Planning the move into your new workplace must be addressed in good time if you want to avoid business disruption and unnecessary cost.
The ideal is to complete a seamless move which allows your business to continue without interruption.
Whilst on the face of it a move may seem like a daunting prospect with a multitude of issues to address, it should also be seen as an opportunity to upgrade your systems and refresh the way your business operates. One of the benefits that a relocation provides is that it represents a fresh start
when you can eradicate some of the inefficiencies that you have had to cope with previously.
Given that the move will affect everyone in your business, you need to assemble a team who can take into account all the operational requirements of the move and also the likely impact on business continuity.
This team should be in place even before you have selected a new workplace as many of the implications of a relocation will remain constant regardless of where you finally move to.
- Assemble an internal team who will identify the operational impact and needs of the move .
- Determine clear areas of responsibility and decide on what the decision-making process will be for expediting the move.
- Identify a moving date (this is usually best centred on a weekend so that the move can be largely completed during the 48 hours when your business is not operational).
- Create a project plan with a timeline and the milestones towards your relocation. This will be closely linked and influenced to your fit-out timetable. You may want to link payments for the fit-out to particular "milestones" in the completed works.
- Consider the implications of your fit-out being delayed and what action you would take (would you be able to extend your stay in your current premises? do you need to build some space into the timetable for unforeseen delays?).
- Integrate the delivery schedule of new office furniture and equipment into the relocation timetable.
- Identify what your obligations are at your current workplace and how these will be addressed prior to/after your move (for example, what your reinstatement obligations are).
- Make sure all your customers, suppliers and business contacts are aware of your move and the relevant dates
- Establish that you have the necessary insurance cover for the move.
- Ensure there is a plan for closing all relevant utility accounts at your current workplace and that the counterpart services are in place at your new workplace for when you move in. The lead-in times for getting utilities connected in a new workplace can be considerable, so sort this out early on in the process.
- Check that you can get an acceptable mobile phone signal at your new workplace. This is particularly relevant if you are taking space on a lower ground floor.
- Order necessary stationery and signage well in advance of your move so it is ready to use from day one.
- Arrange a meeting with whoever is responsible for managing the building in which your workplace is located. This may be someone who works directly for the landlord or, as is more common, a specialist property manager who is contracted to do the job.
As you get closer to the moving date, increase the flow of information to your staff. This will help concentrate their minds on the process ahead. Let them know what’s happening and what they will need to do (for example, packing up their files, informing contacts).
If you have a substantial number of personnel (20+) you might want to put together a Welcome Pack which contains all the information that your workforce need to know about your new workplace. Even if this is not appropriate, make sure the workforce are emailed all relevant addresses, contact numbers, details of building security, and local facilities well in advance of the move. Alternatively, place this information on the company intranet or on the PC desktops of each member of the workforce.
Remember that some of your workforce may be out of the office on the actual day of the move so you need to make provision for this.
A move to a new workplace is a good opportunity for a business to revisit how it operates and also for it to shed some of the unnecessary materials it has accumulated. Encourage the staff to weed out papers they no longer need; this will free up valuable storage space at your new workplace and make data retrieval more efficient.
IT and telecoms are such a vital part of contemporary businesses that it is advisable to have a special focus on these aspects of your move.
Create a team that deals exclusively with IT and telecoms and make sure that the installation of these services is at the heart of your relocation. Without this connectivity, few businesses can operate even if every other aspect of their workplace is perfect.
Forward planning is essential to a successful move. Some business disruption is inevitable but this can be minimised by identifying at an early stage what needs to be done.
While your new premises are being fitted-out and you are planning your relocation, it is worth considering how to take steps that will ensure that your workplace remains in tune with your business needs. This is dealt with in further detail in the section, Planning ahead: how to future-proof your workplace.