Moving offices requires plenty of planning and preparation. It can be a complex, time-consuming and costly process.
Without a detailed action plan, the excitement of having a new office could easily be overshadowed by stress, struggle and disgruntled staff. Not to mention the negative impact it could have on your business running costs.
Don’t be daunted. With a structured business move map in place, you’ll be able to say goodbye to your old premises with confidence and start your telecoms company’s new chapter organised and ready to grow.
Here we explore some of the difficulties and dilemmas, and how you can successfully move your business up in the world.
What Could Go Wrong?
In a word, plenty.
It’s not simply a case of packing everything up on a Friday, giving your staff a new office address and picking up where you left off the following Monday.
The main relocation risk areas are:
1. Poor Planning
Comprehensive planning is essential. Without it, you’ll be faced with rising costs due to increased downtime and badly-researched decisions, less productive staff and no accountability.
2. Muddled Management
Breaking down all the tasks required to ensure a successful business relocation and allocating them to specific people is crucial. Neglected communication and confusion over responsibilities will put more than one spanner in the works.
3. Troublesome Technology
Transitioning your technology to new premises is a complicated procedure and if you’re not working in the cloud, that challenge is even greater. Getting your team up and running as quickly as possible is key to keeping productivity and revenue ticking over.
4. Spiralling Costs
Your budget for moving offices is likely to be high. If you fail to accurately cost out the move or incorporate adequate contingency, you’ll get a nasty financial surprise when you eventually sit down at your new desk.
5. Compromised Security
Protecting your data as well as your physical assets while relocating can be overlooked. Regular security processes could be abandoned: the last thing you need is for expensive equipment to go missing or for your IT system to be under threat.
How to Make a Smooth Business Move
As soon as you’ve made the decision to move, immediately start to strategise and schedule. It’s never too early to get organised.
You need to approach your business relocation in the same professional, detailed way you would with any other project.
From altering your marketing material to informing your utilities provider, there’s a long list of important action points to work through.
Step One: Appoint a Project Manager
Appointing a dedicated project manager is the key to success. They’ll oversee the entire move and act as the first point of call for input and relocation queries from staff.
They should be responsible for creating and managing the budget and a detailed timeline, liaising with landlords, suppliers, external agencies and employees, and maintaining effective communication channels.
Alongside your project manager, consider assigning a member of each department to act as their support team. They can coordinate their particular area and feedback any specific concerns or suggestions.
If you’re part of a smaller team, you may choose to be the project manager yourself and work with a few key members of staff to share the responsibility.
Whatever your size, set aside time for regular update meetings both with the moving team and with your staff so they feel engaged and informed about the business move. They could come up with a solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with.
Step Two: Create a Realistic Timeline
Much like moving house, moving into new commercial premises doesn’t happen overnight. It’s sensible to allocate at least three months to prepare if you’re a small office or up to eight months if you’re larger.
This unavoidable period of planning calls for a timeline. Once you have a relocation date in place, break each stage of the move down into a chronological plan, checking in with your team that all deadlines are feasible.
Each task can then be allocated to a specific person, eliminating the chances of a job being forgotten about or even being done twice.
Having this comprehensive checklist in place will guarantee quality and minimise headaches as your day for moving offices edges closer.
Step Three: Book Your Removal Company
Moving date set, you need to employ the experts to help you shift all that heavy furniture and equipment.
Specialist commercial movers will have managed many moves before but it’s still advisable to check the credentials of several firms before asking them to quote. Invite each one to your new premises to assess the move and what it will involve, then decide who is offering the best service for the best price.
Next, you’ll need to order crates and boxes, along with giving your chosen supplier a full inventory of what’s been packed and where it needs to go. Using coloured labels makes this job easier and will get you up and running sooner.
And remember, don’t leave packing until the last minute. Invest some time in deciding what can be binned, what can be put in storage and what must come with you. Then pack it carefully and coherently.
This audit could reveal the need to replace some computers or storage units, or even trigger a complete furniture freshen-up.
Step Four: Tackle Technology
As you’re in the telecoms industry you may be experienced at helping other relocating businesses to set up their phone systems, broadband and cloud computing.
If you have the right resources available to manage some or all of your tech requirements on moving day, then using your own team will save you time, money and hassle.
However, if you don’t have all the skills and staff necessary to ensure a smooth connectivity transition, you’ll need to outsource. It’s likely you’ll have some good industry contacts, so get in touch with them early in the process to pin down exactly what’s needed to minimise communication downtime.
