Planning: The Key To A Successful Office Move

One of the best ways to have a positive impact on your business and maximize workplace efficiency and staff morale is to ensure that your office furniture and space allocation are optimized for your current needs – which may be quite different from what they were when you initially set up your office.

A  move may be the right step driven by the need to expand, downsize or redeploy resources within your organization, especially in the current volatile economy.

A critical determination to make early on in the process is whether you truly need more or less space or whether a smart space reconfiguration could accomplish your objectives. This is one reason why it can prove helpful to work with a firm that offers moving, office-system configuration, space planning and installation services and can give you a true assessment of your options.

A move that is well planned at the outset is far more likely to be deemed a successful move with a minimum of office downtime. Office moves are distinctly different from home moves – in part due to the sheer weight and/or scale of the furniture, which may require special crates, dollies, and other equipment. Installers/Movers will know the intricacies associated with each brand of office furniture, minimizing frustration and damage

If you have determined that a move is in order, there are some critical factors to consider and questions to ask when deciding who to use and how (and when) to orchestrate your move. While it’s often less disruptive to move outside of traditional working hours, this will generally have a considerate impact on the cost of the move.

Moves that occur anytime on weekends or those that start early in the day (typically before 8:00 am) and/or extend past 5:00 pm on weekdays will almost invariably include overtime costs.

Know who is responsible for every aspect of the move and ensure that there is clear communication about the move from the beginning within your organization and with any other companies that will be involved to ensure that you will be ready to resume operations in the shortest possible time.

It is also important to understand the insurance and other legal aspects of a move. Find out whose insurance covers the move and what provisions, exclusions, and restrictions apply. The insurance component impacts not merely the equipment and furniture, it also concerns vital paperwork, records and data, which some movers will not insure. Certain items will typically not be moved by a commercial mover so assignment of responsibility for everything in the office should be clearly outlined.

While a good mover will position cables, etc. as close as possible to where you need them, moving companies are rarely responsible for actually disconnecting and reconnecting any cabling or electronic connections, making coordination with your IT personnel another item for your planning checklist.

No two office moves are alike, and a number of factors will influence the cost and time associated with your move and will be factored into the written quote you will receive from a trained estimator such as the following:
-    Are the existing and new spaces located on the first floor or upper floors?
-    How accessible are they?
-    Are stairs involved at either end, and are doorways large enough to readily accommodate your furniture?
-    Is there an elevator? Is it large enough and in proper working order?
-    Is there ample parking out front for moving trucks
-    Does your mover have certified installers who are familiar with your brand of furniture and will one of them be present during the entire move and not just hire laborers to do the heavy work?
-    Does your mover have storage available for either interim storage until the move is complete or to store furniture or equipment you will not be using in the near future but still wish to keep? What are the storage charges and terms and whose insurance applies?

Keep the communication flowing with your team to be sure that everyone is aware of every detail associated with the move. The fewer open questions that are left for the actual move day, the more smoothly the move will go. The movers need to be told exactly where each piece of furniture needs to be placed – color coded labels will help and are usually provided by a professional moving company – and all items that are not to be moved need to be clearly marked.

Getting ready for a move is an optimal time to dispose of anything that really should not go, but encourage employees to not get overly zealous in their efforts to dispose of paperwork and files. Your records – retention specialist can help you to develop specific guidelines to avoid “tossers remorse”

John Challenger is the owner and president of OFR, Inc.

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