Where do you start?
It’s a daunting task even thinking about relocating an office. We all wish there could be a magic button that just makes it all happen, but in reality it takes considerable planning and ongoing management to ensure a successful outcome. Not many offices are prepared to go through the upheaval on a regular basis, so this is probably the first time you ever had to manage such a project. It will involve more than just booking an office removal business and making a start by booking a skip for all the unwanted files and broken chairs cluttering up the office corners. Man and Van
Start with remembering the reasons you are moving and keep these in the forefront of you mind at every step of the process. If you’re moving to larger offices due to company expansion, then that is a wonderful position to be in, but with it comes a set of specific challenges, a lot of which is forecasting the unknown. If you’re downsizing due to a change in company fortunes, then this should also be seen as a positive. What you are doing will help the company stabilise and this is your opportunity to review business practices and make some real changes that will help productivity and overall efficiency. Perhaps your company is remaining the same size but has decided not to renew the lease on it’s current location and needs to find a new home or has decided to cove closer to your customer base? Again, this should be seen as an opportunity to make changes for the better.
Outline your goals. Use planning methods such as the SWOT analysis to help determine how you can make positive changes to the business in the new offices. Gather as much information as possible about the reason for the move. Don’t be afraid to ask directors about why they wish to relocate the business. The more information you have, the better you will be placed to help them achieve their goals.
Research and appoint an office relocation company as soon as possible. They will have a wealth of information which you can draw upon. After all, this is not something you or you business does every year, but an office relocation company with have undertaken hundreds of similar projects and will be able to guide you when looking for new premises. Choose wisely. Some office relocation companies specialise in removals but lack the necessary knowledge of how an office will best operate. Find a company that also specialises in office interior design. They will have an understanding of how you need to plan your space and be able to make constructive and important suggestions and help guide you in your decisions. The last thing you will need is six months down the line someone pointing out a fundamental oversight.
Once you have all the information, document it and this will provide a good basis to move forward.
Find your new home
There are numerous ways to find a new office. Get as much help as possible from chartered surveyors, estate agents and property management companies. They will be best place to know what properties are available and which would be suitable. Communicate with them your goals and go along to see as many properties as possible to get a feel for what is out there. Once you have found you property, find out immediately the required date to be into the new office and when the lease will start. This is also a good time to employ the services of a chartered surveyor to make an inventory of the new offices to ensure any future schedule of dilapidation works are understood by all parties. Also, don’t be afraid to demand improvements from your prospective new landlord. If something needs updating, then find out how and when they will go about it.
Planning your move
Your move will be planned around some key dates. When are you due out of your existing offices? When is the lease due and what time do you have to give to your dilapidation schedule?
When is your target date for relocating into the new premises? Your office relocation company will want to be in the new building as soon as possible to start work.
Discuss with your office relocation company all the additional office move issues that will require consideration. They will have a comprehensive list of considerations, such as telecommunications, IT, local authority planning, accessibility etc. All these will need budgeting for.
How are you communicating the office relocation to the business and it’s employees. Remember, change can make people nervous and they will feel at ease if they feel part of the design making and kept informed of progress, timings and the overall goals.
It is a good idea to make sure all parties involved going forward, yourself and your team, the company directors and the office relocation company commit to regular meetings ensuring your office relocation budget is sufficient to achieve your goals and that everyone is on the same page.
Now comes one of the more exciting parts of the office relocation. Your office relocation company will help you plan your office space to make best use of the footprint. Good companies will make a comprehensive set of 3D plans based on your suggestions and their previous knowledge of similar successful projects. Modern computer aided design tools allow the office relocation companies to quickly change plans and experiment on the fly. One you and you office relocation company are in agreement, then these plans can be used to report back to the company directors and the business employees. Don’t forget to involve everyone, but make sure you remain in control. Maybe set up a ‘War Room’ where the plans are displayed and set up a consultation meeting and invite comments. These comments can be very constructive as members of other teams will be able to highlight potential issues going forward.