Is it time to move already? It seems only yesterday that a group of co-founders sat in this room and officially began the journey to financial freedom. With all the sweat and tears shed to build the business, it is finally time to move. Moving to a new place to accommodate business expansion is what every business startup dreams of. It does, however, come with its fair share of challenges. Here are the top 5 challenges to office moving you need to keep in mind:
1. Productivity Losses
According to statistics from AMSA, 37% of businesses move for business reasons with 18% of the time, movers relocate computers, copiers, and other office equipment. Office relocation is possibly the most challenging move you’ll make. You will need ample pre-planning and thorough management to tackle these challenges effectively.
Regardless of size, you’ll need at least two days to pack, move, and unpack everything in your office. It is impossible to not have productivity losses before, during, and immediately after the move. Plan and accommodate productivity losses in your schedule. You don’t want to sabotage a good client during the move.
Most companies like to use weekends or long holiday weekends for the move. Keep in mind that this might be a little more costly because movers charge overtime rates or don’t usually operate during holidays or because the demand is high, and the movers are already booked.
Another thing you can do is allow your employees to work remotely while the office is being shifted. This may come with its fair share of challenges. You don’t want to compromise network security or encourage data breach during this period. You must figure out how employees can work from home while maintaining company privacy. Have your IT expert chalk out a plan for this.
2. Space Planning
Another important thing you need to do before making a move, is space planning. And while you’re at it, you should know where all the electrical and telephone connections are, where you can hang a television, where you’ll create a conference room and how will office files be stored.
You need to sketch out a detailed floor plan of what the new office will look like once the move is complete. From selecting furniture to placing the water dispenser and the microwave oven, plan every little detail and make sure there’s enough infrastructure at the new office to accommodate operations as needed.
Also, if you plan to make a major change to company operations – for instance, your employees are used to working in cubicles and you’re planning for shared workstations – you need to inform this earlier. It’s always better to hear employee recommendations beforehand rather than hear their grievances later.
3. Setting Realistic Budgets
Just like you can’t execute a move overnight, it is impossible to do so on a slim budget. And if you’re planning for a long distance move, you need to be even better at planning and budgeting.
A good place to start is by receiving quotes from popular vendors in your area. Make sure you research their reputation well – you don’t want to end up replacing 40% of your office equipment because of manhandling. Get quotes from as many vendors as possible and compare their scope of work and value before deciding.
And while you’re setting a budget for the move, don’t forget to factor in the cost of lost productivity. Any number of days that your office will not be functional will cost you money. A financially sound way to compute the cost of your move is to consider every possible expense or lost sales and/or service during the transition period.
Another major challenge you’ll face during the move is the lack of coordination. Keeping everyone on the same page is a difficult job. And if you can afford it, hiring a project manager for the move is highly recommended.
Keep all your employees in the loop when you’re planning the move. They need to know when to pack their office desks and how they’ll be expected to arrive at the new location. They should be informed about any major changes that’ll happen. In a best-case scenario, if it is possible, let them tour the new place beforehand to get a feel for it. Be open to suggestions pouring in from the employees. Your employees are the people who’ll spend the longest hours at work and have to put up with everything.
Communicate the dates of the move and involve your employees as much as possible. Remember, coordination is the key to a smooth, stress-free move.
5. Furnishing the Office – Should it Stay or Should it Go?
You can furnish your new office with everything new to mark the change. Or you can take every bit of your old office into the new one. Know the first option costs you a lot of money and the second one creates an unnecessary nuisance. Understand where to draw the line to balance both propositions.
You don’t want to lose the essence of your office space. At the same time, it won’t hurt to replace those old furniture pieces and/or office equipment you’ve been intending to do for a while. Instead of putting these things on the mover’s bill, liquidate or donate them. Purchase fresh equipment to replace the old one. It not only updates your work environment but also takes some burden off the movers.
This doesn’t mean you need to chuck out that executive desk which is in perfect condition. As long as there aren’t any space limitations and/or other reasons you might have to sell off usable office equipment, you can keep them.
Know that moving an office will be a stressful chore. There will be emergencies and unknown situations that will creep up. But it will eventually all set in. Have a great moving experience!
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