Office moves are a lot of work for everyone involved and there is no doubt they can be disruptive to everyone in the organisation. However, there are many benefits of doing so. This is because "Moving office presents an opportunity for companies to consider exciting changes, which can have a huge impact on staff motivation and productivity, staff retention and attracting the best talent, improved internal communications and collaboration."
"When it comes to planning an office move, one of the major considerations involves reducing the amount of disruption to your systems and data both during and after the move." -
"PLAN AHEAD - everything takes longer than you think", says Aodhan MacCathmhaoil from Waster.com.au.
However, Tina Chou, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Ellyot, says: “Having the right digital architecture in place is extremely important. In fact, it should be the first starting point for combating complex office moves. I feel that if companies start adopting smart-working and utilising digital tools and platforms that help to implement remote working, office moves will be made much easier.”
Rob Boirun, CEO at The Reviewster Network, adds: "When my business moved to an downtown office last year, we approached it if a few phases to ensure minimal disruption and downtime. Firstly, we overlapped 1 month in our office rent. This gave us an extra 30 days, which was ample time to get everything moved. The new office location also had all the same 'tech' in place as the old including T1 lines, WiFi routers and Cat 5 connections at each desk and telecom lines. This ensured that we could move over in waves. while keeping everything running.
"Starting with the sales team, we moved over their equipment (such as their computers, phones, and fax machines) over a weekend. This ensures that the sales team on Monday could pick up exactly where they left off on Friday. This worked really well, so we moved the rest of the team over the next weekend. This left of with two weeks to make sure that everything was running as normal, which gave everyone peace of mind during the transition.
The most important lesson I learnt? Having a good plan in place before is a great way to ensure a successful transition."
Here are some of the most important factors to take into account in the run-up to your office move.
You need to find somewhere suitable, and this will involve weighing up a number of factors. For example, is the cell service good enough? Does the site have connectivity issues?
"It’s worth carrying out a tech survey of any potential sites before you make your final decision. This will ensure your chosen site has a suitable infrastructure for your needs before you start the whole moving process."
Malcolm Joosse, Director at Hotline IT, adds: "The main advice I give any company planning on moving, is to ensure you consider the technical aspects of any prospective sites. I have seen decisions made about the choice of new sites based primarily on the technical benefits of one of the choices. By engaging a consultant that is able to provide the technical details of sites, you can save a lot in the long run.
"The second piece of advice would be to ensure that they have all the services applied for and ready to go well before move in day. Most carriers have a 40 Business Day lead time for Fibre based services, so get the applications in sooner rather than later."
Hector Hughes, Growth Manager at Nobly POS, says: “Ideally, you want to have all the infrastructure for your telecoms Installed well before you move. In that way, you won’t experience the frustration of not having internet for the first week when moving.
"It is also quite difficult to find a provider. Everyone says they give the best quality service, so if you go into it with no real knowledge of the industry then it is a bit of a mystery in terms of who you can trust.It’s a very difficult decision to reverse, so you have to take your time before you lock yourself into a contract. I would therefore highly recommend doing a lot of research on the different providers to find the right one for your business."
Sandra Curran from South Qld Airconditioning Pty Ltd, adds: "Moving is a necessary headache. Whether it be for better Business Exposure or simply reducing rental costs. Always make a plan with step 1,2, 3, etc. It's best to check with other tenants in the area to make sure connections are good. We moved once and found out that the Visa Machines kept dropping out.
"Check your current number can be transferred to new premises, if not...set up a new number so you can organise to have calls from your current number diverted to the new number. Its costs approx $30 per month. Once you have your new number organise, WIFI with your provider. This usually takes about 2 or 3 days for delivery. I have always used this method and ticked them off as I go. Works every time."
The one rule of moving offices is that it will always take longer than you think it will. Never wait until the last moment because by then it will be too late. Once you have decided on a site, start planning for the office move about a year in advance.
Does the new location need a refit? If so, you need to plan for installing cabling and connectivity as early as possible. If other businesses already share the building, there may be some connectivity in place.
Do you have legacy onsite servers? If so, consider getting them virtualized well before the move.
This is also a good time to think about your phone system. Do you currently have an on-premise PBX? This might be the right opportunity to switch to a new VoIP system. You can then get it sorted out long before the move to ensure everything is in working order when you arrive.
