Moving to a new office? Plan everything in advance to keep your company functioning without interruptions. The best case scenario is when the employees leave the old office in the evening, and next morning in the new office they continue to work as if nothing has happened.
Dreams? No, reality! All you need is to thoroughly plan the office relocation and do everything on time: prepare the furniture and equipment, deploy the telephony, and set up the Internet.
In this article we will explain in detail how to move your business to a new office.
Step 1: Choose the New Office Space
Before discussing the moving plan, analyze the current office place and list:
- the things you like and dislike;
- the zones your office lacks;
- what you would like to change in the interior.
- Before looking for an office space, make up a detailed space layout to have a better understanding of the future office and avoid delays. You can calculate the office area you need using a calculator, but we recommend contacting experienced intermediaries who have databases of commercial properties (it is free of charge).
- To minimize the cost of moving to a new office, carefully study the floor-plans of the spaces you choose from. Too many interior or bearing walls and columns might lead to extra renovation costs.
- To assess the chosen office space, check:
— If it includes services: security, cleaning, Internet etc.
— If moving to another office will make it harder for employees to commute. Warn your employees about it and explain the advantages of that change: more spacious offices, a better office space layout, a kitchen with affordable home-made food, or possible bonuses.
— If there are enough parking spots.
— If there are cafes and restaurants nearby (for those who do not appreciate food in the workplace, for offices without a kitchen).
- If you want a turn-key office design and renovation project, it is better to invite designers and technical specialists when you choose the future office building. They will help to find a space with the suitable layout, evaluate the project, and also make a Test Fit — layout plans to assess the number of rooms, employees, pieces of furniture and equipment that the space can accommodate. If you skip this step, some extra elements may bother employees, and lead to additional time and financial costs.
When you have decided what kind of space you look for and what you will equip it with, it is time to draw up a relocation plan and identify costs.
Step 2: Identify the Office Move Timeline and Costs
First and foremost, appoint a responsible person to monitor the office relocation: coordinate the work of departments, control contractors, etc. This employee will help to avoid delays or overspending.
Develop an Office Relocation Plan
If you plan to make repairs, keep in mind the state and size of the new office: renovation will take 4–6 months for a 500–2000 m² office, 6–9 months for a 2000–5000 m² office. What is more, it will take from 8 to 14 weeks to develop a project for office interior design.
You can move to a new office faster with the Design & Build approach, when you work with one and the same counterparty on every aspect. Thus, construction/renovation and interior design works are maintained simultaneously. This approach is not perfect: if your budget is limited and deadlines are strict, you will be pressed to find alternatives for designer products, which usually takes much time.
The renovation period also depends on whether the furniture and materials are supplied on time. Every retailer has its own rules for the import/export of goods and the working hours (only on weekends or in the evening/at night not to disturb other tenants), which might slow down the process.
Remember to add to the plan the time to purchase furniture. Manufacturing custom-made furniture in your country might take up to eight weeks, while getting furniture from abroad might take even more.
If you work with designers, they will be the ones to select furniture. Usually, specifications for the design project describe all the furniture and equipment needed for your office. If the design studio provides assembling services, designers themselves contact suppliers and select suitable items from the concept stage of the project, so that they arrive on time. If assembling services are not provided, designers make up specifications for furniture and equipment, but do not work with suppliers.
This step is necessary if you want to stick to the budget and prevent overspending.
The biggest expense item is renovations. In 2019, in St. Petersburg, the cost of office design and renovation was $200–300 per m² for basic renovations, $350–400 per m² for the standard option, and $450+ per m² for the premium one. Note that prices depend on the exchange rate and the type of space to renovate. Do not forget to add 10–15% of your budget for unexpected expenses and making changes to the project.
You can save on furniture and materials without compromising on the office design, if you order standard items from catalogs — factories produce such items on a regular basis. The second option is to replace designer furniture items with less expensive ones, for example, use laminated chipboard sheets instead of veneered panels. Asking designers for help is a good idea — they will select the best substitutes to fit into the interior.
N.B: we at DESIGNIC do not recommend saving on office chairs. Office workers have a sedentary job, that is why ergonomic chairs are crucial for their health and comfort.
Step 3: Prepare the New Office
- Think over the arrangement of furniture and employee seating. This step will help to distribute the office space, see what is missing, and quickly arrange things in the office after the move. Approximate estimation is not enough here, you need exact dimensions. Otherwise, instead of planned four tables, there will only be a place for 2 of them in the office.
- Check the furniture and appliances for defects. Everything you plan to take with you from the old office should be signed for employees to quickly find their belongings.
- Ask the new landlord or property manager about the telephony and Internet in the building: the number of telephone lines, the speed of the Internet. Everything should be set up in advance to avoid emergencies after the move.
- Check the characteristics of the old and the new office premises important for relocation: the entrance/exit throughput, the carrying capacity and the number of elevators, the availability of the loading/unloading zones, etc.
- A few weeks before the moving date, notify your current landlord and/or property manager, check if you have any debts. It happens that the furniture is disassembled, everything is packed, but the company can not leave the office, because the administration has questions. You will have to postpone the relocation, which will lead to workflow interruptions and extra costs.
- Inform clients that you change the address. You can make a mail-out with the new address and the moving date.
- Provide passes for the cars and employees of the moving company to prevent any problems with the removal of office property.
Step 4: Move to the New Office and Settle In
When all logistic issues are settled, the renovation is done, and the furniture is purchased, it is time to choose a moving company. Do it 1,5–2 weeks before the move, if you do not want to be in a hurry.
Choosing a moving company, you need to decide if you need partial or full moving services.
The first option is usually cheaper, but you need to assess precisely the weight and volume of all belongings — even a small overweight will significantly raise the cost. Partial moving services suit better for moving a small office. Large companies should choose full moving services: the moving company will calculate the total cost of transportation, then pack, load, move, upload and arrange all the items.
A few days before the move, you need to draw up a plan for the new office with the location of equipment at the new workplaces. Office relocation will be easier and employees will quickly settle down in the new place.
Talking about employees, a week before the move ask them to check all documents and folders, get rid of unnecessary ones, and move only the necessary documents to the new office.
If you use services of a moving company, it is better to schedule the move on a weekend, when employees are at home. If you are moving on your own, choose the least busy day.
One more thing, think in advance where the employees will work while the moving company is transporting and unloading furniture. A good solution is to go to a coworking space. There you can rent an individual, fully equipped space for the required number of employees. A less expensive option is to let employees work from home.
Moving to another office is quite a challenge. You need to plan the dates, choose the premises, and notify the employees.
You can easily meet this challenge, if you thoughtfully plan the office relocation:
- appoint a responsible person;
- start choosing a place for your new office in advance and together with a designer;
- pay off debts to the previous landlord;
- identify the timeline and costs;
- select furniture and materials for the new office, decide on the layout;
- find a moving company;
- provide employees with time to prepare for the move.
These simple steps will help you move your office quickly and without overspending.