Trading spaces: Six things to consider when moving office

Moving house is stressful, one of the most stressful things most of us will ever do. Moving a whole office can be just as stressful and potentially costly, with the majority of refurbishments or moves coming in over budget. With this in mind, business owners need to exercise caution and careful planning to ensure a stress free office move. Getting everything planned and in place beforehand will limit the stress and keep you on target.moving office

Keep in mind the following strategies when planning your office move.

Get your staff ready and involved

The chances are you are probably going to use your own staff to assist with the move, even if you do employ a removals firm. Make sure everyone understands their specific role. Select one or two key project managers to oversee the whole process and get them involved from the start, the more these members of staff can take on the more you will be able to sleep at night. Then make sure everyone else knows their role. From the person counting the stock out and back in, to the member of your team in charge of manning the phones during the move.

Budget as realistically as possible
It should go without saying that your main priority with an office move is its affordability. Collect quotes and calculate your basic costs – little details can have a significant affect in the long term so don’t skim the small stuff. If you agree to every extra small expense that you accrue during the planning process you’re allowing too much, as the saying goes “it all adds up”. Good budgeting makes businesses aware of possible unexpected pitfalls.

Be prepared for unexpected expenses
With a careful attitude to budgeting in mind, make certain to factor in the unfortunate business wisdom of your moving estimate being exactly that, an estimate. To expect differences or unexpected hikes in pricing is to prepare for the one certainty in terms of your business move, cost. Pay attention to the previous strategy, if you’re set to pay a lot more than you initially anticipated on this move, you should perhaps rethink the new premises if it means bottom line savings.

Get familiar with your New Work neighbourhood
Half of the battle of moving office is settling into your new premises. Gaining a familiarity with your office’s new neighbourhood before you make the move to relocate can make the difference to how your company adjusts to its new settings. Try timing your new work commute and get familiar with what the traffic will be like in the mornings and evenings, make an effort to travel to the premises on a working day so they’ll be no surprises when the move is completed.

Take positive measures to feel positive about your new work environment, make an effort to view it as somewhere you enjoy visiting rather than somewhere that you immediately associate with work stress. Make acquaintances with neighbouring businesses in your office block or street, try finding out the most appetizing and affordable places to eat or to bring clients to lunch. Knowing your new surroundings early on will help you and your team to adjust to the new location.

Hire a Removals Company

One sure fire way to reduce the stress of moving is to hire a removals company to help with the process. However, taking care to get the right firm is essential. Working with your project manager(s) build a list of different companies and get costings from all of them. Once you have whittled the list down make your decision, but don’t base this entirely on who is the cheapest. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials or even get two firms to bid for the work. Keep in mind that the best removal companies will be listed on the British Association of Removers Oversees Group.

Keep the business moving

Where possible, it is important to keep the business moving, you don’t want to lose days’ worth of trading due to the move. Careful planning and using your IT and communications well will make sure your business is open as usual even while you move between the old office and the new. Try keeping skeleton staff working to answer any urgent emails or phone calls – if possible use call forwarding services so these members of the team can work remotely while the office move takes place.

Backup everything to the cloud, not only will you be covered in case something goes wrong during the move you will also enable your staff to work from home during this period. Once you have the keys to the new office focus on getting the essentials for your business and the IT up and running straight away. Locations for the office plants can come after the business is back to full speed.

Keep these points in mind to make sure your move goes off without a hitch:

  • Get your staff involved as early as possible and assign one or two members as dedicated project managers
  • Plan a budget and stick to it. Remember to build in a contingency but don’t allow that to be used up unnecessarily. Where ever possible agree on a fixed cost in advance.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Your budget should cover you but be prepared for an unexpected cost on the day. As well as costs, ready yourself for practical issues. For example, a delay in getting your new keys will always be annoying but don’t let it affect the whole project.
  • Get to know your new office and the new area. Make sure all your staff know where they are going before the move day and spend some time familiarising yourself and your staff with “the new place”
  • Hire the best removals company you can find. Don’t be afraid to ask several companies for quotes and make sure your project manager(s) are comfortable with the choice of removals firm.
  • Keep your business moving, make sure you lose as little time as possible to the move. Assign staff that can keep things going while you are between offices and trust them to hold the fort while you concentrate on moving it.

These steps may seem obvious, but attention to detail throughout the process will make sure you keep on top of the stresses your moving day may incur. Always remember that if the planning is already in place, the steps to reacting if unwanted surprises emerge on the way have been set out, and everyone knows what is expected of them, then moving day should remain stress free.

Rebecca D’Souza is a freelance writer and a contributor to WeAreTheCity.

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