Are you responsible for coordinating your office move? This is an exciting time. Most businesses move their offices because they’re growing and expanding, after all.

Offices don’t come with too many nick-knacks or dishes, but they can be just as complicated and stressful as your standard residential move. In fact, they can be more complicated and stressful because most companies still need to do business while the move is taking place.

There are a lot of pitfalls, so we’ve compiled this list of tips to help you manage your business move.

Start with a project plan

Moving may well be the biggest project you’ve ever managed. An office move is about a lot more than packing up boxes and bringing everything over to the new site. Here are just a few of the considerations you’re going to want to think about.

  • IT and phone services. Your phones are going to have to ring without interruption. Your computer systems will need to be set up at the new place. They may even need to work at both places simultaneously until the transition is complete.
  • When to move various employees. Some employees may need to move right away, while others will need to stay at the original office until the day the move is done. This means that your furniture, fixtures, and equipment may need to move in phases as well.
  • New furniture, fixtures, and equipment. A bigger office probably needs more desks, more phones, more computers, more conference room furniture—you name it. That’s going to have to get purchased, and it’s going to have to arrive at your site. It’s also going to have to be disassembled and reassembled.
  • You’re probably going to have to move sensitive files and documents. You’re also going to need to make sure that the employees who need those documents to do their job have access to them.
  • You’ve probably been given a budget to use—and it’s important to ensure that you stay within that budget. That means taking the time to research alternatives for different products, services, utilities, and vendors that you may need to accomplish your move.
  • Security is also an issue. Moving day is chaotic, and you may be moving expensive equipment or sensitive documents. Movers and employees should wear security passes on the day of the move to make sure you aren’t letting these items fall into the wrong hands.
  • Change of address notifications, which include address changes on all major marketing materials.

Your plan should include important dates (i.e. when to start and stop internet service at your new office, when various personnel move, etc). It should also include a list of who is responsible for what. Try to think of every step of the move and make sure you place it in the plan. If you’re not the owner or CEO you should share the plan with your supervisor so he or she has a chance to “weigh in” before anything is set in stone. You may even need to place multiple employees in charge of multiple tasks—one employee may need to be in charge of the furniture, for example, while another handles all of the communications issues associated with the move.

Figure out how you’re going to reduce noise during your move

Most people don’t realize that noise is a big concern during a move, especially if you spend a lot of time on the phone with clients. They don’t want to hear power drills disassembling cubicles or other unprofessional background noises.

You also have your office building neighbors to consider, both at the old location and at the new location. They’re all trying to conduct business as well, and they won’t be pleased if your moving activities interfere with their ability to do that.

Throw down some temporary moving pads or carpets if you’re dealing with hard floors. You may also try to have some packing taking place outside of normal business hours. Pack areas farthest from the busiest phone areas first. Above all, work to be as considerate and as careful as possible.

Don’t send employees to do the heavy lifting

You may be tempted to avoid using any kind of moving company in order to save as much money as possible. This would be a mistake.

Your employees are not trained movers, and lifting heavy objects isn’t in the job description of your average office worker, which means you could open yourself up to legal issues by asking them to haul boxes around. It’s okay to ask employees to pack their own desks, but have movers do the actual hauling.

This rule holds true even if you have a whole staff full of warehouse workers who are expected to lift things as part of their daily duties. That doesn’t make them experts at assembling and disassembling furniture, nor does it make them experts at packing up trucks so that none of your delicate equipment gets damaged.

You’ll actually save money by working with professional movers. Moving is a lot more than shoving things into boxes and shoving boxes into trucks.

Have the moving company come on-site to offer a quote

Commercial moving quotes are way more complex than residential moving quotes. Make sure you actually have the moving company come down to see you rather than attempting to get all of your quotes over the phone or on the Internet.  This is, simply put, the very best way to avoid nasty surprises later.

Your moving company may also have specific instructions for how to handle certain pieces of equipment. For example, we always recommend that toner be removed from all copiers before transport so that ink doesn’t get everywhere. You get a good opportunity to discuss these issues with your moving provider, and to add them to the plan, when you take the time to have an in-person conversation with a moving representative who cares.

Keep inventories and label everything

You can’t afford to lose anything during your office move—and some items may be more of a high-priority during the unpacking phase than others. A really good inventory can help you get the most important items out fast. It can also help you double check that everything made it over undamaged and ready to go.

Of course, if you hire Eager Beaver to help with your moving needs you can feel confident knowing that we’re going to get everything over for you, and that it will all be in stellar shape when it gets there. Nevertheless, we’re still going to recommend that you make that inventory for your own internal use.

Ready to launch your office move?

Call 780-434-1100 to set up an appointment. We’ll get out there to deliver your free quote so that you’ll be able to factor it into your plans.