Office move checklist
There are many factors to consider when planning an office move, whether for a completely new start-up or a more established business. Learn more here
So you’re moving office? It’s an exciting time – you may be moving into your first office space and preparing to launch your business. Or, your company has grown and developed and now you’re looking to change locations too.
Wherever your business is at in its lifecycle, moving office is a key milestone – but it can be extremely stressful too.
To help make your office move a little bit easier, we’ve compiled the essential information you need to consider for a smooth, stress-free move.
In this article, we’ll cover how to:
1. Think about why your business is moving
Before you even contemplate a move, you need to think about why moving offices is necessary for your business.
If you run a start-up that’s moving into an office for the first time, your needs are likely to be different from an existing business that may have moved once (or more) before.
It’s essential for you to think about this so as to justify the upheaval and expense, and ensure the moving process is as focused as possible. Here are some possible reasons for moving office, depending on if you run a new or existing business.
|New business||Existing business|
2. Create a plan and timeline
Planning may take longer than you anticipate but understanding what the move will entail, along with when tasks are expected to be competed, is essential. Without a clear plan and timeline, the move is likely to be stressful at best, and could end up with items in the wrong place or the wrong time at worst. So what should you think about in the planning process?
What needs to move and when? This will include equipment (see below
), as well as staff and products.
How long will moving take? If you run a start-up with minimal equipment and stock, then it may be possible to complete the move in one day. However, if your small business is more established and you have a bigger team, more equipment or many products, then you may need to move in stages.
What are the move-out/move-in dates? If you’re moving from one premises to another, then you’ll need to ensure if the dates match up. If they don’t, you may need to consider storage options (see below).
Will you need storage? Ideal for holding items in transit from one office to another, your storage provider will need to be suitably located to move items to and from, as well as offer a cost-effective rate for the length you require.
What services will need to be connected? To run a business, you’re likely to need an internet connection and phone lines, as well as cleaning, security and maintenance services (unless these are provided, such as in a serviced office or coworking space). Similarly, if you have utility services then inform them accordingly, whether that’s to transfer or to find new business energy providers.
Who will be responsible for the move? You’ll need to appoint certain team members with the moving task. While you’ll need to have a senior manager or someone else with a similar level of authority to sign off on processes and expenditure, you’ll also need a mixture of other knowledge, levels and skillsets. These include: organisational, administrative, and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to stay calm and focused.
Timeline to moving day
12 months – At this stage, you’ll need to think about the bigger picture. These are factors such as why you’re looking to move office and what you’re hoping to achieve with the move. It’s also an ideal time to consider what you’re looking for in an office space and doing the necessary research. Sign up with a commercial real estate agent and start looking at potential premises.
Six months – By now, you’re likely to have found the space you’re going to be moving into. It’s at this point that you should start thinking about creating your office move team. As well as this, you may want to consider enlisting specialist legal support from a property solicitor or similar.
Three months – Once you know who is going to be overseeing the move, then the next task is to get quotes from a removals company. Be sure to look for a company that specialises in office moves to understand your business’ specific requirements. Or if you’re moving into a space for the first time (or are looking to update your office furniture) now’s the time to source office furniture delivery companies.
One month – With just a month to go to the move, now’s the time to notify any relevant service suppliers and providers, as well as customers, of the upcoming move. Be clear about which services you’ll need going forward, as well as if customers can expect any disruption to your services during the move and what alternative arrangements, if any, are in place.
Two weeks – At this stage, distribute a moving day schedule so everyone involved is prepared for moving day. It should include a breakdown of what’s happening and when, as well as how the necessary people can be contacted.
One week – With only a few days to move, now’s the time to tie up any loose ends, as well as answer any last-minute questions you may have for the removal company. Also, consider your team members’ needs – alleviate any concerns or worries and go through as many questions as possible.
One day – Everything should be ready to go the day before the move. If you’re moving out of an office, ensure you have a cleaning company do a deep clean of the space so that it’s in good condition and you meet any end of lease obligations.
Moving day – Today’s the day! On moving day, check all the required people and companies have a copy of the day’s schedule, as well as key contact numbers.
3. Research costs
Planning the budget for your office move is likely to feature high up on your office move checklist. To get you thinking about what the potential cost could be, here’s a guide to some common moving expenses.
Storage – you’ll need to think about storage if the dates on your current and upcoming leases don’t match up. Consider how much space you’ll need – options range from enough for a few boxes through to much larger spaces that can hold many items. Similarly, consider how long you’ll require it for – will a day-by-day or month-to-month arrangement be necessary?
Removal company – this includes the necessary van size to transport your business’ equipment and furniture, as well as how many removal staff will be needed to get your company into its new location.
