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Office Move Checklist: How to Plan a Successful Move

November 14, 2019 | by Viveka Krishnaswamy

You’ve found a great new office and you’ve signed the lease — and now you need an office move checklist to help you plan the big move. We know the process can be deeply overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a set 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.

Office Move Checklist

Planning your office move

Determine a budget

Before moving onto other steps in the process, it will be imperative 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:

  • Movers
  • Packing supplies
  • Furniture
  • 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)

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 with logistics and company-wide communication. They will need that skill set to organize a smooth transition to the new space.

Hire movers

Your newly-appointed moving coordinator can lead the charge on finding a movers, but getting recommendations from your broker or peers who have moved before is highly recommended.

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.

Design the layout

Now that you’ve found your ideal next office, you’ll want to design an 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, 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 floorplan.

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 a last point, you may want to look into hiring an interior designer — ask your broker for recommendations that are within your budget.

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.

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
  • 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?)
  • 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.

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

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 what you’re planning on packing. If you’re hiring movers, communicate to the moving company what they’ll need to pack, and confirm they are bringing the necessary materials to safely pack your furniture items.

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!

Employee moving boxes in an office space

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!

Get what you need to get in the 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.

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.

Moving day

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.

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.

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.

Double-check that everything works

Walk through the new space and make sure that everything works. You’ll want to keep an eye out for:

  • Electricity
  • HVAC
  • Bathroom appliances
  • Any access points that require coded entry
  • All locks

If you notice anything that isn’t working, notify your new landlord immediately.

Post-moving day

Let people know the good news

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.)

Assist employees to get 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 situation employees in the new space is normal.

Above all, enjoy your new space! We hope that our office move checklist helped you to successfully organize your big office relocation.

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