Moving office can be terrifying – as stressful as a house move – but if you want to grow as a company it has to be done. Make it easier by following these nine tips for a smooth office relocation experience and you’ll soon be in your new office space in EC3, wondering what you were worrying about!
What are your objectives?
Look at what your business needs now and what it’ll need in a year, then two years, then five and even 10. Why are you moving? Is your current lease expiring, are you looking to reduce overheads, or are you expanding? Your reasons for moving will help you to formulate a plan and you need to make the big decisions quite early on in the process.
All the key decision-makers in the company must agree on the reasons for moving and on what your main aims are. Ask yourselves:
- Where you want to move to;
- how much space you need;
- when you need to move;
- what features you need in your new office;
- what business objectives you need the office to satisfy for the next few years;
- what length of lease you need, and
- what your budget is.
Build a moving team
No one person will have all the skills or time to make a move happen, so you’ll need team effort. One person views premises, another does the budgeting, another does the negotiating and legal stuff…you get the picture. You’ll need a project manager to help and keep things moving, as an office move isn’t a trivial undertaking.
Your PM should have good communication skills, both inside and outside of the office, as well as some free time so they can make phonecalls or send emails as well as attend to their regular work tasks. They should also be reliable, highly organised and be able to make major decisions alone if necessary.
Plan ahead and get cracking
The sooner you start, the smoother it’ll be. Ideally you should start looking for new premises 12-18 months before your current lease expires. Allow yourself lots of time to look at your options, negotiate and to see if you can find better places for the same money.
Sort out a budget
One of the first tasks is to draw up a budget. Your budget is essential as it gives you parameters and limits when you’re looking and planning and also while you’re moving.
Make sure you use professionals
It’s important that you use capable, experienced project managers and moving professionals, as rental costs are the second biggest business outlay after salaries. The choices you make now will have an impact on profits for a long time, so make good ones!
Don’t just sign on the……
Don’t jump to sign a lease! Get legal advice because your solicitors might be able to negotiate changes to some clauses so you’re a bit safer in there legally. Ask them about the detailed terms and conditions so you know what you’re getting into.
Communication is vital
People don’t always like change, but one way to help your employees through the process is to keep them in the loop. Be optimistic – your move will help your profits and productivity, for example. Make sure everyone has a say and have regular meetings and brainstorms about the new place.
De-clutter and move on
Moving is a good excuse to have a clear-out – old equipment can go to charity, old documents can be scanned, old furniture can be updated… It’s time to go!