Golden rules for moving offices
Relocating a business from one office to another always has the potential to be a difficult and stressful undertaking for anyone at the forefront of the process. Planning and preparing thoroughly is therefore essential to success but also to making sure you’re able to maximise the potential benefits of making your office space move.
In an ideal world, the person appointed to lead an office move will have led a similar process in the past but this isn’t always possible. In fact, it is unrealistic to expect many people to have extensive experience of managing an office move unless they specialise in doing so, simply because moving offices is not a process undertaken on a frequent basis by any business.
That isn’t to say of course that moving offices is a challenge to avoid. There are some very significant benefits to be derived from switching to a space that better meets your needs as a business now and in the future. It is crucial though to get as much right as possible in advance of the move and as it unfolds.
Here are some rules of thumb to have in mind if you are leading an office relocation at your company or organisation:
Consider carefully why you’re making the move
An office transition leader should be as fully aware as possible of the motivations behind the relocation. Understanding the goals and the driving forces behind the process can help shape and inform the choices that are made as it unfolds.
Key follow up questions could include:
- When does our existing lease expire?
- How much notice does our landlord need?
- What needs to happen before we can vacate our current offices?
Clarify your fundamental objectives
There will be plenty of time to get into the specific details of what your next office needs to be and what it needs to look like. Initially, though, the focus should be on the broader objectives and finding answers to the following fundamental questions:
- How much office space do you need?
- Where are your preferred locations?
- When do you need to be in your new office?
- What length and sort of rental arrangement is preferred?
Get started straight away
Once the primary goals have been agreed upon by relevant parties and your office move has been given the green light to move forward then there is really no time to waste.
An eventual move in date might seem a long way off at the outset but your time will soon be eaten away by planning for and managing different elements of the transition process. So it is imperative that all these processes are engaged with and embarked upon consistently at the earliest opportunity.
Get a good team together and delegate
No individual can handle the office moving process alone and putting a team together who bring a variety of skills and expertise to the table is crucial. It is also very important to delegate in a way that spreads responsibility and gives individuals an opportunity to efficiently and confidently handle specific aspects of the relocation.
Once you’ve put your team together and assigned roles and responsibilities, the focus then should be on ensuring good communications are established and maintained throughout the life of your office move. There is so much that can go awry and so many moving parts involved in switching offices that only good communications and process management will ensure a smooth transition.
Bring in outside experts where necessary
Businesses tend only to move offices once or twice a decade, if that, so relying on internal expertise can be problematic in certain ways. Therefore it can be helpful, prudent and vitally important, in many cases, to bring in third party experts and specialists in the details of planning and executing and office move.
There is no shortage of high calibre service providers around who are well-placed to provide support and guidance on a wide range of different issues relating to the process of switching offices. Regardless of how large or small your workforce is or what challenges you face, there are companies and experts around who can save you both time and money en route to your new offices.
Establish a budget
Your moving office budget may need a degree of flexibility but it is vital to establish a working budget as close to the beginning of the project as possible. From this basis you should then be able to restrain costs where necessary and manage the expenditure involved in the moving process with a greater degree of clarity than you would otherwise have.
Purge what you don’t need
Moving offices is a great opportunity for a business to make a fresh start and look to the future. In practical terms this can mean leaving behind or disposing of physical items and equipment that is no longer needed or making any contribution to your operations.
You are very unlikely to need everything around you at your old office as you move to your new premises. Being able to purge and get rid of physical equipment like old chairs or files of paperwork is potentially a major benefit to your business because it will free up space and help you focus on the future.
Get the right advice from legal experts
A very significant aspect of the office move process is the negotiations around the terms of your occupancy at both your current office and your intended future office. For that reason and others it is essential to secure the services of a reliable and experienced property solicitor as you approach these negotiations.
A property solicitor will be best placed to offer you guidance and advice on the details of your rental arrangements and contracts and they’ll be able to help with any unforeseen legal issues that can and often do arise in an office move scenario.
Keep calm and carry on
Moving offices can be a daunting undertaking if you are responsible for leading the process but by breaking down the overarching plan into smaller phases there is really no reason why it can’t be pulled off without much cause for alarm. As is often the case for leaders of any project, keeping a cool head can be very important and a particular advantage if situations do become challenging at any stage.