New premises can be an exciting time for your business – until the reality of packing boxes and moving logistics hits home. Handled properly, your business move can provide some great opportunities – do it wrong and you’ll derail your organisation and cause untold problems. Follow these tips to keep stress to a minimum:
- Start your planning 6 months before you move
It might seem excessive, but time flies by – and if you’ve not planned extensively, the move is going to happen on someone else’s terms. Make sure you’re fully familiar with the new location, draw maps and take pictures when you’re there to avoid confusion about space when you’re back at your current office.
With these plans, you can start looking at what current equipment will work in the new space. You can also prepare your team – if they can be responsible for the packing down of their own areas, you’re suddenly slicing the task into manageable chunks.
Opening the details up of the move to employees can bring some hidden talents to the fore too, ask for ideas, you’ll be amazed at how much innovation can be inspired when there’s a shake-up of location.
- Talk to IT early
If there’s one team who need the maximum amount of notice it’s your IT department. Don’t under estimate the magnitude of the task they’ll be handling. IT teams often work with network, service or application partners, who in turn need notice to ensure the move is as seamless as possible.
Moving of physical IT infrastructure also provides a rare opportunity to reassess network design – so this is a time your IT team will want to make the most of. There are also some opportunities to save money across your network too, meaning business can benefit from what otherwise might feel like a difficult and testing time. This article from SAS Global Communications gives a comprehensive look at areas that might offer money saving opportunities.
- Schedule an update of your details
Making sure your current and future customers know that you’re moving is important – and you should have buffer zones on both sides of the move to allow for some overlap. As a priority, you should schedule changes in the following places:
- Your Google business listing
- Your own website
- Business cards and headed paper
- All suppliers and recurring customers
Postal services can often provide forwarding – so if you think there’s the potential for some missed mail then talk to them about setting this service up.
- Take time to rationalise
This is a rare opportunity to move only what is necessary – so go to town on the sorting and clearing out of ‘stuff’ that’s not been out of the cupboards for months. It might seem like unnecessary work but there can be some seriously worthwhile monetary benefits to selling or donating unwanted equipment and supplies.
Talk to your accounts team about what you’ll need to keep track of to make the most of the move when it’s next time to file your accounts.
- Be specific and strict with equipment suppliers
Ordering new equipment, desks, chairs, lighting and so forth is another job best done with lots of notice. It’s absolutely key that you double and triple check that the supplier you’re using can deliver exactly when you need it.
If your equipment turns up before your moving date it’s possible you won’t have access to the new premises and be stuck with either sending it back and rearranging – or trying to fit it into your current space and having to arrange further logistics to get it moved again.
If your new equipment turns up late, you’re going to have to tolerate the disruption of trying to work without vital kit – which can have a significant effect on business efficiency.
Be firm and precise with your expectations – talk to suppliers about contingency plans they might be able to put in place if there’s last minute problem, you quite simply cannot chance being unable to function because of an unforeseen error.
- Block a few moving days out of your diaries
The importance of this cannot be underestimated! As a minimum, you’re going to want to write-off the moving day and one day either side in relation to meetings, visits, deadlines, submissions – or any other time crucial task you’re likely to have going on.
There’s nothing worse than trying to find enough chairs to meet with a client as moving is going on around you. Even worse to have a report to submit in the midst of unpacking your desk. Worst case scenario – try to take 3 days out, although a week is going to be ideal – you can always meet at a client’s premises rather than subject them to moving unpredictability.
- Colour Code
When it comes to boxes getting to where they’re supposed to be going, colour coding is the way forward. Don’t try to create names for different rooms or areas – it’s going to get confusing and one misunderstanding will have a vital box missing for days. Good labels will save a lot of headaches.
Large signs in the appropriate places (“red boxes here!”) at the other end of the move mean everything is parked in the correct place, ready for you to unpack. Be strict with the system and make sure everyone understands!
- Be picky when you’re selecting a moving company
Surely one commercial removal company is the same as another? Wrong. You’re going to want to talk to every company on your shortlist and make sure they know exactly what they’re doing. Do you have specialist equipment? Ensure they’ve got the experience of handling similar equipment in the past, and insurance cover if the worst should happen.
Insurance is doubly important, not only should you have it for your own piece of mind and business continuity, but most property management companies will insist it’s in place and comprehensive, to ensure their property is also safe.
Create your plan – and stick to it!
You’re never going to be ‘too organised’ for a move – so cast aside any temptation to take shortcuts or rely on people’s common sense and stick to this list. Your business is unique, so there could well be things to consider above and beyond what’s listed here – but fundamentals should be non-negotiable.