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
offi ce 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.