How to project manage an office move

By Fordhay

|News|Jan 2020


Relocating to a new office space and having to project manage an office move is a huge task. If you’re moving because of rapid business growth, endless phone calls and contracts can soon dampen the excitement of a new workspace. It requires precision planning to make sure no element is overlooked or underestimated. Depending on the size of your business, the time it takes to execute your office moving plan can range from a week to a month – sometimes even longer. If you know how long the move is going to take, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the bigger picture.

The finished product seems so far from where you are today, but don’t worry. The key to project managing your office move is methodical thinking. Take it one step at a time and try to enjoy the process as much as possible. Here is a guide to project manage your office move as efficiently as possible:

Step one: Outline your project plan

To get everything aligned, it’s important to begin with the bigger picture. Create a document including all of the elements that need completing over the process. Make sure you make the document in your preferred format, whether it’s a spreadsheet or an app, to ensure it’s actually of use to you. This checklist may be a good place to start. Depending on the size of your company, begin preparations three to six months in advance of moving. Your plan should include what needs transporting to the new space, what needs removing from your current space and who is responsible for each action.

You should have a clear understanding of your moving budget to know how much you can spend on transport and resources. Knowing your specific moving in date and when you have access to the new location will help you develop a timeline well in advance. Have your new address at the ready for any phone calls and bookings you’re making to ensure everyone knows where they need to be. Get your office floor plan from your contractor to determine where all of your employees, furniture and resources are going to go before you arrive. This will save a lot of time and your moving team will thank you for being prepared.

Take a look at your business schedule and strategy to note if there are any deadlines or client meetings a couple of weeks leading up to the move. An impending move and deadlines will generate unease among your team. This can lead to quality of work slipping and team members becoming stressed if they’re not supported. Don’t forget about your clients either. Contact your relevant clients to ensure they know what’s going on and that you need any pressing work in advance.

Step two: Assemble your moving team

Working with the right people will make the project much easier. You should assign a project manager who will lead the overall operation and keep an eye on its progress. Don’t attempt to do it alone – this is too much pressure for one individual and things will be missed. Assign trusted employees who are willing to help to alleviate the tasks on your moving plan. Involve your technology team so they know exactly where equipment will be going and how long they need to set it up. You’re likely to need outside assistance from moving companies that can support your needs and time restrictions.

Contact trusted companies months in advance to ensure you secure good quality movers who will do the job properly. You don’t want messy movers that will damage your brand new office before you’ve moved in. Take precautions and lay your floors and walls with protective covers just in case. If you’re going into a fully refurbished office, you may only need a small van than can transport your technology and boxes. For a space that you’re furnishing yourself, you may need a convoy of vans to transport the furniture – which will need to be booked far in advance.

Step three: Manage resistance to change

Moving offices can be a sensitive subject. For some of your employees, moving could mean a longer commute and impacted home or social life. Meet with your employees to check if they have any concerns about the move and how you can solve them. Make sure you regularly communicate with these individuals to ensure they know why you’re initiating the move and how it will benefit the business. The clear plan you create at the beginning of the process can be distributed to relevant staff members to ease their minds and tension felt about the project. Knowing what’s happening and when enables them to prepare for the practical changes they’ll need to make to their work routine.

Step four: Get your packing materials

Moving offices is a great time to cleanse the belongings at your current workplace. Sort through your store cupboards and shelves to determine if there’s any paperwork and old literature that you can get rid of. Your new space is a fresh start so don’t overcrowd it with unnecessary resources. Gather plenty of boxes, tape and labels so you can organise the items that you’re transporting. Label the boxes with the area they’re moving to and who is responsible for unpacking it. When you’re in your new space, you can place the boxes in the right area and begin unpacking without misplacing or losing your resources.

Step five: Inform stakeholders of your move

A common mistake made when moving to a new office is forgetting to change your address on important documents. Contact your property manager, energy providers and other suppliers that will need to send sensitive information to your new property. Important documents and personal information may end up in the wrong hands if you forget to change your business address in time. Any deliveries that you have coming to your old office will need to be redirected to your new address. If you’re staying in the same building but changing rooms, let your receptionist and clients know about your new location. You don’t want them showing up to your office when you’re no longer there.

Moving office isn’t an easy process. With a detailed plan and the right team in place, you can project manage your office move efficiently and successfully. Minimal disruption to productivity is key. Organisation and planning ensures your employees and clients don’t feel the impact of the move. Your new office is incredibly exciting and rewarding for your business – a fresh start will motivate and inspire your team to generate greater retention.

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