If you work in the cloud, this job will be significantly easier than moving your own servers, manually backing up data and risking a security breach. Hosted cloud desktops, email, VOIP phones and data sharing will mean your team will be back up and running at their new desks within minutes not hours.
And if you’re not already taking advantage of cloud technology, now would be the perfect time to introduce new systems and streamline business procedures.
Step Five: Get to Know Your New Space
Your plans and timeline will be informed by many aspects of the move, including how your new set-up will differ from your existing one.
In order to plan effectively, you need to know your new space inside-out. If you’ve not set foot inside it since your first viewing, arrange another visit and schedule in several more for the weeks ahead.
You need as much information as you can get your hands on. Floor plans and blueprints are not just vital for layout planning but also for identifying the location of electrical outlets, fire escapes and storage space. You can also double-check that the measurements you’ve been given are accurate and fit in with your plans.
It’s useful to be armed with a list of what does and doesn’t work in your current office. You can then aim to replicate or resolve as appropriate. Comparing the similarities as well as the differences will be a productive exercise.
Visiting your new premises will give you the opportunity to assess if any structural or decorative work is required. These will need to be arranged and booked in to your timeline.
If possible, organise for your removals company to accompany you on one of your visits to nail down the detail. If everyone has seen the physical layout, rather than just a paper version, moving day will go more smoothly.
Step Six: Watch the Budget
Alongside managing your everyday business running costs, budgeting for the big move and not overspending will test your financial management skills.
However carefully you plan and forecast, hidden costs have a habit of showing their unwelcome faces: if you want to make alterations, you need to seek permission from your landlord which can cost several thousand pounds. If your old office is looking a little worse for wear, the conditions of your lease may require you to return it to its original decorative state.
But with the right preparation, a realistic approach to constraints and a healthy contingency, you can brace yourself to tackle any challenges head-on.
And there are plenty of opportunities to be spending-savvy and save some cash now and in the future:
- Replacing tired office furniture with brand new desks, chairs and cabinets can swallow a large chunk of budget. Instead of taking this hit, consider having your existing kit refurbished or purchasing reconditioned items. You’ll save thousands.
- If you do opt for a whole new look, you can resell some of your redundant furniture and recoup some of your costs.
- Similarly, you can sell outdated IT equipment to top up the budget. Just don’t expect to make a fortune.
- If you can’t resell, recycle. You want to reduce waste as much as possible to avoid paying excessive landfill costs.
- You’re probably moving offices because your business is growing, so don’t forget to future-proof. You need to reserve floor space for employees joining your team this year, next year and beyond.
Step Seven: Spread the Word
Time for another list! This time, you need a comprehensive spreadsheet of everyone you need to notify about your business move.
Inform staff before anyone else, then tell clients, suppliers and service providers. Keeping them in the loop through the process will reflect your professionalism and mitigate any concerns.
For clients, it’s imperative to inform them of any potential service disruptions and give them an emergency mobile number for moving day. The last thing you want is to start your new adventure with fewer clients than you had in your old premises.
Make sure mail is diverted to your new address, stationery and business cards have been reprinted if necessary and that your website has been updated with your new contact details.
At your old office:
- Check that every drawer is empty and everything has been taken off the walls.
- Remove everything from the kitchen(s) that you’re taking along.
- Make sure each item of furniture and piece of equipment is clearly labelled.
- Put up a sign informing visitors of your move and redirecting them.
- Give directions, floor plans and security passes to staff.
- Confirm that change of address notifications have been issued.
- Provide refreshments during packing-up time.
- Gather staff together to thank them for their hard work and say goodbye to your old premises.
At your new office:
- Check the condition of the office when you arrive and take photos of any damage as evidence.
- Confirm parking arrangements and inform staff who has a space and where.
- Ensure someone is answering the phones as soon as possible.
- Ensure one member of each department is technologically set up to handle client enquiries and other urgent business.
- Check all the essentials are in place in the new kitchens and bathrooms.
- Test all electrical equipment before the teams installing them leave the premises.
- Set up a lost and found area for random items with no home.
- Provide more refreshments for your busy team.
- Gather staff together to welcome them to an exciting new chapter for the business.
Overseeing a business relocation is a major undertaking. It takes time, teamwork and great attention to detail when it comes to planning and budgeting.