Last September we wrote about our own experience of relocating our office space, so we know first-hand that it can be a difficult, stressful project to undertake and we don’t envy the office manager who has to oversee the project from start to finish without a break in business continuity.
Overseeing everything from the logistics of moving servers, computers and even the trusty coffee machine, to floor planning, to the more technical aspects involved in sourcing and starting up new networks, testing software integration and back-up before going live, means it is easy to forget any one aspect of the relocation. All the while, the pressure is on to keep the business running so clients and customers are not lost in the melee.
So what are the bases you need to cover to make that office move a success?
Here, we give a quick rundown of the major considerations.
Firstly, when looking at new location because your current office is not doing the business, you must consider the current and future needs of various departments. If needed, will the new space have adequate room for offices and meeting rooms? If it is to be open plan, will you require desks, and what layout will ensure optimum working practices? These questions must be answered before the decision is made on a new location, so the office manager needs to get input from department heads and the CEO, and needs to know whether expansion is planned and whether the new space can accommodate more staff and work stations.
On a practical level, having facilities such as a kitchen may be obvious, but its location and proximity to work stations is also a consideration. Interruptive noise can be detrimental to efficiency, and the team members who need silence to concentrate may be affected by lunchtime chattering or the constant hum of the espresso machine.
An office move can not only give your business the chance to expand and enjoy new and invigorating surroundings, it can also give the opportunity to assess your current set-up and improve on it, so again, input from department heads is very useful here. Find out what their main obstacles are, and see if you can provide solutions in the new workspace.
The IT considerations are huge, and careful thought needs to be put into how best to transfer all IT assets smoothly, and improve on them where possible. If your business has servers, you need to find adequate and satisfactory space for them, or consider moving to cloud computing as an enhancement. This could also be a consideration when looking at your back-up capability and storage needs.
Relocation may also mean changing or adding service providers, so you need to have a timeline for their set-up, with enough lead-in time to ensure everything is in place and working properly in advance of the big move day.
Discuss requirements with the IT team and make sure you are all on the same page as regards what is needed to make the transition work for the business without any delays. If your IT team doesn’t have the capacity to handle all aspects of the move, it may be worth looking into the possibility of outsourcing to experts with experience in all levels of Business IT.
If buying new equipment, computers, other devices or software, make sure the IT team has time to test them properly for usability, and allow for adequate time to train staff up on anything new they need to get to grips with while still in the existing office. You won’t want half your staff unable to log into their new computer or operate the complicated new phone system for the first week in the new premises.
As maintaining a constant and growing online presence is so essential to business, especially if you operate your sales through it, it is also important to make sure internet service providers and domain registration companies are kept in the loop regarding any changes to your website, URL, etc, to avoid stoppages to your online service.
Finally, it is also important for the office manager to look at the overall plan and create an agreed-upon budget for the move with company directors. This will ensure the right decisions are made and followed, and will avoid any nasty surprises that will impact on the business’s profits and turn you from a relocation hero into a villain.
It’s a lot to take in, so we have put together a handy checklist of everything you need to do for that office move.