Change is good. Change is exciting. Change signals a new beginning! When you officially make the decision to move your office, you probably experience a slight rush of anticipation. Then reality quickly sets in when you think, “Now what?” You may panic and wonder how you (and your employees, office furniture, equipment, etc.) will get from Point A (where you are currently) to Point B. Your anxiety may be exacerbated if you (as you probably are) are on a tight timeframe (i.e.: needing to completely vacate your current space by X date so you don’t incur late fees from your landlord.)
As with most major changes, it helps to break down an office move into small, manageable tasks. It’s a lot easier to cross off “get quotes from three office furniture moving companies” and “order new stationary and checks with new office address” than it is to “move from existing office to new office.” Each time you can cross a task off of your to do list, you’ll be one step closer to your end goal of being “open for business in new office.” We’ve created the following checklist as a starting point to get you on the right track.
Six months before your lease is up, begin looking at office space.
At least three months before your lease is up:
- identify a new office space
- negotiate for the best lease terms
- sign a lease agreement
Note: The larger your office and the more employees you have, the more lead time you should allow.
After Signing Your The Lease on Your New Office Space
- Give notice to your current landlord.
- Hire an office moving company to oversee the logistics of your move and decide if you need to hire someone to serve as a “project manager.”
- As soon as you identify this company, contact your new, future landlord and schedule a time you can walk through the space with your project management team.
- A week after this walk through, meet with your project management team and listen to their recommendations about any structural changes you may need to make the new space work for you.
- A week or two after receiving these recommendations, meet again, voice any concerns you may have, and come up with a punch list of items you would like to have addressed, and sign an agreement authorizing the project manager to begin working on those items.
- Call an employee meeting to spread the news about the move. Be sure to explain the reason for the move and answer any questions/ reservations your employees may have.
- Notify your clients about your planned move. Depending on the number of clients you have and the type of business you run, call or email them personally, or send out an email blast and mail postcards informing them of the move, your new address, the timeframe, etc.
- Hire your office movers. (Note: This may or may not be the same company serving as your project manager.)
- Have employees begin purging unnecessary items that will not be needed in the new location.
- Contact a shredding company to shred sensitive documents.
- Call a nonprofit to pick-up old furniture or equipment you want to donate.
- Confirm with your project manager that all necessary electrical, wiring, cable, phones, modems, etc. are installed and ready for move-in.
- Conduct a walkthrough with your project manager and assess progress. Make note of anything that still needs to be done, and nail down a deadline for completion.
- It’s time to start packing! Bring in boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and other packing materials. Have employees begin boxing up their personal items for transport.
- Finalize your timeline for moving day.
- Have an employee meeting to share your finalized timeline.
- Think about: Will all of your employees need to be in the office on moving day, or will it be easier to minimize the number of people?
- Assign a moving day committee head, and committee members to be instrumental in the final days of the move.
- The moving committee should arrive early and work closely with the movers.
- Have committee members follow the movers to the new office and oversee the “moving in.”
After The Move is Complete
- Have your employees come in to unpack their belongings and settle into their new spaces.
- Double check that any final items are completed, pat yourself on the back, and feel proud of all you’ve accomplished an office move!
An office move sounds like a daunting task, and it can be. As long as you stay organized, keep the process moving along, and align yourself with professionals who can lighten your load and keep you on track, you’ll be enjoying your new space before you know it!