They say that after death and divorce, moving house is one of the most stressful experiences in life – and we reckon moving office premises should definitely be included on that list!
With so much to think about, it’s a difficult time for everyone involved, especially as you need to keep your business running at the same time. Take (some of) the stress and hassle out of business moves with our top 10 tips.
1. Get organised!
As with many things in business, effective planning will make things much easier. Having a carefully plotted timeline, punctuated with the key milestones of the move will help to ensure that things run smoothly come the big day.
Of course, you’ll also need to ensure that everyone gets a copy of the plan, and understands what’s happening, and what they have to do. If it's a large office you are moving to/from, it is a good idea to designate one or two people to be project managers in order to keep on top of progress as the move goes on.
2. The big clear out
There’s no point in moving more than you have to, so before you start packing, it’s a good idea to have a thorough clear out – removing any items you don’t want to take with you. Moving is a great time to get rid of all those old papers, out of date electronics and unwanted files in the archive.
It's also a good opportunity to upgrade some of these things with modern (often smaller) versions to really make the most of the changes.
3. Spread the load and get help
Depending on the size of your business and your staffing levels, it may be a good idea to get professional help with the move from a BAR accredited moving business. Hiring help early (at least 1-3 months before the moving date) will help to ensure that things run smoothly. As mentioned earlier, planning is key, and by getting professionals involved early you can use their experience to help with this stage especially.
Getting employees to clear their office desks, and leaving the rest of the move to the professionals can save you a lot of hassle.
4. Sort your utilities
This sounds obvious, but in the chaos of a move, it’s easy to overlook! Before moving, you’ll need to take a look at all your utilities to cancel/rearrange/transfer them to your new premises.
Starting this process early is the best way to go, as many contracts will have cancellation periods. Moving is a great opportunity to take a good look at your contracts, to see where you can make savings, and to make sure your existing arrangements and providers will still provide the best solution in your new premises.
5. Update your location
Before you move, make sure you’ve updated the contact details on all your relevant marketing materials, websites, social media profiles, third party business profiles, company literature and business cards.
Timing wise, you’re going to need to allow some lead time (a few weeks) for anything printed, whilst online materials can be updated pretty quickly (a day or so).
6. Shout about it - Let everyone know!
As part of any move, you’re going to need to let everyone know about your change of premises.
- Business Partners
Writing to/calling/emailing everyone direct is the best way of doing this. Depending on the type and size of your business, you may also want to take to opportunity to send a news release to your local press about the move - maybe include some promotional material or put a positive spin on the move with phrases like 'upgrading' and 'expansion'.
7. Be careful when mobilising the troops…
Come moving day, there’s a temptation to try and draft all your employees in over the weekend to help with the practical side of the move.
Whilst this can be ok if managed correctly (remember the planning!), it’s still important to do things in the right way. No-one is likely to be very happy about having to come in on their weekend off to move furniture, so make sure you reward those who do. An extra day of paid leave is a good start, as is paying for lunch and coffees during the day to keep up morale!
Alternatively you may find it more cost effective to draft in the professionals, and pay a few key members of staff to come in and supervise proceedings. Price up the costs and timeframes ahead of time to make sure you choose the best option for your business.
8.Timing is everything
There is never a good time for business disruption, but choosing the a quieter period or off-peak time for the move will help to minimise the impact on your bottom line.
Do you have peaks at Christmas or are you a summer business? Make sure you have a look at past sales/calls to find the best time historically where you can afford to be out of service.
9. Planning the new office
Chances are if you’re moving, then you’re either expanding or downsizing. Either way, it’s a good idea to carefully plan out your new office layout before you arrive in the building. Experiment with the positioning of all your office desks and departments on paper, so you know exactly where everything is going to go on arrival. A good technique is to use masking tape to draw out the places of the furniture to see how much room you to have to maneuver.
Take this opportunity to look at your office furniture needs, and invest in any new office desks, chairs and furniture before you arrive. You may also be able to recoup some of the costs of unwanted furniture by selling online.
10. Grit your teeth and say patient!
Ultimately, the move is always going to be stressful – so managing yourself, staying patient and keeping calm is really important, and will help you (and your staff members) to get through this challenging time!
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