How to plan an office relocation?
For any business, moving your office to a new location is a daunting challenge. An office move is complex at multiple levels. The move may be necessitated by growth, expansion, better location, etc. Whatever your reason for the relocation, the challenges are the same. It requires careful planning, preparations, and flawless execution. As with any large project, there are many moving parts that need careful coordination and communication if the office move is to be successful.
The cost of moving the supplies such as boxes, desktops, etc. hiring professionals for moving and setting the new office up may seem like an unnecessary expense. However, the only cost you should be concerned with is the cost of downtime for your company during the move. You have to think about how your business is going to operate during the move, while the office gets set up, and immediately after the move.
Therefore, the success of your relocation project primarily depends on Time. You need to get all elements from location A to location B and have the operations reach a pre-move working level within a predefined timeframe. We will not get into the details of location booking, office floor plans, packing, or hiring movers. We will focus on the actual move, especially on the IT considerations for the new office.
Here is a checklist of the key elements you need to review for a successful office move (the checklist as a spreadsheet is available at the end of the blog):
Checklist of Things To Do Before The Office Move
Develop a Relocation Plan
Give yourself 3-4 months for planning the move. A shorter timeline is also possible but that comes with added stress. On the other hand, longer timelines give you too much time to think and you might over complicate things. You need to create a detailed office move timeline for the move. If you are planning to use professional movers, contact them as soon as possible.
The first thing you should do is to take inventory and know exactly how much stock you have. Identify the items that are necessary and those that you no longer use. Consider donating unused electronics and old furniture. However, be sure to follow the proper IT security process and wipe the data clean before donating. The less clutter you carry, the more efficient will be the relocation process.
Make an office floor plan
You should decide where each department will be located and consider the most practical and efficient way to do this. This is not just about the seating plan. You need to consider the most efficient locations for the server room, conference room, printers, copiers, and network & WiFi equipment.
Select the ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Find out the ISPs available in your new location and negotiate the best package for your company. It is advisable to get a secondary backup ISP for when your primary ISP goes down. If managing two separate ISPs seems intimidating, get help from an MSP (managed services provider).
Check the Wiring and outlets
Ensure that the electrical wiring are in place and there are enough outlets. Check that the wattage is as required by your equipment. Also, plan how you will layout your IT and network infrastructure including:
Cables & ports
Printers & scanners
What to do on the day of the office move
On the day of the move, things may seem stressful as there will be many moving parts. It is important to trust your relocation plan and office move timeline. Just follow through with them and you should be fine.
Identify key people who need to be present
Too many people present during the transition will cause chaos and delay the relocation process. So it is best to have a few people who will coordinate with the contractors and provide oversight. If the move is not planned on a holiday, let people work from home.
Prioritize IT setup
The IT department is the most critical for any business operation. Whenever we get into a new space, the first thing we check for is the WiFi. We are digital creatures and cannot function with technology. Therefore, arrange for the IT setup to be completed first. This will ensure that your company will be up and running quickly after the move. Here is a list you should prioritize:
routers and APs
printers & scanners
Set up other key departments
Prioritize the key individuals and/or departments that are critical to your business operations and get them up and running first. Depending on your business, this could be your customer service, sales, or manufacturing units. Focus on the critical units and then move to the supporting functions. The idea is to get your business operations to a working level as fast as possible and to minimize downtime.
Things To Do After The Move
Once the IT and critical business operations are up and running, it is time to take stock of the progress. The best way to go about it is by using checklists. What you need to check:
All the equipment are plugged in and set up
IT infrastructure is working - server, network, WiFi, and desktops
Printers, scanners, and copiers are online and working
Conference rooms are set up and working
After the move is complete, coordinate the cleanup of the old as well as the new location. You may also need to dispose off your e-waste. As always, remember to follow the security requirements and wipe the device clean before disposing them.
Move into a new office...a better office
With a detailed relocation plan in place and some professional help, your office move will appear a lot less daunting. Precise coordination and frequent communication can help you complete the office move on time and more importantly, resume the business operations with minimal downtime. But, this doesn’t have to be the end of it. Over the years, your company may have accumulated “technical debt”. Quick decisions regarding the purchase of equipment or services, adoption of new technology, etc. may now be causing inefficiencies and costing your company more than you had imagined.
Office relocation is the perfect time to address your technical debt. It offers you an opportunity to make improvements, especially in your IT strategy and infrastructure. You can combine the following with your office move:
Don’t forget to let all your vendors and clients know your new address. Also, make it a point to update your address in all digital listings.
As promised you can access the spreadsheet here: Office Relocation Checklist
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