Let’s be real. It’s exciting to move into a new office! At least at first. Then reality sets in, all the project managment logistics required come to mind, and then you actually have to organize said new office space and think about how to make office interior design! 

Office relocation can quickly become a daunting task, if you don’t have a plan in place. Keep reading for our best tips on how to project manage an office move just like you would any other type of project, resulting in a business relocation experience that’s not only stress-free, but efficient for your office plan. 

Establish a Timeline 

Once you decide to move your office to a new location, the first and most important thing is to establish a timeline or time frame for the office relocation project. Depending on the timeline, you can plan all the next steps in the relocation process accordingly. 

Announce the Big Move 

Once your company decides to move to a new location, the next step is to let your staff workers know. Draft a well-thought out, detailed email to announce the big decision. 

Make sure the announcement is comprehensive and clear, providing employees with as much information as possible. That way, as you write the details of the moving process down, it also becomes clearer in your own head. 

As a general rule, your moving announcement should include the address and name of the new office building, key features of the new space, the reason behind the move, as well as the moving date and time. To make the process as easy and efficient as possible, involve your employees in the moving process  and let them know how they can help facilitate it.

Make Lists, Check ‘Em Twice

Lists are one of the best ways of staying organized during any project of any sort, ensuring everything stays on track and nothing gets forgotten. Once the moving project starts, make an office moving checklist and to-do list. Actually, make several lists. It’s a good idea to have a master list, but then you can create a smaller list grouped by tasks. 

Your office moving checklist should contain all the steps you need to take right on up to your actual moving day and even beyond. 

Some ideas for your to-do list are:

  • Drafting and sending out the team announcement
  • Determining the time and date of the move
  • All purchases necessary to complete the move
  • Any selling or downsizing required
  • Follow up talks with employees 
  • Researching potential moving crews and cleanup services
  • Making notes of employee headcounts
  • Designing a floor plan
  • Purchasing new office furniture and storage options
  • Sorting out the office supplies and utilities

These are just a handful of items that should be on your master to-do list. After every team meeting, update the list to add or remove additional tasks. 

Also, be sure to make a list of the things you’re taking to the new office, as well as a list of things you’re leaving behind. This will make it easy to determine what you need to buy––or even sell––in accordance with your budget. 

Talk to Your Employees

Once the big move has been announced, have a chat with your employees. Depending on how crunched the timeline, wait a while after the announcement before discussing the move with your employees. Allow the new information to sink in before asking for their feedback. 

When you do meet and chat, discuss various aspects of the move. For instance:

  • Equipment requirements and whether any broken equipment needs replacing.
  • Whether there will be changes in the current floor plan based on the parameters of the new space. 
  • Whether office furniture such as desks and chairs need replacing or upgrading.
  • Opinions or ideas about the design and decor of the new workspace.
  • Whether there are health issues that may get in the way of helping on moving day, such as inability to climb stairs, difficulty lifting heavy objects, etc. 

There are various ways of having this chat; it can be in-person, like a company or department-wide meeting, via managers, or even in one-on-one meetings, if you have a limited number of staff. You could even do it via a survey or an email. Based on the feedback, you can then make any necessary changes in your plans and lists. 

Finalize Your Moving Budget 

Everything comes down to money. You can have the best laid plans for your moving project, but it won’t reach fruition if you don’t have the budget for it. 

Therefore, it’s best to design and finalize a moving budget from the get-go. Depending on your company structure, you should also establish a chain of command for all move-related expenses as well as some guidelines. 

For instance:

  • Who, if any, will be approving all contracts and purchases? 
  • Do you need invoices? 
  • Who will keep receipts safe and all in one place?
  • Will purchases and payments be made through a company card? 

These are only a few of the questions that need to be considered before the actual moving project starts. Having a fixed budget means you may have to trade off on some things. 

It could impact your choices on what style of reception area sofas you buy, or other items you may need to purchase for the new office space, which moving crew to hire, and everything else. 

Create a Moving Committee and Have Regular Meetings

Once you’ve had a chat with your employees about the big move, you can then ask for volunteers for the moving committee. This will give your employees a chance to be involved in the move and ensure that their interests are being considered too. 

Your moving committee should handle all relevant decisions and work, and meet up regularly to stay on top of things. Take frequent feedback from the moving committee and keep updating your list as needed. 

Research Ahead of Time

Do some research about the potential custom office furniture you may want and the kind of layout you want, with the goal of optimizing the workflow in your workspace.

Proper research is also an excellent idea in order to discover the best tools to make the move easier, such as the right packing boxes, the right movers, and the best cleanup service to help out both before and after the move. 

Keep All To-Do Lists in One Place

The process of moving can quickly become messy and confusing if you don’t keep track of all necessary items and tasks to be done. Keep a thorough record of all your notes, documents, and lists related to your moving project. 

It’s obviously more convenient to have all of these notes and lists online, using a tool like Google Drive, or something similar. That way, you can have it with you wherever you go, and other members of the team can edit and keep up with the information as long as the documents are shared files. 

Centralized information, at least between members of the moving committee, can help the move go infinitely smoother. In terms of a timeline, depending on the size of your setup, this should be started around 3 to 6 months before the actual moving date. As soon as your first moving-related memo is sent, start keeping track of it!

Organize All Important Documents 

A lot of things get lost during moving, whether you’re shifting a house or an office. It often happens either during the move, when some things get lost in transit, or gets thrown out by mistake. Documents can even get lost after the move, when you store them in a new place and promptly forget about them. Either way, the end result is the same.

So, you definitely want to keep all of your documents safe. The best way to do that is before moving, make sure all of your documents are sorted properly in folders and boxes, with relevant labels. That way, you can keep track of them during and even after the move, in case they don’t get unpacked right away. 

Alternatively, you can sort the documents you’re keeping ahead of time into easy to move storage furniture like file pedestals, and then it’s only a matter of placing them where you want them, ready to go! 

Develop a Move-Related Workflow Strategy

Develop a workflow strategy for the moving days to make sure it doesn’t affect, or at least has a minimal effect on business. One potential idea could be to divide the workflow in a way that most of it is done beforehand, freeing up everyone’s schedule for moving day. The sooner you start planning the move, the more organized and well-prepared you can be at the end. 

Pack & Label 

As moving day approaches, you should start packing. Packing order should be from least used to most used. To make this overwhelming task easier, divide it into three steps. In the first step, pack the things you have but rarely––if ever––use. 

In the next step, pack items that are sometimes used, but you can manage without them in a pinch. Finally, pack the most crucial and important items you use every day. These should be packed last and opened first. 

While packing, make sure to get the right moving boxes for whatever you’re packing and label them carefully. Proper labeling will save you a ton of hassle when you start unpacking everything.

Utilities for the New Office

Last but not least, disconnect the utilities for the current office, and connect them to the new office. In fact, it’s a good idea to connect the new office utilities ahead of time, so that when you’re moving stuff, you have power. 

When deciding how to project manage an office move, remember that a little forethought and planning ahead can save you many headaches once you’re in the thick of things. Happy moving!

Sources:
  1. https://snacknation.com/blog/office-move/
  2. https://www.helpmovingoffice.com/article/how-to-project-manage-an-office-move