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The Ultimate Office Move Checklist
You’ve found a great new office and signed the commercial lease — and now you need an office move checklist to help you plan. We know the process can be deeply overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of things you will need to take care of or consider before your office move.
Since we know each company has its own timelines and leasing journey, we’ve refrained from timestamping each step — but they’re in the order you’ll want to complete them, regardless of the timeline you’re operating within. Our office move checklist will help to ensure that you have a seamless office move into your new space.
Planning your office move
Step 1. Determine a budget
Before moving onto other steps in the process, you’ll need to determine a budget for the move — especially if you’re not working with unlimited funds. Outline what you’ll plan to spend for each step. Here are the main categories of things you will have to pay for:
- Packing supplies
- Additional non-furniture items (e.g. coffee makers, coat racks, kitchen appliances)
- Setup costs (e.g. telecom systems, furniture)
- Cleaning services
- Other services (e.g. interior designer)
Step 2. Appoint a moving coordinator
Someone internally needs to lead the moving process to avoid chaos and confusion. Nominate an office manager, executive assistant, or a similarly responsible person who excels in organization skills, logistics, and company-wide communication. They will need that skill set to organize a smooth transition to the new space.
Here’s the key though—make sure they are also a great delegator. Have them dole out the to-dos to others on the committee. The burden will be split, making the process easier and more feasible.
Step 3. Hire movers
Your newly-appointed moving coordinator can lead the charge on finding reliable, trustworthy movers, but getting recommendations from your broker or peers who have moved before is a good move.
Additionally, look into whether you will need moving insurance, and what kind of coverage you will require if so. This is recommended if you are moving valuable equipment. Your broker can also advise on this.
Step 4. Consider other professional services
Some other services that aren’t necessary, but that you might want to consider, are:
- Professional packers — They can help alleviate the stress of finding time to box everything up. They’ll make sure everything is labeled correctly and your electronics are safely packaged.
- A professional cleaning service — Hiring professional cleaners can eliminate the risk of your old landlord charging cleaning fees after you move out.
Step 5. Design the layout
Now that you’ve found your ideal next office, you’ll want to design an office interior that reflects your company’s brand and values, and that is optimized for productivity. A good first step is to make a floorplan of your office space, and determine what furniture and items you’ll need to fill the space. This should encompass everything — think office desks, chairs, couches, conference tables, phone booths, industry-specific equipment, and more. Go back to your budget and verify that your needs are accommodated by the allocation you have set. If the furniture you’ll need goes over budget, you can prioritize and plan to spend on lower priority items later down the line.
You will also need to determine a seating chart, which you can do once you have the floor plan.
Additionally, determine how long the items you need will take to deliver. For any equipment that will take a significant amount of time to deliver, you may want to order in advance.
As the last point, you may want to look into hiring an interior designer — ask your tenant broker for recommendations that are within your budget.
Step 6. Confirm your lease details – both old and new
Confirm when you’ll have possession of your new space. Once you have your date of possession and you’ve determined when you’ll be moving in, you should let your current landlord know when you are leaving. Ask them what you’ll need to do prior to leaving — will you need to have the office cleaned or repaired in any way? Is there anything you will need to return? Knowing these things in advance will save you any unwanted surprises down the line — and will allow you to work any extraneous costs into your budget.
Step 7. Internally communicate your move to your employees
As you get closer to your move and hammer out all the logistics, you’ll want to share the details with your employees. Announce the move company-wide — you may want to first share it at an all-hands, and follow up via a series of emails, as well as a calendar invitation. Specifically, you should share:
- The move date (if you don’t have the date set in stone, send a general timeline)
- The new office address, with details on how they can get there (which train lines they’ll be able to take, or any major highways the office is near)
- Any instructions regarding the move (when should they arrive at the new office? What will they need to bring themselves? What materials will they need to turn into you before the move (key cards, keys, etc.)?
- Any changes to their day-to-day that they can expect to occur (will they need to work from home? Will the office be closing early to accommodate the move?)
- The new seating chart
You don’t have to share everything all at once — as you make decisions, you can send out emails with updates on the move process.
Throughout the communication process, anticipate lots of questions. We recommend creating a separate email for the move so employees’ questions don’t get lost in the midst of day-to-day work. This email can easily be monitored by someone on the relocation committee so responses are sent out quickly.
As a last note, some employees may request a seating change or other amenities. Decide whether or not you’re going to accommodate these requests ahead of time and make sure the committee is on the same page.
Step 8. Plan the setup process
Hire any services you’ll need to get set up in your new office ASAP. This means one-time services, such as telecoms installation, and ongoing services, such as vendors in your new area. For anything that requires installation, talk to your new landlord to pre-approve any changes that will need to be made to the space. Your landlord may also have a specific way of handling these processes.
