1. Don’t panic! - Office moves are only stressful if they’re not planned for and executed systematically. Start with the outcome goals and create a project plan. Allow plenty of time including contingency. Use checklists to keep track of areas to be handled. For large relocations, setup move committees and delegate responsibilities.
2. Use crates & skates - Plastic removalist crates are larger than cardboard cartons, safely stackable, suitable for hanging files and have a long life span so are kinder to the environment. No scissors or tape are required and when used with skates, are easily moved which means no staff lifting or OH+S issues. Best yet, they make the move easier for removalists which reduces your move time, costs and risk.
3. Be mindful of change management - Moves can be stressful for staff – so don’t treat them like mushrooms. Make information available through the project. Hold a move meeting 1-2 weeks prior. Provide written instructions at the meeting, to be used on the day of the move. Allocate communal tasks. Ensure everyone knows what is required leading up to the move, on the day and after the relocation.
4. Clear out your clutter - Most companies don’t move often which means excess materials can build up over time. A pre-move clear out 1 to 4 weeks prior can take the stress out of the pack and move day. Walk through your premises and identify any areas that can be actioned prior to the relocation, including offsite storage. Ensure your cleanouts are environmentally sensitive, and maybe even make it fun; hold a bbq and offer prizes for the oldest or strangest items uncovered.
5. Book facilities and resources - Ensure you have all access and services booked including lifts, parking, loading bays, foyer or common areas. Confirm with providers a couple of days prior to the move. Keys to lifts and auto doors are useful. Arrange services or access in advance with building facility managers for plant rooms, security, airconditioning etc.
6. IT. - Microplan and execute the IT move with military precision. IT services are crucial for company operations, so aim for minimal downtime, plan for contingency and ensure the systems are running so that staff can commence work immediately in the new premises. Make sure all providers are lined up and services are commissioned in the new premises (internet, cabling, PABX phone systems, phone lines, power etc). Zero downtime may not be achievable, but a quick, safe move is always possible.
7. Removalists. Don’t skimp! - Most bad moves are caused by unprofessional removalists who are inexperienced in commercial projects, use the wrong equipment or poorly allocate the labour. Using reputable commercial removalists will minimise your risk and downtime. Show your removalist through the old and new premises, and clearly advise on all requirements and access information. Having a couple of removalists booked for the first day in the new premises may be useful for any minor furniture shuffling or the crate collection.
8. The three C’s - On the day of the move, the project leader should be cool, calm and in control – headless chooks needs not apply. Good planning should ensure all tasks have been prepared for. Have extra copies of the printed relocation guide available. Ensure allocated tasks are handled as planned. Everything being moved should be clearly labeled. To guide the removalists at the new premises have plans available plus A4 destination signs matching the labels on the crates and furniture.
9. Lost box home - Some labels might fall off in transit. Extra pieces of furniture sometimes sneak their way into your new office. Have a clearly marked temporary holding area for anything that doesn’t have an immediate home. It can easily be sorted after the move.
10. Don’t stop! - Once the relocation is complete, keep the momentum going. The unpack should be planned and executed straight after the move. Scheduling the unpack on the weekend ensures staff can arrive at the new premises and return to work immediately. Remember to plan for the handover of the old premises as well as all the post move tasks. Be available and ready for the first day in the new premises to handle all the minor queries that may arise.