(start early, communication, team assembly, landlord coordination, employee education)
1. Start Early
Start early, build in time for delays, and set a schedule that clearly dictates the critical dates for when decisions need to be made. If you’re 8 weeks out from a planned move and haven’t ordered your desks yet, you’re already behind. Furniture often takes 12 weeks to deliver from when you place an order.
Start project planning for your move at least 3 months out. Evaluate the space and identify what needs to be done to get the space ready for your team. Things like furniture requirements, IT & AV setup, plumbing, security access, pantry services and other employee amenities need to be considered and plan put in place for each one.
2. Team Assembly
Executing a successful takes more than a competent moving company. There’s no doubt that they’re critical piece of the puzzle but you also need to account for IT consultants, electricians, and internet service providers among. Start with asking your building for a preferred vendor list and what network providers are in the building. Also ensure you ask the building for a copy of their rules and regulations. The goal is to have everything coordinated with your building up front so that your move is a smooth as possible.
What vendors do you need?
- Movers: This one is easy…
- IT Consultants: It’s mission critical that your employees are able get to work on day 1 and nothing kills productivity more than network and IT issues. Your IT vendor should partner with your internal IT team to coordinate cabling, IT closet setup, wireless access points, and installing AV systems.
- Security Consultants: Securing your new space is essential. Security consultants help with setting up card-reader magnetic lock doors and install video cameras at all access points.
- Electricians: Have you inspected the power supplied to your new desk? Are there outlets everywhere you need them? This is when you’ll need to call in an electrician.
- Pantry Services: Food is becoming the top amenity most employees are looking for this day. What better way to welcome your employees into their new space then with a catered breakfast and stocked pantry. Vendors like Corporate Essentials can assist with this.
- Cleaners: A post construction / pre-move clean is critical. Your space should be fresh when you move in. Bathrooms, pantry, desks, chairs, office fronts. Additionally, there’s going to be mountain of a mess after you move, while movers should clear out boxes make sure your cleaners are prepared to for post day 1.
Before hiring vendors solicit multiple bids for each and check their references. Bidding is not solely about who’s going to give the cheapest price, but it’s about the array of service available, the quality of the people, and the type of agreement that you sign. Typically, three bids sufficient to gain a market price. And remember, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is…
3. Communicating with your employees
Moving day will be the most disruptive day of the year for your employees. Keeping them updated will smooth the transition into your new space. Clearly communicating what they need to pack, how they access their new office will give your employees peace-of-mind and ensure that you’re not stuck with packing for them!
- One month out: Distribute information regarding the day and timing of the move. Provide them a contact who can assist with any questions. Encourage employees to speak up with of any planned vacation, encouraged to purge items they don’t need to move, and set aside time to pack things that require more time like an inventory closet, storage room, or file cabinets.
- Two weeks prior to the move: Let them know about the box delivery and tagging process. What to pack and what not to pack. Do they need to pack their laptop or take it home with them? Should they tag their chair or will they be receiving a new one? Can they come in on the weekend to unpack? When should they have their boxes packed? What time does the move start? What if they have to work later? All these questions should be answered in your this communication.
- Morning of the move: Reiterate everything you sent out in the two week notice. Add to the communication any frequently asked questions that came up. Timing is key – it’s best if you can have your employees leave the office by 1pm. If by 5pm the movers are waiting for your employees to finish packing, you’ll be charged more money!
- Day 1: Welcome them to the new space! Include a floor plan and details about how to use the space, book a conference room, highlight what spaces should be used for, and give them the a contact information to report day 1 issues or questions.
4. Landlord Coordination
Both landlords, at your current space and old space, can be your best friends or your worst enemy during the chaos of a move. At the very least you’ll need to coordinate building access for your vendors with them and reservations of the freight elevator. If your mover shows up and your landlord in either building, doesn’t have their certificate of insurance on file, they won’t be allowed in. Same thing with the freight elevator, if your landlord hasn’t reserved it for you, the mover won’t be able to get your items on or off the floor. Ensure both landlords are informed of your plans and are okay with them. Many buildings have rules requiring that moves be executed outside of business hours. Ask your landlord for the building rules and regulations and setup a meeting to review your plans with them.
5. Educating your employees
As I said before, a new office should improve your employees productivity. In order to capture that productivity you need to educate your employees on how they should be using the office. A handy way to do this by sending them a guide on day 1. Think back to when you designed the space with your architect, what was the purpose of each room? Which were designed for collaboration, quiet work rooms, storage rooms, telephone booths. Which rooms should be booked versus free-floating. Many times your architect can put this together. Combine that with a guide on how to use the new technology in your office like how to reserve a conference room, setup a video conference, address a facility management issue.
Planning a move is all about the details. With so many parts it’s important to start early, put together the right team, keeping your employees informed.