Check Your Lease
When planning a move involving a commercial space of any kind, you’ll need to ensure that your lease is, in fact, about to end. For any office move, an overlap of a month or so on leases is fairly common. This is also a good time to re-read your lease to ensure that, if there are any special conditions you have to meet before move-out, you are able to do so.
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Organize a Team to Plan the Move
When it comes to such large tasks, delegating responsibility is incredibly important. You’ll have a lot coming at you at once, and should assign some people in your office to oversee some key areas, including:
- Floor plan management (at your current and new location)
- Provisions for IT
- Work efficiency during your move
Conduct an Inspection
This should occur around three months before moving day and should be a preliminary step before contacting movers.
Inventory Your Furniture
Make note of all individual cubicles and office furniture in your current office layout. Even if you’re planning on getting rid of a significant amount of it, you should make note of everything. Hiring movers to carry old furniture to a disposal facility will figure into your moving budget while listing these items for sale or free pickup will take time.
Plan Your New Office Layout
Once you have your new lease in hand, you should begin planning your next office floor plan. Ideally, you’ll want to have precise measurements for your new space in hand, so you can begin drafting ideas.
Determine What You’re Keeping
Almost every move will involve some form of downsizing or reconfiguration of your current furniture setup. If you’re moving for the first time in five or more years, then you’re sure to have some pieces of furniture which you’ll be able to update or otherwise get rid of. If you’re planning on updating any larger pieces of furniture, like conference tables or the like, you may want to contact the building manager or incoming tenants to gauge interest in the piece(s) in question prior to disposal.
Once you have a precise idea of what your move will entail, you should contact movers in your area around two months ahead of your moving date. Be sure to only work with moving companies that explicitly advertise their commercial services. Office moves of all sizes can include a great deal of heavier equipment and furniture items. If your move involves elevators at one or both ends, then you’ll want to work with movers who have experience with commercial relocations. They will have the know-how needed to work efficiently under conditions where access to their route between their trucks and your workspace could be limited.
When getting quotes for larger moves, you should always push for a flat rate. Doing so will limit the potential for hidden fees at the end of your move, and will make things easier from a budgeting standpoint.
Confirm a Moving Date
Once you narrow down your options, you should book your moving date. Since all commercial relocations are considered larger jobs by movers, you should aim to have your moving date booked at least six to eight weeks ahead of time.
Plan for Missed Work
Dips in overall productivity are to be expected during office moves. If your workers have remote capabilities, all the better. If not, then planning for a slowed or totally stalled pace of work for a few days to a week will help you to plan your work around the move. Informing your employees of this impending move well in advance will help your entire team to compensate for a dip in performance during the couple of weeks surrounding the move.
Confirm IT Provisions in Your New Location
In the modern workplace, your data is becoming increasingly more central to overall productivity. Servers and related infrastructure will be the final group of items to be packed away at your old office and the first to be totally installed at your new location. Depending on the size of your business, or the overall sensitivity of the data in question, you may want to hire an outside team of professionals to handle this portion of your move.
Backup All Files
This should go without saying in the modern workplace, you need to back up everything before moving. You should provide all of your employees with a moving packet full of relevant measures to be taken in advance of moving day, including:
- Backup measures for all data
- Packing techniques and schedules for all personal equipment
- Packing schedules for all common area items
List Needed Equipment
Unless you’re incredibly lucky, the infrastructure at your new office space will likely not match your current needs or setup. If you have the opportunity prior to move-in, you should conduct a thorough inventory of your current equipment, while doing a walkthrough at your new space to determine your future setup.
Arrange for Utilities and Parking
While employee parking should have been a primary condition for signing a new office lease, you should check to ensure adequate parking access at your new space if you haven’t already.
Beyond this, you should call your current utility providers to confirm shut-off dates for all services. Ideally, you should have your shut-off dates scheduled for the day after you leave your current space. Similarly, try to arrange for utilities at your next location to be turned on a day ahead of your scheduled move. These should include:
- Gas or oil for heat
- Phone service
- Water and sewer
- Trash and recycling (often included in commercial leases)
Update Company Information
For the sake of all involved, you should arrange for all relevant information to be updated on your company website, and on all letterheads and outgoing mail, effective on your moving date.
Vendors and Clients
You should email all clients and vendors regarding your relocation and moving date as soon as your move is confirmed. During moving week, send follow-up emails to all relevant parties to ensure a smooth transition.
Packing for a commercial move is far different than packing for residential relocations. You won’t be able to get quite as early a start on the process as may be necessary, since your employees will likely need access to much of the goods to be moved for productivity’s sake.
Supply each employee with a packing schedule three weeks ahead of moving day, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Packing should begin around two weeks prior to your move, with all employees taking on responsibility for packing their own spaces. Common areas can be left to your movers, although you should schedule this service ahead of time.
For any packing of servers and other IT equipment, you should enlist the help of outside professionals. This could mean hiring a combination of IT workers and movers for labor within the last few days prior to your move.
Inspect Your Old Office Space
After you’ve completed your relocation, you’ll be able to go back to your old office and inspect it for any potential damage to be repaired. You’ll also be able to spot any smaller leftover items and conduct a thorough cleaning of the space. At this juncture, you should review your old lease to see if there are any contractual obligations you have as far as property condition and cleanliness are concerned.
Hiring a cleaning service, as well as a contractor to patch up the walls before your lease expires may be necessary.
Office Moving FAQ
Am I covered if my movers damage my goods?
Movers carry released liability coverage for goods, which is included in the base cost of any move. However, this will only cover you at a rate of $0.60 per pound, per item, as mandated across the industry. If you need additional coverage, most movers will offer valuation options at an added cost.
Should I schedule for disposal of unneeded items before or after moving day?
Scheduling for the disposal of old furniture and other goods is best done within a couple of weeks before your moving day. This will clear up space for your movers to work during the move itself.
How long should it take to have my business up and running after a move?
Generally speaking, you can expect total functionality to return around two weeks after your office move. Individual employees should be able to return to a somewhat normal work schedule within a few days.