Moving your office is a large undertaking and complex project that must be managed properly from start to finish to ensure a smooth completion. A seemingly small mistake can prove very costly for SMEs and a poorly managed office move can significantly impact on bottom line sales. Like with any large and complicated project, it is important to break down into sections the various tasks involved in moving offices, working through each step logically and conscientiously planning every minute detail.
If you have been assigned the role of project manager for an upcoming office relocation, take a deep breath and follow our top tips on how to manage and execute a successful office move.
Map It Out
As a rough guide, you will require at least three months to prepare for a small move and for a medium to large office, at least six to eight months. The key is to start preparations as early as possible. Creating a timeline detailing all of the necessary stages of the move will reduce the risk of key details being overlooked. It is important to make a note of essential information in your plan such as the budget, where you are moving to, the moving date etc. Ensure your manager signs this off in writing so that the goals of the project are clear and you always have these details as a reference point.
Ask for a floor plan of your new office so that you can determine the new office layout and seating plan. It is a good idea to have a general plan of your existing office space too so that you can compare the two. This will enable you to identify any areas that are not working in your current office space so that you can resolve the problem in your future office.
Call in the Calvary…Early
A move of this magnitude will require a professional removals company that has experience in handling office moves. “Research and contact three moving companies that are at least accredited and approved by the British Association of Movers,” advises John Watson, Managing Director UK Services at Abels, a moving company specialising in domestic and international removals. “Visit their premises unannounced as this will give you a feeling as to how they will manage your move. Tatty trucks and warehouse will often transpire to tatty work practices,” he adds. Schedule this into your timeframe as early as possible. Taking time to hire a good moving company will ensure you have access to sound professional advice and support throughout your move and minimises the risk of errors.
Rally the Troops
Some people are naturally resistant to change so it can be challenging to get everyone in the team on-side for the big move. It is really important to have the team in a positive mind-set about the move and it is your job as project manager to lead by example and create excitement around the event. Keeping the team informed of the moving plans through team meetings and giving them a chance to ask questions is a good way to abate any anxiety they may be feeling towards the move. Take the time to really emphasise how the move will benefit them directly as individuals. It will help keep morale high and importantly ensure that they are 100% clear with what is expected of them before and during the moving process.
Make a Contact List
Even the most organised project manager can get so caught up in various tasks involved with moving that they can forget to create a contact list. It is a good idea to assign this task to another member of the team, asking them to make sure everyone you do business with as a company, both suppliers and clients, know that you are moving. Suppliers and clients will appreciate the gesture and warning if there are any disruptions to their services on your moving day.