through the space to accommodate current and future needs.
Anticipate Delays and Interruptions
Let your customers and clients know that you may be unavailable or have limited capabilities for a few days, even if you don’t think it will be the case. Unexpected problems are part of the territory; so giving your business this extra cushion will be a bit of insurance, and will hopefully lightening your stress burden if anything should come up.
Relocating an office is stressful, and can create many problems. But it doesn’t have to. The key to an effective transition is forethought and careful planning. If you follow these simple tips, you and your employees will be happily settled and back to business in no time.
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