For better or worse, the dynamic and efficiency of your office will change after moving. Focus on making everything about “the team” during the transition and continue that mentality after everything is put away.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” sounds a bit more like a Charles Dickens novel than the dramatic tale of moving your corporate headquarters. There are countless items to consider, dozens of vendors to involve, and all of your employees to bear in mind, not to mention the impact on your business itself. While the items below are just the tip of the iceberg, they are “musts” when preparing your business in order to minimize the pains and maximize the gains of moving your office.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
When determining the area in which you’re willing to move, it’s essential to consider the accessibility of the new office for your employees. While moving to an obscure part of town might save you in rent, it could also be a hassle for your employees. Even adding just a few minutes each day to your employees’ personal time with a shorter or easier commute can be an incredibly useful tool for reducing the pain of the move and help boost long-term company morale.
You must also entertain the idea of local or out-of-town clients and franchisees. Ease of access to and from the airport and locating the office near highways can save time and gas, and time and gas are money.
DON’T OVERSTAY YOUR WELCOME
While just about every company is accustomed to a minimum three-year term that most commercial leases require, you’re typically able to negotiate better terms on leases that last five or 10 years. If property managers know they have a tenant for an extended period, they tend to be more flexible
on the rent as well as willing to include a more customized build-out of the space for you and your staff.
Planning so far down the road can almost feel like divining the winning lottery numbers. However, this exercise forces you to really consider your expectations about the business’ future needs over an extended period. What are your growth projections? What kind of staffing will that growth require?
How much space will all that need?
Or simply sit down and ask the age-old interview question: where do you see yourself in 10 years?
BUDGET? WHAT BUDGET?
Company leaders must sit down and review all the ins and outs to determine the approximate budget and timeframe of the move. You need to make a list of everything you can think of: the moving company, new furniture, computers, telephonic communications and Internet charges.
Now go back and add a few more items: updating legal documents, websites, business cards and marketing collateral. Do you think you’ve got everything yet? Then go back and be extra conservative; round up the costs just to be safe.
Okay, you’re comfortable with that as your budget? Now add 30 percent more to whatever you had written down. You’ll want to account for that “miscellaneous” expense up front and not be surprised by it on the tail end.
Moving is notoriously filled with hidden or unexpected costs, but it can also be a time where you seriously contemplate infrastructure and technological upgrades. Consider building these into your overall budget. For example, now may be the time to update to the latest VOIP technology (and that server
still running Windows 95 might not make the move). Moving allows you to sweep out all the cobwebs that have built up in the corners of your business.
AN OUNCE OF PREPARATION
Planning the move of a corporate office is a lot like planning a wedding. You must fully expect that something will go wrong and something will cost more than expected. When going through the office and packing everything, you’ll have to determine which items can go with the movers and which you’ll want to bring yourself or have key employees bring. This is where you have to decide what your mission-critical items are, otherwise you’ll end up looking like the Beverly Hillbillies on their way to California.
Ask yourself what your business would absolutely need to support your clients or franchisees if the move took three days longer than expected. Notify all your vendors, clients, and franchisees in advance and don’t forget to forward your mail.
THE BIG DAY
Everything is planned to the nth degree so the day will go perfectly, right? You must have skipped the last section. No matter how much you’ve planned, there will always be widespread confusion on the day-of. Some things are out of your control like weather or a vendor showing up late (or not at all). To make this day go smoothly, you’ll need to take a page from the orchestra and pick up your proverbial conductor’s stick.
Not sure where something goes? It doesn’t matter. Everyone is looking for answers and as the business owner you’ll have to do what helped you get this far: make an educated guess. Better to be wrong and need to move something later than slow down the momentum.
The beauty of this phase is that you’re able to find out who your real team players are. While some employees are making excuses, others are grabbing boxes and clearing out rooms without even being asked. Acknowledge those who contributed in front of the entire staff and remember them when it comes time to give out that next promotion.
THANKS FOR PLAYING
Everything is moved in and now you’re all done, right? Maybe next month. Unpacking your office is a lot like unpacking after a home move. The kitchen area and key rooms get done first and something always winds up in the garage or a storage unit.
Even though you’ve planned where everyone will sit and where everything will go, once you’ve moved in, you will still have some last minute changes to make. Now begins the waiting game. Phone and Internet vendors have a tendency to come at their leisure. Furniture deliveries, somehow, always wind up late. Factor in the downtime during the planning phase and remember why you added so much more to your budget. Keep calm and keep conducting. It may take a month or more for you to get caught up.
For better or worse, the dynamic and efficiency of the office will change after moving. Focus on making everything about “the team” during the transition and continue that mentality after everything is put away. A new office is a clean slate. You’ll be working with employees who have a fresh outlook, some
new vendors, a new mailman, and I might know the name of a good cleaning company.
Make the most of your relocation and the rewards of moving your office will more than outweigh the headaches.