Although often needed to meet the changing needs of a business, an office move or company relocation can seem a daunting task. Logic PM, an RICS accredited project management practice in London and Kent, share with us their 8 must-do steps to ensure a smooth office move. Many of these steps could also be applied to a home move or a warehouse / commercial premises move too.
1. Assess and set objectives
Take the time to assess your current business needs as well as the potential needs of the business in the future. Consider what you need from a business premises now as well as where you hope to be in 1, 5, 10 or perhaps even 20 years time.
Ensure that you are clear on the reasons for your office relocation. Common reasons to move include upcoming expiry of a lease, a need to reduce overheads, space for more staff or machinery, etc.). Take into account both the short and long term needs of your business to effectively plan an appropriate office relocation.
2. Effective planning
It is important that a consensus is reached by all key decision makers in the business. All should be clear on the reasons behind the proposed office move as well as the aims of the relocation project. Essential questions to ask at this point could include:
- Where would you like to move to?
- How much (and what type of) space do you need now and in the future?
- When you need to move by? (Consider expiration of any current lease arrangements)
- What features do you need your new office premises to offer? (i.e. parking, proximity to public transport, kitchen, etc.)
- Budget and desired length (and type) of lease arrangement?
3. Get the right team
Using the right team of people to manage an office relocation project is crucial. It is unlikely that any single member of your workforce possesses the required skills, available time and relevant experience to manage an office move alone.
Even for a relatively small office, a relocation project is a large undertaking which requires a team effort and a professional input to deliver a successful outcome. A good office relocation team should include both internal and external members such as a project management firm and a project leader within the business.
The project leader should be appointed at the beginning of the move process. This individual can then provide a single point of contact within the business for external parties such as suppliers and project manager, as well as keeping stakeholders within the business informed. It is essential that the project leader has excellent communication and organisation skills, the available time to dedicate to the relocation project, the trust of the directors or owner and the ability to act on their behalf.
4. No time to waste
There really is no time to waste when it comes to an office move. With so much to be done, the sooner you start, the more likely you are to plan a smooth and successful relocation. Nick Baster of Logic PM recommends that you should “start reviewing your options 9-18 months prior to your lease expiration” he adds “whether you are considering an office relocation, renewing your lease or renegotiating, it is essential to allow plenty of time to properly assess each option.”
5. Budget – with help from a professional
One of the first tasks in any project should be to create a budget. An RICS accredited project manager with extensive experience in office relocation can be a great asset when creating a realistic office move budget.
Property costs are typically one of the biggest expenditures of any business. The decisions made at the start of an office relocation project are likely to have a significant impact on the profitability of your business for years to come.
Appointing the right team of professionals is our biggest ‘top tip’ for any company embarking on an office relocation. An accredited project management firm, such as Logic PM, can guide you through the relocation process, reduce stress and save time and money by planning your move effectively, setting realistic budgets and deadlines and by using their experience to ensure that you avoid any costly mistakes.
6. Don’t sign on the dotted line…just yet
It is strongly recommended that you seek the proper legal advice before signing any lease documents. Experienced commercial property solicitors can negotiate the finer points of the lease contract and advise you on the legal implications of the more detailed terms.
Change can be uncomfortable and unsettling for some people and most of us don’t like it. However, an office relocation creates a great opportunity to bring about positive change. You could set these as goals at the start of your project, for example you may wish the move to result in increased staff productivity, better facilities and improved morale.
The key to affecting positive change from an office move is in communication. Be open and honest with your staff from the outset. Tell them about the planned office move and the reasons behind it. Keep them informed throughout the process, perhaps with regular meetings about the plans. Engage with your employees and listen to their suggestions as they may have some excellent ideas that you could implement in your new premises.
8. Have a clear out
Use the relocation as a chance to clear out old paperwork and unwanted equipment prior to the move. You may also wish to consider scanning documents to reduce the need for filing cabinets and upgrading computer systems.