Moving to a new office space is a multi-step process. While the whole office might be excited to work in a brand-new office, the way to get there is fraught with challenges. After all, with so many important documents to move, how can you be sure you’re not overlooking anything? You have big and bulky furniture, as well as important devices that contain sensitive information about your business operations.
Regardless of your company’s size, there’s a way to make the move easier on everyone. Remember these two things: divide the workload and assign people to specific tasks. Whenever it gets confusing, go back to these two rules, and you should be fine.
Don’t start packing and identifying what needs to be moved two weeks before the move. Make sure to start planning at least six months before the end of your contract or your planned move. Also, be realistic with the amount of time you need to move. If you think you need more than six months to pack away things, then don’t be afraid to start eight or nine or even a year before your move.
Clean and Organize
You don’t have to move everything from your old office to your new one. There’s a very good chance that 50% of what you have in the office now is pure junk. Start organizing your office things in different piles—stuff you can digitalize, stuff you need to throw, and stuff you need to bring to the new office. Call a cleaning and waste management company. They’ll usually provide you with right-sized garbage bins for your trash. A waste management company will also dispose of your things, including bulky chairs, mattresses (from your employee lounge area), old coffeemakers, and many more.
Assemble a Team
Everyone should contribute to the move. Each person in your employ should be responsible for their own things. As such, they also need to know how to organize the stuff in their cubicles. They have to pack these things themselves since they’re going to be the ones to unpack and work on those things once you’re in the new office.
But more than that, assemble a team that will oversee the packing and disposing of stuff in the old office. Divide your employees according to their strengths. If some employees are good at negotiating, then assign them to find a moving company.
Check the Contract
While you should have done this before deciding to move to a new office, it’s worth taking a look at it again to make sure you are not missing anything. Can you take the office fixtures? Can you strip off the space of all the mini renovations and upgrades you made? Ensuring that you’re exercising your rights within the ambit of the laws is one of the first things you must do.
Handle IT Yourself
You can’t let your information technology department move things and equipment without talking to them. This is the most important business unit you should focus on during a move. Not that you don’t trust your people, but it’s important to be careful just the same. Ask them how they plan to move the office equipment and what infrastructure is available in the new office once they move there. Are the lines already secured? How are they going to make sure they won’t leave anything behind?
If you plan to upgrade your office equipment—printers, computers, photocopiers, paper shredders, etc.—during the move, ask your IT personnel how best to recycle or dispose of your hardware. Remember that your computers contain sensitive information about your business, so make sure there’s a clear plan to wipe the hard drives clean. Or, better yet, take the hard drives with you to the new office.
Choose the Right Moving Company
You can have a moving company take the non-essentials to the new location. For documents and other sensitive materials, you may want to move those yourself. You can hire an RV or a mini truck and take a couple of employees for a road trip (if possible). During a move, you’re putting yourself, your employees, and your business at risk because moving stuff will allow corporate spies and hackers to get into your normally secured system.
Changing the address of your office mail from your old to the new office isn’t just a matter of logistics. It’s a matter of security. But don’t forget that more than the usual mail you receive, you have to change the address on your office stationery, business cards, etc. You don’t want to be stuck using the old address on your business card and telling people, “oh, but we’ve moved to a different office; here, I’ll give you the new one.”
Moving to a new office is a lot of work, but it can be a fun and exciting experience for everyone. Plan as much as you can. Also, remember to celebrate the move once you’re all settled in.