I think everyone who has had to move an office before can agree, that moving is one of the most stressful, unpleasant ordeals, which anyone will ever have to experience. So many factors add up to make the move a monumental task that requires planning, and an ungodly amount of mind-numbingly confusing packing and labeling right before the chaos of moving, and then more chaos unpacking and setting everything back up again. Moving doesn’t have to be like this, though. With these five simple tips, your office move can run smoothly and efficiently, and also have your business back up and running in absolutely no time.
1 – Planning
Planning a commercial office move, or the lack of it, is the most important aspect of a move that can either make it or break it. Proper planning is the difference between extended downtime, and jumping back into active business on time. Waiting until the last minute is paramount to a disastrous move. It is not uncommon for a business to start planning the move up to six months in advance. If one is planning on hiring out for things like movers and trucks, also make sure that all the proper insurance responsibilities are covered by all parties involved.
Remember also, that most office buildings will discourage moves during business hours, so try to schedule your move on a weekend if possible. Make sure to do a walk-through of the new site in order to document all relevant entry points, loading docks, and elevators, service or otherwise, in order to give your workers convenient and concise instructions. Draw maps if necessary, so that everything is clear and concise to everyone. This will ensure a smooth transition on move day.
2 – Packing
If you decide to hire a professional packing service, make sure to source them first on issues such as their experience in commercial moving. An office move is nothing like a house move, it requires a professional degree of expertise. Make sure to ask exactly what their capabilities are. IE: Are they able to properly dismantle electronics, office furniture, and other technical tasks. It is better to find out what their capabilities entail first, rather than to find out later that they do not have the knowledge to do the job right.
Sometimes, there are extra or unneeded items that are not worth taking along with the move, or don’t fit the new floor plan. Make sure to clearly mark these items and have them separated from the rest of the things to be moved. These unwanted items can either be sold, or they can be donated to a charitable outfit for a healthy tax break – Just remember to ask for a receipt with the approximate value of the donated items for tax deduction.
3 – Moving
During the actual moving process, it is advisable to hire a professional moving company to move your office, rather than use your employees to do it, or casual laborers. Workers from a temp agency, or even worse, people off the street will not have any incentive or the motivation to do the job quickly, efficiently, nor respect your valuable equipment. A professional moving company has a reputation to uphold, and also the right insurance, licenses, and bonds to cover any damage that may occur. It is simply not in the employee’s job description to move an office, and if something is damaged, there is no recourse for reimbursement other than firing the worker, plus facing the resentment of some staff members for making them work the move.
It is wise to designate two moving supervisors, one at the old site, and one at the new site, in order to make sure everything is smoothly moved and received. Designate a competent worker to set-up and test the data cables at the new office, so that when the IT team comes, everything will be ready for them to install the lifeblood electronics that will get your business back up and running again. If the lease is not up yet once you have moved out of the old building, one should make sure to set the thermostat on the “vacant” setting. This will hold the unit above freezing, but below 65%, saving money on electricity.
4 – Unpacking
Organizational skills are going to be your best friend when being faced with the daunting chore of unpacking an entire office, and then laying out a new office floor plan. First, take an inventory of all your office materials, desks, chairs, shelves, etc. This way you will have a greater idea of what you are dealing with. This will also allow you to see if anything went misplaced during the move. If you do not have an office floorplan yet, it is essential that you make one. Draw the measurements of the new office and place on the sketch every piece of office furniture where it needs to go. This will let you know ahead of time if everything is going to fit. The rest, of course, is the hard work of setting everything up in the office for real, according to your detailed map. This is where hired labor will come in very handy.
5 – Setting it all Back Up
Make sure to keep cords and cables secured and out of the way for proper safety, before setting up the rest of the office. Also, make sure to factor in the lighting before setting up the workspace. The furniture, then needs to be set up first, of course, before installing all of the computers, phones, printers, fax machines, and copiers. Then it’s time for the little details such as all the sundry office necessities like paper, notepads, pens, and printer ink which can then be put in their place. Your office floorplan should already have set workstations, conference rooms, break areas, and such, in its layout. Lastly, after everything is set up, make sure to test its efficiency before the first workday. This will tell you if anything doesn’t work the way you thought it would. Some things look good on paper, but in actuality, do not measure up the same.