Moving your office to a new location is a complex endeavor that involves many steps. This checklist will help you stay organized throughout the process, allowing you to keep tabs on everything from your lease contract to your website.
A Checklist for Moving Your Office to a New Location: General Tips
While we have broken down the process of moving your office into several steps and substeps, there are some basic principles to keep in mind from the get-go.
- Plan in advance. In most cases, you’ll need at least six months to plan for the move. But in certain situations, for example, when your office is particularly large or you are moving a long distance, you may need 12 months.
- Have backup plans. Always assume that something will go wrong along the way. Having “A” and “B” (and in some cases, even “C”) plans is essential to ensure business continuity.
- Move on a Friday or long weekend. While devoting a weekend to moving may not seem thrilling, having one or two extra days can do wonders to smooth out the edges of the relocation process.
First Steps (Six Months Before the Move)
- Review your current lease. Make sure you understand your contractual obligations, including fees to pay and the expiration date of your lease.
- Look for new quarters. If you need the assistance of a real estate professional, I’ll be glad to help. Here’s my contact information.
- Announce the move to your employees. Share the new address (if you know it already) and get feedback from your employees.
- Create a planning team. It should include members of all relevant departments.
- The planning team should hold weekly meetings to discuss evolving needs and challenges.
- Draft a preliminary move schedule (and adjust it as needed).
- Set a moving budget.
Second Phase (Two Months Before the Move)
- Set a moving date. At this point, you should have enough information to set a date for the move. Remember: give yourself enough time and always leave room to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
- Notify your landlord. Once you have a moving date, let your landlord know about your decision and discuss the process with them.
- Contact your telephone/data provider to cancel or switch your service.
- Ask your IT department to look into the technical aspects of the move. This includes making plans to move servers and finding new internet providers.
- Ask your marketing department to start working on updating your marketing material. This includes items such as stationery, business cards, website, social media, exterior signage, and online listings (such as Google MyBusiness, Yelp, etc.).
- Make an inventory. Moving can be costly; making an inventory helps you save money by identifying in advance items (such as machinery or pieces of furniture) you don’t intend to take with you to the new office.
- Talk to your insurance agent. This is important for two reasons. First, they need to know if you are moving because a change of location may impact your coverage. Secondly, your insurance agent can help you determine if you need additional insurance to cover your property during the move.
- Research when and how you need to update your address with key agencies and stakeholders. This includes your bank, the United States Postal Service (you can notify the USPS online here, but you have to pay a $1.50 validation fee) the Internal Revenue Service (check the IRS website for more information about address changes), your state’s Secretary of State (here’s the information for California), city and county, credit reporting agencies, and all your providers.
- Find a moving company. Shop around and get a few quotes to find the best deal.
- Book elevators at your current building and get city permits if necessary.
Third Phase (One Month Before the Move)
- Prepare floor plans. The plan should display your new location with names or numbers assigned to each office/area.
- Label items according to your floor plan. This way it will be easier to put them in the right place when you unpack.
- Announce the move on social media. Tell your clients about the move. Provide the new address and offer a brief explanation of the reasons behind the move.
- Hold an employee orientation meeting. Answer questions, get feedback, coordinate efforts, and address any issues.
- Establish packing procedures.
- If necessary, find off-site storage space. You may need it for old files and any other item you don’t intend to take to the new location right away.
- Arrange cleaning services for your current office after the facilities are emptied.
- Find a cleaning company for your new office.
Fourth Phase (One Week Before the Move)
- Begin the packing process. Label boxes according to your floor plan. Quick tip: Taking pictures of valuable items may be helpful in case you need to make an insurance claim.
- Change locks at the new location.
- Make sure Wi-Fi and data services are operational at the new location.
- Create a list of emergency contacts. Everyone should have this list handy during the move.
- Ask everyone to take home any personal items.
- Prep your current office. Protect vulnerable surfaces
- Clean and prep the new office.
- Mark the areas of the new office with numbers that correspond to the floor plan you created in the third phase of this list.
- Unpack. If you followed the previous steps, your items and boxes should be labeled with numbers that correspond to the different areas of your new location, making it easier to put everything where it belongs.
- Test everything. In coordination with your IT department, test all the connections and data services.
- Make it official. Ask your marketing department to apply the changes they began working on during the second phase of the plan. Post an announcement on your social media channels.
- Hand employees keys or access codes to the new office.
- Inspect the new office visually to identify damage caused during the move. If any damage was done, arrange for it to be repaired as soon as possible.
- Celebrate a work well done with refreshments, or throw a party and invite your clients.
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