You’ve just got word from your executive team: you’re moving! You’ll probably experience a lot of ups and downs through this process including your own reflections and feelings about the space you’re moving to and the space you’re leaving behind. Let those settle in, process how you feel, and then we can get to work making this move happen, seamlessly.
Your move will happen in phases, from planning and preparation all the way up to your actual moving date. Between now and then, you’ll need to set up your timeline and budget, downsize what you don’t need, and bring your team together.
Here are 12 tips for planning an office move that's stress-free:
1. Set Goals at Every Stage of the Office Move
When you determine as a team that you’ll be moving to a new location, don’t panic. This will be a huge undertaking and one that falls especially onto office managers like you, but it’s a time of reflection and transformation. Channel your nerves or stress into excitement and get ready for a breath of fresh air.
Some of the main things to set goals for:
- How much you’d like to get rid of or clear out
- The number of days your team can afford to take completely away
- The new space - what should it be that this space was not?
- Conduct in the new space - how will this place change how you operate?
- A final move date you can stick to (and work backward from)
2. Determine Your Timeline
Once you have set a final move date with your current building administrator and your new landlord or building owner, you’ll work backward to set milestone dates between now and then. Ideally, your move is no sooner than 6 months away.
Your timeline should look something like this:
- 6+ Months Pre-Move: Announce the move to your team, provide details and reasons, set your budget, and work with management to make contingency plans so that work projects and events aren’t hindered by the move.
- 3-4 Months Pre-Move: Secure your moving vendors, lock down the loading & unloading dates and processes, begin packing the less essential items, and downsize, downsize, downsize!
- 6 Weeks Pre-Move: Pivot your focus to the new space, start working with a decorator, set up your layout and seating arrangements, bring in furniture and bring your team in for the tour.
- During Moving Month: Get utilities and access set up, finalize all design and decor, have the new space cleaned thoroughly, push out an address change announcement to key vendors and stakeholders, and stay organized.
- During Moving Week: Maintain clear and actionable communication with employees, take special care in closing out your current location, and change your address in all the necessary places.
You’ll have additional specifics on your list, depending on the kind of equipment, teams, and spaces you need to account for.
3. Lean on Your People
At every step in this move, your entire team of employees needs to be kept aware and informed, encouraged to share feedback or frustrations, and invited to participate in the ways they’re drawn to. Some employees will be passive participants of this move and that’s okay. Recruit the most enthused employees to form a committee. These core decision-makers, along with all company leadership, can help acquire boxes, organize the sale of unwanted items, disperse communications, and more.
4. Forge a Communication Pathway
Speaking of that communication dispersal, it’s wisest to set up a clear pathway for all moving-related comms. This might look like a dedicated Slack channel, temporary internal email address, or a Wiki page where concerns can be filed and handled. Designate a point person or small core team to field these questions and concerns, send out newsletters or memos as necessary, and also house the info your teams might need. Make sure everyone is informed and on board with this communication pathway and hold frequent town halls during the various phases of your move, to keep everyone in sync.
5. Stay on Budget
When making move-related decisions, operate like you would with business-related decisions. Prioritize budget and allow that budget to be a driving force to stay on target with all moving-related goals, stick to the timeline, and make no unnecessary compromises.
6. Inventory Absolutely Everything
Before you can make decisions about your equipment, furnishings, tools, and tech, you need to know what you’ve got and what you need. This will require a deep inventory of storerooms you haven’t opened in a few months and discussions with team leaders to determine what matters and what’s become outdated or redundant. Keep a running spreadsheet or paper file of everything, color-coded with where you’ll be keeping it all in the new space.
7. Get Professional Support
You decide what “professional support” looks like for your move. If your office is small and your team can self-manage the actual moving, your professional support might just be a deep-clean for the old place once you’re gone, and for the new place before you arrive. However, to avoid the loss of productivity and the liability of a big move, it might be easier to port the entire responsibility to a professional commercial moving company. Do the research, consider your budget, and determine what type of commercial moving assistance would suit your needs.
8. Prep Your New Space Upfront
Before you move into the new location, consider what it will need. By all means, you’ll want to ensure that electricity and other utilities have been hooked up and made available before you move in. You’ll need complete internet and phone connectivity as per your usual setup and needs. It’s also wise to get as much done, in terms of decorating, layout, functional design, and space-designation as you can before you’re all moved in. You’ll tweak things as you go, but the morale of moving your whole team into a curated, clean, comfortable space far outperforms how you’d feel moving them into an empty space.
9. Anticipate Access and Security
You’ll need to assess the best ways to close up shop in your current location and transition into the new building. Part of those considerations include things like building access and security. Include a plan for how to have keys or swipe cards made for everyone who will work in the new location.
Don’t neglect to consider how you’ll collect everyone’s current keys or access cards and what needs to be done with those. Make sure that you’ve changed locks, installed cameras, or made other security measures before moving any assets or people into the new space. In your timeline, make sure you produce new keys or access cards early enough to provide one to the cleaning crews, building vendors, or tech teams that might require early access.
10. Designate Specific Moving-Week Protocol
When the move actually takes place, you’ll want to set protocol for:
- Who handles what - and who to ask when questions arise
- How to disconnect things without breaking them
- Which equipment or furnishings move first, next, and last
- What personal belongings employees should move for themselves
- How best to pack and secure sensitive or expensive items
- Where everyone can park in the new building
This list could be simple or exponentially larger, depending on the level of granular control you’d like to maintain and how large your operation will be.
11. Handle the Address Change Privately & Publicly
One of the most harrowing parts of your moving journey will come during and after the actual move - your address change. If you’ve ever moved house, you know how taxing it can be to change your address with all financial providers, vendors, family members, and frequent contacts. It’s another challenge entirely to do all of this for a business. Make a list of every location or provider which will require updating and prioritize or delegate the task.
Your list might include:
- All financial institutions for the business - insurance providers, investors, creditors, banks
- Vendors and suppliers we work with
- Your website, social media accounts, and other profiles
- Directories and local listings
There’s a comprehensive list here if you need it.
12. Help Your Team Adjust
Your most important role as the office manager isn’t actually to manage the office, it’s to make life easier for the people who work there. Your team will need support while they adjust. From adjusting to the news of relocation - which can have a massive impact on employees - to adjusting to the new location itself, you can be a resource for your team.
Be sure to check in often, determine how this move and its implications are affecting business and morale, and do your part to keep everyone positive. When everyone is on board and working together, no moving snafu will be too big to handle.
Looking for a way to manage your office more efficiently? Check out what Eden’s Office Management Platform can do for your workplace.