Companies need to change location, to reduce costs, upsize and expand. It's a simple fact of business today. Leases expire and need renegotiation, and sometimes SMEs also have to downsize and relocate to take advantage of grants, less expensive work forces and EU incentives. An office move is very different from a house move, with lots of valuable equipment and confidential paperwork to be moved.
Here are our top five tips for an easy office move. By using these straightforward techniques, you can save money, time and minimise the impact on your company's staff. Minimising downtime is key, as you want to lose as few business days as possible during the move.
1. go with a specialist office removals firm. Moving office is a very different beast from moving house or getting a courier. You are probably going to be looking at expensive and delicate machinery, including computers and servers – even if yours is not a manufacturing company. This needs very careful handling and packaging. Paperwork is vital and prone to damage. Archives are highly important and sometimes sensitive, so confidentiality is needed. Cabling is tricky, filing cabinets heavy and you want office furniture to be moved without damage. So make sure you are working with experts.
2. Insure and protect, inventory and survive. Putting someone in charge is a great move for your move. For bigger businesses, a task team may be needed. To be absolutely battened down, it's wise to make an inventory of everything that is going to be moved. OK, this is easier if you are a smaller firm but it is always advisable. Make sure your inventory is comprehensive, ideally listed by which department goods are moving from, and to.
3. Get the entire team on board. It's important for every member of your team to be involved and supportive of the move. They need to understand why the move is taking place, understand your motives and do all they can to help the management with the removal. This includes packing up their own offices and workstations into designated containers. If everyone is on board, the task becomes very much easier. It only takes one person to be disgruntled and obstructive to slow things down considerably. So get everyone's buy in by explaining the rationale, and the benefits to them.
4. Minimise impact. Ideally, your business needs to have down time for only half a day or so. Ideally, aim for just a couple of hours when the task at hand is shutting down the office, rather than your core business. There really is no need for more. After all, every hour lost is profit lost. So the ideal time for the movers to do their job is over a weekend. They can provide your entire staff with appropriate moving boxes on a Friday morning. Set a time, say 3.00pm, when everyone stops work to start packing up. Then, your specialist removals team can start moving out at the end of the working day. They can set up your new premises over the weekend, for a fresh and seamless start on Monday morning. It's wise to designate a logistic team of just two or three people to supervise the move. Any more is a waste in overtime. Any less risks problems when your workforce comes in on Monday. Look to your production or warehouse staff, IT and logistics: as they are best placed to know how your systems work.
5. Archive and store. An office move is a great time to declutter your business. Make sure you don't take unnecessary items and out of date documents with you. These should be archived and stored in a special facility rather than taking up valuable space in your new premises.