By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
Packing up and moving an office doesn’t happen in one day. If you’re lucky, the physical move might—but it’s usually preceded and followed by staggered breakdown and setup. All told, an office move might actually take weeks to complete. Following a business relocation plan ensures that everyone remains on-track and coordinated before, during, and after the physical move, no matter how long it takes.
Charting a successful relocation is more complex than you might think. For first-time office move coordinators, it’s the epitome of “harder than it looks.” Even the smallest businesses face countless variables and the sheer scale of an office move leaves plenty of room for setbacks and mistakes. Thoroughly planning all phases of the relocation may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it’s well worth the time saved by a smooth, error-free move.
Check out the SpaceIQ Guide for Relocating Employees for a comprehensive look at office moves. As you’re creating your own relocation plan, keep these five vital elements top-of-mind:
1. Cost breakdowns and timelines
Regardless of the reasons behind an office move, make sure the move itself makes financial sense. The relocation plan needs a budget with line items and costs delineated, and those costs attributed to the right cost center. Without a budget, your move can quickly rack up costs, stunting cash flow, and making it difficult to get operations up and running in the new facilities. Create a budget and stick to it, with contingencies in place for overages.
Equally as important before a move is a comprehensive timeline. A move timeline provides a great framework for a broader relocation planning checklist. It’s also important when tackling the move incrementally under a coordinated strategy. For example, your timeline might outline IT setup on Thursday before the broader employee move on Friday. That way, everything’s arranged as people begin moving their workstations.
Cost and time represent the two variables most likely to get out of control during a move. Focusing on both helps to set safeguards against expensive setbacks.
2. Personnel relocation strategies
People are the biggest variable in an office relocation. Everyone needs a point-to-point solution during an office move, or they might not know what to do when the time comes to pack up and go. Beyond a desk-to-desk relocation, every employee needs an exact understanding of their part in the migration.
Some employees might move from one desk to another. Others might go from a stationary desk to an open free assign, concept workplace. Some might transition to flexible work modes, working remotely part-time. Whatever the case, make sure each employee has clear direction and that you’ve answered all questions before the move.
3. IT infrastructure planning
Workplace relocation is a physical action, but it’s built around digital demands. The IT demands of your workforce deserve their own attention in a relocation plan, and they’re generally ahead of employee migration. You need the new workplace connected, configured, and accessible by the time people need to start using it.
In many ways, planning the IT infrastructure is its own separate plan—something greater that’s included as part of an office relocation. Consider tasks like network cabling, workstation setup, A/V cabling, Wi-Fi setup, rack rooms and server setup, and VoIP phone setup. Prioritizing data and telecom migration and setup ahead of employees and assets paves the way for an effortless move and avoids the chaos of everyone requesting IT support at the same time.
4. Task delegation and team leaders
Whether you’ve got 10 employees or 100, doling out responsibility is a priority. Task delegation on the management level organizes and creates accountability before, during, and after the relocation, while creating accountability. For employees, task delegation solidifies their involvement in the move and creates expectations for how it’ll go. If something gets left behind or confusion occurs, it’s easy to figure out what went wrong and how it happened.
Identifying team leaders is also important. These individuals have the authority to make decisions and adapt the plan as needed. It’s rare that a move goes exactly as planned. Team leaders make the right adjustments to avoid messy setbacks and advocate cohesion during the move. It’s also easier for facility managers to communicate with team leaders, who then pass relevant information to the broader staff. This hierarchical approach creates vital clarity during the relocation.
5. Digital move management software
Orchestrating an office relocation is a complex, involved task that’s made immeasurably easier by sophisticated move management software. Facility managers may not oversee everything directly, but they’re ultimately responsible for passing the orders that facilitate the move. Move management software gives them an essential top-down view of all moving parts. It’s akin to looking at the box while doing the puzzle. It may take some time to get all the pieces together, but you’re able to see exactly what you’re working towards.
Coordinating an office move may start to seem overwhelming, but it’s less intimidating if you break it down incrementally. Take a procedural approach to identifying the above five elements of your relocation plan. Remember that each piece of the puzzle informs the next step on the way to a seamless move. And, of course, you can always check your plan against SpaceIQ’s Guide for Relocating Employees to ensure you’ve covered your bases. Happy moving!
Keep reading: Move Management Tips for a Smooth Relocation