There are many reasons you may be moving offices. From establishing your own office as a start-up or moving to a bigger space to expand staffing levels and productivity, through to the need to be in a different location or to improve your corporate image. Either way, moving offices marks a key step in the evolution of any business.
Whilst this is an exciting time, it can also be daunting, especially if you are responsible for the process of moving offices. There will be many tasks to complete before you have moved, so it will require careful planning. Through diligent organisation and planning, costs and disruption to your business will be minimised.
To make life a bit simpler, we have compiled the ultimate moving office checklist to help you navigate the process. This list of simple tasks and procedures can provide a useful tool.
Immediately: Give notice and start your moving office checklist
Once you have signed the lease for your new office, you can kick start the process. The first thing you must do is notify your current landlord and give notice.
- Consider legal advice: Your lease may be about to expire, but if you are in a situation where you need to break the lease on your current office, seek advice from a property solicitor. They will investigate your options which may include assigning the lease to another tenant or sub-letting. Just know that there may be potential charges involved. Your lawyer will also be able to advise you about staff considerations around your office relocation, such as whether your employment contracts contain a “mobility clause,” which allows you to move to a new location.
- Engage stakeholders: According to the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004, for businesses with more than 50 or more employees, employers should tell staff what is planned, and then listen to and take account of their views. The same rule applies when moving offices. Ensure you have informed any relevant bodies about your planned move, such as trade unions, board members, regulatory bodies and other staff.
- Communicate clearly: Engage in an open dialogue with staff about the move, including dates, all relevant details and expectations. Employees may be concerned about issues such as their commute and the cost, the new building and availability of parking and possible restructure of the company or other changes. Explain the reasons for the move, the benefits it will offer your organisation and your vision for your new office. Keep staff informed throughout the process, via regular emails, announcements in meetings or posted notices.
- Plan your budget: Before you start drilling down the detail of your office move, consider the costs involved. These include obvious upfront costs, such as the rent, removals and office deposit. However, there are other moving expenses that you will need to account for, such as any lost working days, storage costs if your current and future lease dates do not match up, utility fees and post redirection service. Check if your insurance policy covers you for office moves, so you are covered in the event of any valuables being damaged in transit.
- Look at the essential facilities: Look at what is included in contract for your new office space. If you choose a serviced office or co-working space, then many services, such as phone lines, IT, electricals and business rates will be covered. If they are not, look into the facilities you need and the costs involved.
Six to three months before the move: Essential planning
Make use of all the resources available to you and list every task that needs to be completed, no matter how insignificant, along with a timeline of when you expect tasks to happen.
- Create a master document: If you are a large organisation, this will require a spreadsheet or moving office checklist. You will need to assign steps and tasks to individuals or teams within your organisation so everyone knows who is responsible for each job when moving offices. Think about the timing involved. If you are a start-up or smaller company, the move could be completed within a day, but if you are responsible for moving a larger team, who have more assets, the move may need to be completed in stages.
- Appoint key people: You will need to assign people to different jobs i.e. Your office move or project planning team. Within larger organisations, you will need a senior team member to sign off processes and costs. Consider enlisting people who have different skills and personalities, so you have a blend of organisational and strategic thinkers and problem solvers, alongside people who will help you stay calm to make the process as orderly as possible. Meet regularly with this team to fine tune your office relocation plan.
- Plot key dates: When do you need to be out of your current office and into your new one? If there is any time between these two dates, you may need to consider storage options. When looking into this, consider both the location of the storage and the cost of the time you will need items in storage.
- List equipment and products and staff: Create an inventory and list everything that needs to be moved and when. This list will need to include all equipment, such as computers, printers and other specialist items, alongside general furniture and paperwork.
- Measure up: Measure up your new office space, thinking about furniture design, layouts and positioning of teams. Make scale plans of the new office layout, so you know exactly where everything will be, including all additional furniture. Assign workspaces and talk to staff about any concerns they may have about this, well in advance of the move.
- Think about furniture: Office furniture is an important part of creating a productive and efficient working environment. It also gives the right impression to staff and clients about the quality of the service that you offer. Many serviced offices and other spaces will provide all the furniture you may need but if they do not, or you need extra furniture, order it now. Some businesses may choose to employ an office design company, to look after the whole design and refit process. If you need it, they will source new furniture and other relevant equipment.
- Ditch unwanted items: When thinking about what you have in the office, take the time to consider items that you no longer need, that may be taking up valuable space, or those that may need to be replaced. Old furniture and office equipment can be recycled and old paperwork can be disposed of properly, with regards to current data protection laws.
- Obtain removal company quotes: Get quotes from removals companies and ensure they understand your area of business. Think about whether you will be doing the packing yourselves or whether you wish the removals company to do your packing for you. If you are moving with furniture, you will need to factor this into your removal plans. Get three quotes from different companies and seek recommendations. Book your chosen company as far in advance as possible. This will allow you as much time as possible to liaise with them about what you need and when.
