The joys and travails of relocating are manifold! Office relocation is also a big logistics nightmare. There are so many more people involved in that case, and so many more people affected - customers, employees, vendors etc. Ensuring a smooth relocation is a momentous task. Even with planning there can be things which go wrong at the last minute.
However, since the relocation affects so many people and also intangibles like a company's reputation when services are disrupted or falls below normal quality levels, it necessitates a good deal of planning and coordination.
What should the planning include?
- Have one person within your organization pull together one staff member from each corporate group into a team that will be responsible for the move.
- Let the team get the information needed and come back.
- Prepare a master plan for the move. This will indicate requirements, timelines, responsibilities and assessment. This plan will be a live document, will keep getting updated, and will be available to all members of the relocation team.
- Now the team has to have regular meeting on requirements, fixed timelines, measuring achievements against these and final preparedness.
- Decide on the space requirements, depending on current team strength, office equipment, and projected growth.
- Add to the requirements common areas like conference rooms, a reception area, a pantry or lunch area, utilities, etc.
- List all the office equipment requirements of the organization by getting each team to budget and then consolidating the reports. This list should include requirements for computers, laptops, wiring, telephone lines, electrical outlets, internet cabling, conferencing facilities, lighting needs, any specific specialty equipment, etc.
- Prepare a budget for relocation and allocate budget lines to each team.
- Identify a location; negotiate the cost to within the budget.
- Get a copy of the blueprint of the new location showing all the workstation points, entries and exits, permanent partitions, etc.
- If the fittings are not already in place, get an architect or designer to plan the office.
- Once the plan is drawn up, discussed and finalized, sit and assign spaces to different teams and meet other requirements.
- Take stock of the equipment and furniture that exists in the current office, and see which of these can be used or recycled/renovated and used. For the others, have a plan - either sell to dealers of used items or as scrap.
- The architect and team can begin work on adapting the new space to meet the needs as identified and communicated.
- The teams in the office can start on keeping their items in readiness for the move.
- Once the office space is readied, take the team managers to see the place.
- Draw a plan detailing staff movement, equipment transportation, timing, etc. and do a dry run with skeletal equipment and a skeletal team.
- Ensure that professionals are hired for moving the equipment and other items, and that safety standards are all met during the move.
- Any issues that have been faced during the dry run have to be discussed and corrected. If another trial is needed, which may be for some specialty equipment or critical activity, get that done.
- If all is positive after the mock drill, then plan on the final and full move with the entire office.
- Inform all the stakeholders affected by the move well in advance - customers, vendors, partners, landlord, postal authorities, regulatory authorities, utility providers, etc.
- Ensure that new details are incorporated on stationery, the website and any other item or place where contact details and the address are displayed.
- Decide on a day for the move - try to finalize a day that causes the least disruption in services. Keep a skeletal unit for handling critical day-to-day matters.
With all this preparation, your office relocation should be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.