Office relocation is nothing new. Companies have been packaging themselves up and moving along for years. Large office moves have occurred because of floods, storms, pandemics, security concerns, and because of shaky lease negotiations. As the Covid Pandemic taught the world, temporary office relocation isn’t as easy or straightforward as it first appears, especially if you have to do it with a reduced (or social distancing) workforce. What you need is a plan and a checklist to get your office moving, so here it is.
Timing the Setup and Transition
In most cases, you have less time to pack up and move than you would like. In a perfect world, your temporary workplace will already be set up by the time you move. However, this is often not the case, and you are forced to close down one office while setting up the other. Hopefully, if the Covid problem taught you nothing else, it is that you should have a disaster preparedness routine or plan so that your business is not too badly damaged if the unexpected happens.
In most cases, if you are not able to set up the new office beforehand, you should endeavor to move out of your old office as quickly as possible. Stack it up and pile it into your new location. Packing up the old office, and the move, can be the most unnecessarily time-consuming part of your move, and this is not acceptable. Try to cut this unproductive time as much as possible, even if it means moving into an office space that is not unpacked and not ready.
Redirecting Contact and Footfall
We used to call it redirecting mail in the old days, but communication methods are now so diverse that we call it “Redirecting contact.” it is imperative that any communication is routed to your new office, and so it should be done beforehand.
If your business has a footfall or any sort of drop-in visitor, then use every communication opportunity to communicate your new location. This includes everything from informing people via text message to adding a memo to the bottom of every outgoing and auto-generated email you create.
Hiring the Right People for the Move
This article cannot advise you on whom you hire to move you since your situation will dictate your buying decision. For example, if your office has been slowly flooding over the week, then hiring whichever firm will arrive the soonest is probably the best.
The Covid pandemic taught us that office moves while social distancing causes their own problems, and then there are obviously issues regarding what you are transporting. For example, you may hire any old mover to shift your furniture but may want specialists to move your servers and/or any other sensitive equipment.
Remote Working From Home During the Interim
During the move or transition from one location to another, do not rule out allowing your staff to work from home where possible. This may create a lull in productivity, but it does allow staff members to work unsociable hours in order to catch up on their work. Plus, having staff temporarily work from home may save on small business expenses over the short term. At the very least, you may lose less business and/or revenue by keeping your staff working during the move. If your staff complain, perhaps asking extra money for the printer ink they use at home, or the utilities they use at home, then remind them that by working from home they are saving themselves a bundle on travel costs, so it should all even out nicely.
Lower or Suspect Certain Functions or Outsource Prior to Your Move
Some companies understand that when they move to their temporary office, they are going to have to suspend certain business functions or outsource certain functions. However, they wait until the move in order to suspend such functions, and it is a massive mistake. Almost every time there is a problem that results in a slew of unhappy customers. Be it problems with the outsourcing company or be it problems with your suspended services still being booked after the move. In short, you need to suspend certain business functions prior to the move so that you are still operational and still able to deal with whatever problems arise due to the suspension.
Final Considerations For Your Plan
Since this article cannot anticipate the specific needs of your business, there are a few broad considerations for your office move that you can take into account.
- Old location and a new location – including staff handling new travel times
- Workforce management – including acclimatization and additional training
- Legal implications – Permits, by-laws, access, etc.
- Budgeting – Do not forget contingency funds too
- An adjustable timeline – Plan for delays and the unexpected
- Design and layout – Get up and running as soon as possible
Do not aim for perfection. It may take a long time before your new/temporary office is as efficient and operational as your original office. Get your business up and running as a priority, and sort the rest out as you go.