Rent – a primary concern will be how much the new office space costs, as well as what’s included in the rent. For example, is it a fully serviced building where you can just unpack and set up? Or will you have to take control of services in addition to the rent? Similarly, location can play a huge part – costs vary across the country, as well as in different parts of the same city, so really analyse why you’ve picked a certain spot.
Early break fees – if you’re already in a premises, you’ll need to factor in any potential charges if you decide to end the agreement before the lease is up. This can be complicated so be sure to seek legal advice to make the best decision for your business.
Deposit – you may need to put a deposit down on the premises you’re looking to move into to secure it. While you’ll get it back at the end of the term, it’s still an expenses that you need to ensure your business has the cashflow for, and you’re prepared for how many weeks/months rent it is.
Utility/internet connection – whether you’re setting these up for the first time or transferring them to a new location, there may be some costs associated with this process. Find out from the relevant providers and account for this in your budget.
Post redirection service – to make sure no correspondence is lost in transit, set up a post redirection service in advance. This can usually help to make sure any post goes to the correct address for a few months after the move.
Once you’ve factored these costs in, you should have a good indication of how much you need to budget for the move. In addition, it’s always wise to have a contingency fund for unexpected expenses.
Below is a pricelist template containing the key factors you’ll need to account for in your budget. It’s blank so that you can print it out and fill it in yourself.
|Early break fees||£|
|Post redirection service||£|
4. Use a task checklist
There can be a lot to remember when you’re moving office. Here’s a quick guide to some key points to focus on.
Below you’ll find some handy check boxes that you can use as you go along the process for all the key dates and contact details that you’ll need to remember.
5. Consider equipment requirements
Obtaining or moving equipment is a big part of moving office. If you’re moving into your first commercial premises, then you’ll need to consider which equipment you’ll need. Whereas those changing locations will need to think about transporting your existing equipment into your new space.
- Packing materials – unless you opt for a full service removal company, you’ll probably need some items to pack everything into. At a minimum, this is likely to include: cardboard boxes of varying sizes as well as tape and scissors. If you have any fragile items, bubblewrap will be useful.
- Moving equipment – larger items such as printers, computers, desks and other furniture will require specialists. Who is responsible for moving them may also depend on if your business purchased or leased it – some leasing companies may move the equipment for you.
- Obtaining equipment – if you’re moving into an office for the first time, then you’ll need to source the items you need. You can pick individuals pieces and arrange to have them delivered ahead of the move, or you may opt for an office design company to take care of the entire design and fit-out process (including sourcing furniture).
- IT equipment – computers, printers and other similar IT equipment are likely to be vital to your business operations. Ensure the relevant staff members are able to dis- and re-connect it quickly and easily.
- Telephone systems – you’ll need to transfer (or set-up) a phone line or connection so it’s ready as soon as you move into your new office. If there’ll be a delay in answering or receiving calls, or a change to contact numbers, then let your customers, staff and other relevant people know in advance
- Confidential paperwork – if your business has sensitive physical documents you’ll need to pack and transport these securely. Boxes with specific anti-tamper labels could be used, for example.
6. Communicate with the team
Communication is key to ensuring that your office move goes as easily as possible. That includes making sure everyone knows where they need to be and when.
You’ll want to inform your staff members with as much notice as possible ahead of the move. Your employees will need to think about their new routes to work, and you’ll need to consider how to keep your business operating while the move takes place.
You can involve your team members in the move as much as possible, including those that aren’t on the office move team. Being open to alternative working arrangements during the move could be useful too, such as allowing staff to work different hours or from home.
Similarly, clear communication with the removal company is vital. You should provide the movers with easily understandable instructions prior to the move. Then, be sure to keep in contact with them on the day itself.
7. Prepare for moving day
When moving day comes around, understand that it’s going to be busy and stressful, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you’re finding it difficult, think about when your business is set up and operating from your new office space.
You’ll also have to factor in which day of the week the moving day falls on. If it’s a trading day, will your business continue to run as usual, or will you close for the day? Whichever you choose, be sure to inform staff and customers, as well as key suppliers and other groups, in advance.
You may end up moving on a day your business is closed, as well as on a bank holiday or a night – while planning, weigh up the options (and costs) for alternative move days and figure out which suits your business’ needs best.
Double-check the moving times, as well as contact details for anyone you may need to reach on the day. Do a final checkover of your old office space, if you have one. Make sure your team members and the removal company are up to date with the moving schedule too.
What are the next steps?
From this article, you’ve learned the key seven points to consider when moving offices, including a checklist for moving office premises, to ensure your plans stay on track. So where do you go from here?
The next step is to put your plans into action and get going with your move. While it can seem daunting, moving offices is a significant change for your business, and it’s an exciting time too – good luck!