- Inform services providers: Every business will need an internet and phone connection and you may employ other services, such as cleaners and security and maintenance staff. These services will need to be informed of the move date. You will also need to inform your utility providers of your moving date. You may wish to transfer your providers to your new office. If you need new security and cleaning services, research your options.
- Organise a clean: If a deep clean is part of you existing office’s lease agreement, ensure you have cleaners in place to do this when you have moved out. You may also think about getting your new office clean for when you move in.
- Get your contact lists in order: Ensure you have the lists of all your clients, contacts and suppliers in order. Ensure everyone is up to date with when you are moving office and why. Send regular reminders as the move approaches, with all the contact details.
- Purchase packing equipment: The equipment that you need for moving will need to be organised . If you are packing yourself, then you will need all types of packing materials, including crates and large cardboard boxes, tape, scissors and bubble wrap for fragile items.
- Review your budget: As your moving date approaches, regularly review your relocation budget to ensure you are staying on track. Refer back to your office relocation checklist to ensure that nothing has been overlooked.
- Organise security: New security systems for employees will need to be set up, so they can safely access the new office.
One to two weeks to go: Draw up a moving day schedule and start packing
As the day draws nearer, there will be several imminent tasks to tackle before you move offices.
- Create a moving day schedule: This should include a breakdown of everything that needs to happen and when. Set clear deadlines, so no one can procrastinate. Key suppliers will also need to be informed about the day that you are moving. Many businesses choose to move on a day where this business is not operating, such as a weekend, to minimise disruption. Distribute all moving instructions to the relevant people.
- Think about a skeleton operation: If you are moving on a day that your business is running, think about organising a skeleton operation for when the move is taking place. All phone calls and enquiries should be diverted here whilst the move is underway. Encourage managers to create comprehensive plans for managing workflows within their teams, so deadlines are met.
- Start packing: Efficient packing is a major part of office moves to ensure that everything is moved in the correct manner. If you are not using a full packing service, employees should start packing up the non-essential items they are responsible for about a week in advance, including archived paperwork, files and other items. Ensure items are labelled in the correct way, according to direction from your removals company.
- Consider confidential paperwork: Think carefully about how items like confidential paperwork will be transported when you are moving offices. Your moving company will be able to advise you about this. Boxes with anti-tamper labels are often used.
- Talk to staff: You will need to communicate regularly with your staff about every stage of the process. Recap with them about what will happen on moving day and talk to them about how you can keep business operations running as seamlessly as possible during the move. Make sure all staff are ready to empty their desks and take all their personal belongings with them.
- Organise access: Revisit you plans for security and access to your new building. If you cannot actually get into your new office when you arrive, you will face some big delays!
- Update office details: Ensure all contact details on business cards, websites, signage and advertising is ready to be updated when you move.
Moving day: Action, stations!
On the big day, this is when all the planning comes into play! When you get into your new office, there are a number of things you will need to think about to get your business up and running smoothly.
- Clean up: Do not forget to ensure that your old office has been restored to the condition that it was in before you moved in. You may also wish to enlist cleaners to help you on the day, to remove packaging and ensure your new office is in tip-top condition.
- Have a contacts sheet: Include all key contact details on your office relocation checklist sheet for key people, so if moving staff are in separate places, they can be easily contactable.
- Test equipment: Test all computers, phones, networks and other electrical equipment to ensure it is working properly. Work with your IT team to ensure that the IT infrastructure is all correctly installed and tested. Ensure any relevant training on the use of the equipment is given to team leaders.
- Check conditions: Ensure that you check the condition of the office when you arrive. Take photos if necessary, as evidence.
- Buy food and water: If your office relocation is a demanding job, ensure you have plenty of water and fuel on hand to keep people going.
- Unpack and sign off: Get items unpacked and in their new homes as swiftly as possible, so employees can relax and get back to work. Ensure representatives of each department are on hand to facilitate the move and sign off jobs as they are completed, making sure everything is in the correct place and undamaged.
After the move: Time to review and celebrate
After weeks of planning and preparation, you are in your new office. Congratulations!
- Trial the space: You may need to trial the new space for a day or two and take onboard feedback of staff, in case items need a shuffle around, so you can achieve the ideal working environment.
- Settle your bills: Finalise all bills with external companies used during the moving process or related to your old office.
- Celebrate the move: Consider holding a drinks reception for staff or clients to mark the move, show off the new office.
Moving offices is an exciting and progressive step in your business’s journey. If you are searching for a new office space and need assistance, contact Click Offices. Our team of property experts understand the market and can negotiate favourable terms for your business. With a serviced office from Click Office, everything is taken care of for you, so you moving offices doesn’t have to be so stressful.