Most of us have had some experience with moving house, but moving a business or office is a whole other story. The fact that you not only have to move furniture and equipment, but also take care of documents, sensitive files, employees and vendors, makes the ordeal slightly more complicated. If not carefully planned, the relocation and time-out could cost more than you can afford.
Save the Date
Plan your move well in advance (some even suggest up to 6 months). Book movers or self storage several months ahead in order to get a better deal. This will help minimize your downtime, which is most important. It will also give you a chance to pack everything up carefully and overall reduce anxiety. Many businesses choose to move during a long weekend or holiday break. If this isn’t doable, at least choose a regular weekend. Pack up on Friday, move on Saturday and Sunday, unpack on Monday. Think about whether you would like to give your employees some time off or if you prefer they be involved in the new set-up.
Move Your Supplies
Bring in blankets from home and use tape to wrap your monitors up securely. This will protect the screen during the move. Professional moving boxes are quite costly. You can use the boxes you have from office supplies as moving boxes. Since you will be planning this move well in advance, you will have plenty of time to save some sturdy boxes. Also, you can use desk drawers or cabinets instead. Move your whole desk or filing cabinet with all of the things inside (this is usually how moving companies do it), just make sure to tape the drawers and doors shut tightly in order to prevent spilling.
Although most important documents should already be electronically saved on your computer, there are always loose papers hanging around. This is the perfect time to go through old filing cabinets and clean house. You will have less stuff to carry and therefore save on transportation costs. Keep in mind that it is easy to damage a computer during a move. Be sure to back up your files on an external hard drive.
Call Professional Movers
Don’t use your employees for the actual relocation. Hire a moving service to do the heavy lifting. It is dangerous and they can get hurt, costing you in the long run. This is the one phase of the move where you don’t want to be caught cutting corners. Although, I do suggest to get your employees to pack and unpack their own desks and work areas. This will cut back on the costs of relocation while avoiding injuries.
Make Floor Plans
Make floor plans and clearly label where things will be put. Measure your furniture or other bulky items to ensure that you have space for them in the new office. One of the easiest ways to let others know where things are meant to go is by using simple color coded sticky-notes. Decide where things will go ahead of time. Get rid of anything old or not needed to lower the cost of transportation. Perhaps you won’t be taking everything with you. If your new offices aren’t ready in time, or you have a surplus of items, your will need to rent a self storage unit to temporarily house your furniture and inventory.
Notify Everyone About The Change of Address
Make a list of all parties you correspond with. Send out memos, letters, emails and call ahead of time to make sure that anyone who needs to know is well aware of your new details. Also, put in place a mail forwarding system, just in case. You don’t want payments going to the wrong address. If your bills are lost in the mail, you could wind up with unforeseen expenses such as paying late fees or penalties.
The ideal situation would be to have your new office space ready prior to leaving your old one. Make sure to be hands-on with your office move. No one knows your business and its needs like you do. Whether you are using professional movers, or doing it yourself from start to finish, micromanage the move in order to ensure everything is on point.