by Jess Crowe
You might have experienced moving house a few times, which can take a lot of organising, but moving offices can be even more difficult! There’s so much more that needs planning and taking into consideration, so you’ll need a lot more time and resources.
From my first (hopefully last for a long time?!) office move, I’ve learnt some key takings, and thought I would share some useful tips and recommendations to help with any upcoming office moves.
1. Planning is everything
The most important thing to do is plan well in advance of the move. The moving deadline will come at you much quicker than you think, so make sure you plan enough time to get everything organised, and know what needs actioned and when.
The first thing you should do is appoint a small team to oversee the move. These members of the team will each be responsible for certain areas of the move, such as tech (ensuring everything is up and running for the first day in the new office), marketing (organising PR), admin (everything from Companies House updates to stationery planning) or finance (buying the team pizzas amongst other things!), but will work with the rest of the office to coordinate and plan everything in advance.
Make sure you have regular catch up meetings to talk through progress, highlight any concerns and to help stay on track. A regular weekly meeting will ensure daily and weekly progress happens as members of the team know that they need to discuss the progress they’ve made that week. It’s also useful to set up communication channels with the key members of the office move team so you can quickly and easily share any new ideas or inform others of any developments during the week. We used Slack as we have that embedded within our working set up. Planning tools will allow you to make a list of exactly what needs done and show who will carry out or organise tasks. This can improve efficiency as the information is accessible, easy to see and all in one place. We use Trello, and found the use of checklists on Trello cards really useful, as it allows all members to tick off progress as they go and add comments when needed.
2. Get in touch with suppliers
Make sure you contact suppliers and review contracts in advance so you know how much notice you need to give to each company. If you’re not in serviced accommodation, utility suppliers may need a few weeks’ notice, and they may also need proof you’re moving or that the lease has ended. Make a list of all of your suppliers and contracts so you know who you need to get in touch with, then start contacting them to let them know you’re moving. Also check that if you move any major office equipment (e.g a printer/copier) that it doesn’t void the lease, and you may need to get the company to move it for you. On moving day take final meter readings at both properties to ensure the final handover readings are correct.
A few months before you move, it’s a good idea to go around the office and make a list of everything you are taking with you, everything you’re selling, donating, and things you’re getting rid of.
You have probably accumulated a lot of things over your time at your office, so you’ll probably be able to throw a lot of things away. Hire a skip or be prepared for a few trips to the tip to get rid of everything you don’t need. Be ruthless.
If you will have surplus tech or office furniture then contact local charities who may be interested in taking this. We donated all our office chairs to St Oswald’s Hospice – it’s much better that just throwing them away!
Make sure you set a time in the diary for all employees to help with the decluttering, especially for them to tidy their desk drawers, as these will undoubtedly have things in there that can be binned or kept elsewhere. If you’re not already, think about going paperless in the new office.
4. Get help
Unless it’s just you and a laptop, use a removal company to move all of your office furniture from one office to another. You may be tempted to do it yourself but there will be many other things to deal with on the day, so it’s much more efficient to get someone to do this for you.
Getting help with picking new office furniture is also a good idea as this can save you a lot of time and effort. If you have companies who will help with these aspects of the move, it allows you to focus on other things.
5. Moving day
Have a plan in place for moving day. Who will be at the old office? Who will be at the new office? What time should people come along? We moved on a Saturday and all the team helped out at different times throughout the day, whether that was with directing the office removal company, unpacking tech, sorting cupboards out, everyone played their part. Don’t forget the pizza!
It’s also important to remember that not everything will get done on the first day, it will take a while to fully unpack and get everything sorted so even after the move there are things to plan and think about. Plan in some down time. Make sure you update all the relevant companies of your new business address, and also let your clients know that you’ve moved! Don’t forget to change your registered office address too. Think about posting a video on social media with directions to your new office, so your clients can easily find you. We recorded a quick video showing the 2 minute walk from our old office to the new one.
Office moves can be challenging, and there are a lot of factors which need considering. It’s extremely important to have a timeline and plan in place, so everyone knows what they need to do. Always plan for the unexpected as there’s probably something that you’ve forgot about, so expect small things to crop up during the move that need seeing to. Also remember that once you’ve moved there’s still a lot of work to do. Hold a team meeting in the new office to officially welcome everyone, and run through all expectations and policies of the new office. Moving office is a good time to get rid of any unwanted habits that your employees may have, and a time to enforce and encourage new policies and habits in the workplace.
Oh, and don’t forget to get the bins sorted with the council so you have somewhere to put those empty pizza boxes!