Just before your office move
Step 9. Take inventory and pack
Give employees detailed instructions on what they’ll need to pack themselves, vs. what the moving coordinator(s) or the moving company will pack, and give them the requisite materials — namely, boxes, sharpies, and packing tape. You will also want to let them know how to label their boxes, so that the unpacking process goes smoothly!
Get all the materials you need to pack for what you’re planning on packing. If you’re hiring movers and/or packers, communicate to the company what they’ll need to pack and confirm they are bringing the necessary materials to safely pack your furniture items. Simultaneously, you’ll want to take inventory of and label all of your items. If you’re hiring a moving company, make sure to take pictures of everything in case you need to file a claim.
Moving is also a great time to get rid of anything you don’t need — consider throwing away or donating things that are not in use, or that you are planning on replacing in the new space. The less stuff you have to move, the easier the move will be — and as an added bonus, you’ll get a tax break!
Step 10. Confirm all details
Verify that all the details you received regarding your move in the planning stage are still set in stone — you can never be too sure!
Additionally, share the necessary details employees will need to prepare for move-in. If you haven’t yet, include the new floor plan, how much space they’ll have for belongings, when they can unpack their individual working areas and the protocol for setting up their personal computers. Provide a way for them to easily dispose of all the boxes.
Step 11. Get what you need to get into your new space
Ask your new landlord or building manager to provide you with anything you and your employees will need to access the building — key cards, keys (for bathrooms and main entryways), and/or entry codes. This is also a good time to ask about parking passes. Get any instructions you will need to successfully enter the building on move-in day.
Additionally, collect any passes or keys from your employees for the old space the evening before the move.
Step 12. Get what you can installed before moving
Where possible, see what you can have installed before moving day — equipment, telecoms, kitchen appliances. This will free up time to focus on unpacking, and will also ensure that if any problems arise, you have extra time to find a solution before your employees need to occupy the space.
Step 13. Get to know your new neighborhood
Look through your list of current vendors and decide which ones will still be efficient to use at your new location. If you need to connect with new vendors, start the process earlier before you move in.
Now’s the time to also send employees information about their new neighborhood. Let them know about lunch places within walking distance, nice restaurants for client dinners, nearby gyms and daycare centers, and public transportation routes that’ll get them to work and home the fastest.
Step 14. Have your dedicated moving team oversee the process
Have your moving coordinator and a team of a few volunteer helpers manage the move. From overseeing movers (or moving items themselves), to having the office set up according to your floorplan, to making sure any installations are performed correctly — there’s a lot to do.
Step 15. Conduct a last walkthrough
Appoint one person to do a post-move walkthrough of the old office, and to take photos of the space, as well as document any damage to the infrastructure. This is just an added precaution that will serve you if your previous landlord attempts to make you pay for damage that isn’t your team’s doing. Also, this is a good time to return the keys or passes from the old space that you collected from your team.
Step 16. Unpack
With your moving team, start unpacking and setting up what you can! You likely will leave your employees’ boxes for them to unpack, but this is a good time to start setting up common area furniture, meeting rooms, and workstations. Use this time to make the space your own, as well as set up functional equipment like printers, copy machines, phones, and computers.
Step 17. Double-check that everything works
Conduct a thorough walkthrough the new space and make sure that everything works. You’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Bathroom appliances
- Any access points that require coded entry
- All locks
If you notice anything that isn’t working, notify your new landlord immediately.
Step 18. Spread the word about your office move
Your clients and partners should know that you’ve moved! Update your website and all 3rd party online presences, and notify your clients via email that you’ve relocated. Update any paper materials like business cards and legal templates to showcase your new address. (You may want to order these materials before you have actually moved.) Some things to update are:
- Business accounts
- Your website(s)
- Company social media accounts
- Banks and financial accounts
- Accounts receivable and payable
- Direct mail subscriptions
- Review site and directory listings (Google Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.)
Step 19. Assist employees in getting settled
Send clear instructions to employees regarding disposal of any cardboard boxes and the protocol for setting up computers and connectivity in the new office. Anticipate a lot of questions throughout the process and be patient; a week or longer to comfortably situate employees in the new space is normal.
Above all, enjoy your new space! It will take time for everyone to fully settle in and for your new office to feel, hopefully, better than your old one. But for the moment, everything’s unpacked, everyone’s working, and you can finally relax.
We hope that our office move checklist helped you to successfully organize your big office relocation.
Looking for a full timeline of the office search and move-in process? We’ve put together this handy visual that goes through each step of the journey, from finding a space to getting settled.