All new systems and equipment have the potential to create problems, so they will need plenty of time to be tested and fixed.
Mark Patruno, Director of MAP Workplace Services, adds: "you need to ask yourself if your new site going to be fit for purpose (i.e. would it need to have improved or increased size and capability?). Ultimately, this means have you taken into account projected headcount, new IT infrastructure, size and amount of Infrastructure, supporting infrastructure like heat loads, and support services like AC and Power redundancy.
"Does your new premises cater to these requirements? This would most like be done in the due diligence and site selection process but definitely should be accounted for."
Ethernet cable installation can take up to 4-5 months to sort out, and the same is true for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network connection, so you will want to start getting these sorted out with plenty of time.
Getting your T1 line installed can also take a few weeks or months to sort out, and it depends on your provider. It can also take about three months to get your services activated – and you don’t want to move without your internet and phones working.
This could also be a good time to look at other providers. Compare the market and find out if you could be getting a better deal with new providers so you are not paying for anything you don’t need.
You might also want to look into upgrading your equipment. This could involve boosting your backup options, improving bandwidth, changing your computers and migrating services to the cloud.
As the date approaches, you will want to start planning for the moving process itself. One of the things you must do is back up your essential data to reduce the risk of something going wrong that could lead to disaster.
You will also need to start sorting out DSL connectivity, which can take up to three weeks to arrange.
Also, plan the exact details of how the move will go ahead in the months leading up to it. How will you physically move? What date will you move? Will it be in one big move or in stages?
As the big move approaches, give your employees plenty of warning. You want to keep employee disruption to a minimum because it can be very stressful for everyone involved, so provide them with plenty of reminders and encourage them to get all their files in order.
However, help them to understand that, while you want to do everything to minimise their disruption, some level of upheaval is inevitable.
Will, the Founder of Fully Gaming, says: "The interim between moves is always going to cause disruption, the earlier you accept that the better! Rather than trying to force everyone to keep working in the same way just accept that things are going to be a bit trickier for a few days and prepare yourself for that. Can everyone work from home? If yes then that can be a great solution. Maybe you can hire some desk space for a few days at a local hotdesking centre? Maybe everyone just gets a couple days off. There are plenty of options, and the right decision will be dependent on your office culture."
A Fantastic Removals article states that "it is important to be absolutely transparent with your employees and keep them updated throughout the move. Alongside this getting employees to play and active role in the move will help to get them fully on board with the decision."
Additionally, Raeleen Kaesehagen, founding CEO of Mudputty adds that "planning out the new office before the move is highly beneficial, as the last thing you want is to spend days moving the office around." This will slow down the process of settling in and delay continuing work as usual.
This is also the time to check that everything is working as it should be in the new office. Fix any last-minute problems to ensure an easier transition period and make the move less stressful for everyone.
John Shields from Your Phones Covered, advises that during an office move, you can make the process less complicated by using a virtual receptionist. He says: "When a business is moving offices, they have their hands full and often don't have time to physically answer the phone. Additionally, their business phone system may go down for period of time. As a virtual reception business, we provide our clients with temporary reception cover, and this works by them routing their existing phone numbers to us until they are live at their new office. This can be done by their Telco, as handsets are packed in boxes.
"Our service is like an outsourced switchboard; the call comes through to us before the client, and we answer and take action as appropriate. Because they think they're speaking to reception, the clients' callers never know!"
When starting to plan a move, something you can do well in advance and with no real expertise is take into account the Feng Shui. An Insider Living article states that "Feng Shui translates to “wind and water” and is the Chinese art of peaceful and harmonious placement to support health and happiness". A harmonious workplace that promotes health and happiness is absolutely essential to a well functioning and successful business. This is something that you can plan in advance and implement straight away.
"We recently changed offices within the same building and we’re still not settled in. All the excitement of a new office quickly goes away if scheduled work isn’t done on time or gets forgotten because it was “just aesthetics.” -
If you are thinking about the possibility of moving in the future, it is never too soon to start preparing. These are some of the main factors to keep in mind when you start planning your office move, so follow these tips and start getting ready as early as possible to minimise disruption.