There are many reasons you might move to a new office. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current space, want to be closer to your clients or need to reduce overall costs. Whatever the reason, picking up roots and putting all the equipment and people into a new location isn’t easy.
The cost of office space per square foot in the United States varies depending on the location. Statista reports New York as the most expensive city. Moving your office just outside a major city may save you big bucks, but also may present an inconvenience. You have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding what’s best for your company.
No matter where you plan to relocate, there are some things that will make your transition easier. You must consider operations, the logistics of moving everything, your staff and more.
1. Internet Connectivity
Today’s businesses function via digital connections. With the challenges of 2020 and a global pandemic, the ability to meet virtually and have fast connectivity is more important than ever before. Before you start the move to your new space, make sure the entire building is wired for high-speed internet.
Look at Wi-Fi boosters and any other additions you need to make your building smarter and better equipped to handle new technology as it emerges. While the building is empty is the best time to figure out how to prevent any future issues with internet connections. You still have an opportunity to run any cables or other hardware needed.
2. Storage Concerns
As you relocate, you’ll likely need to store equipment such as desks and even computers. You don’t want to trust these expensive items to just any storage facility. It’s important to find a facility of the right size that’s temperature-controlled and secure, to protect your investment.
You may also move in stages into the new space, with some departments getting up and running before others. Storing things you don’t need in the interim saves you money later because you won’t have to replace things.
3. Office Layout
The way you lay out your office now may be different than in previous years. As businesses navigate a post-pandemic world, considerations such as social distancing may become more of a norm. Many chambers of commerce offer advice to local business owners on everything from networking to designing your floorplan.
Think about things such as whether you need separate offices, how far apart to seat employees and even how to let in fresh air. You may need fewer common areas for people to mill around in, but you will still need alcoves where they can take a break, have a quick meeting or utilize brainstorming sessions.
4. Employee Involvement
One of the most difficult parts of moving is the stuff that comes with staff. Have each employee pack up their own desk and items and mark them clearly for the move to the new building. Get the IT department on board and have them plan out how they’ll move equipment and reconnect everything.
You may want to give other workers a day or two off or plan a retreat for them while IT sets up necessary workstations in the new building and makes sure the network functions properly. Plan for some errors and snafus as everything starts back up.
5. Finalize Security
If you have any type of security, you’ll want to get it in place at the new location before bringing employees in. So, go ahead and set up key cards and access codes to enter the building or specific areas. Think about what information you need to protect, but don’t forget you may also need to protect employees.
While it’s rare to hear of an office shooting, it isn’t unheard of. How will you keep out disgruntled former employees? You also might need to protect intellectual property from competitors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about eight nonfatal violent workplace crimes for every 1,000 workers in the United States, but not all are reported to law enforcement. The existence of workplace violence creates both physical and emotional issues. They can result in missed work and a lack of productivity.
If you aren’t sure whether your security is stringent enough, call in an outside expert to do an audit. It’s best to fix any weak spots before you move to the new location. You need protection from both external and internal threats.
6. Change of Address Notices
There are a lot of people to notify of your new location, and you won’t want to miss anyone. Have your notices ready to mail the week before you move. You should also follow up with an email reminding clients of your new office space.
Submit a forwarding address to the post office, inform suppliers and clients of the move and make sure employees understand the location of the building and where to park. You may run into a situation where the commute is no longer feasible for some employees. Discuss remote work options for those you want to keep but who feel the new location is a detriment.
You can always have them come in one or two days and work from home at other times. Creating a flexible schedule may also mean you need less actual space, and it might save you money on the building and utilities.
Appoint a Planning Team
Form a committee as early in the process as possible and have them work with each department and leadership to ensure a smooth transition. Ideally, the team will have people with different skills and personalities, so they will think through all the elements of the move, from the aesthetics to calling the moving company to setting everything back up. If you do enough pre-planning, the transition will be much smoother.