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How Do I Successfully Plan and Execute an Office Move?

Many organizations have learned through experience that large office moves are anything but easy. There are many literal moving parts. Whether your company is undergoing a physical office relocation or a reorganization of staff within an existing space, it's important to consider things like budget, timeline, transitional workflows, and much more. Below, we've compiled a list of best practices to help ease the stress when planning and executing an office move.

Where Do I Start?

Communication and planning are key when changing your staff’s work environment. Here are some items to consider 6-12 months ahead of the move event:

  • Staff Announcement – Keeping staff informed during the move process is imperative to successful change management. Change can be difficult. Providing helpful information upfront and creating a forum for questions during the entire move planning and execution will foster confidence in the process and excitement for the upcoming change. Utilizing town hall meetings or departmental team meetings are great ways to ensure your staff has received the necessary information.

  • Create the Move Team – Identify the key leaders from each department that will help during the planning process. This team will validate associate headcounts within each department, confirm the necessary space needed for staff growth, identify associate seat maps, help disseminate information to staff, and ensure move instructions are carried out.

  • Engage IT – Technology personnel should be looped in to ensure all required resources will be available and live for the staff moving to the new location.

  • Engage a Move Management Team – Project management and owner’s representative firms often provide commercial office move management services. A third-party service provider with experience in large office relocations is a great resource in ensuring your day-to-day operations are not impacted while planning and executing a successful move.

How Do I Create a Move Budget?

Estimating the costs associated with an office relocation or reorganization is often not as simple as calling a move vendor for a quote. Here are some of the items to consider that often make up the total cost of a move:

  • Physical Box Move – The relocation of staff belongings that have been packed in move crates or boxes. This is typically made up of the items that will be relocated to a person’s new workstation or office. This cost should include the materials required for packing and moving.

  • Staff Technology Equipment – Desk equipment such as monitors, peripherals, computers, docking stations, and personal printers are typically not included in a box move quote.

  • Networked Printers – Organizations often lease large print devices. Any devices that aren’t owned by the user are likely required to be moved by the leasing company.

  • Network Equipment – Many organizations rely on physical servers and equipment for network connectivity. These items may need to be relocated by IT or a third-party provider as part of the relocation.

  • Furniture – Consider any furniture or large equipment that will be relocated. There may also be furniture reconfigurations required based on the new associate seat map. You may need to engage a furniture dealer to assist with identifying any product required for the reconfiguration, as well as the install labor itself.

What Activities Should Occur Leading Up to the Move?

With all the moving parts leading up to a move event, it’s important to ensure all stakeholders have clear expectations set. Consider the activities listed below leading up to the move:

  • Engage a Move Vendor Three Months Out – Distributing a move service request for proposal to multiple qualified move vendors will ensure you receive competitive bidding. Include all details associated with the physical move scope of work – the move schedule, how many people are being relocated, an estimated number of boxes or crates staff will need, any large items or furniture being relocated, whether the relocation of staff desk equipment will be included, etc. Once selected, confirm milestone dates such as move material delivery and the actual move date.

  • Finalize a Master Move Database or Spreadsheet One Month Out – This document should include all finalized information associated with the move – current and future associate desk or office numbers based on a numbered floor plan, staff names, departmental information, phone numbers, special requests, etc.

  • Create a Move Map One Month Out – Move maps are floor plans of both the existing location and the new or reorganized location. Associate workspaces are numbered and highlighted based on who is included in the move. This is an easy tool for the move team to use to see which desks are being vacated or occupied as part of the move.

  • Distribute a Pre-Move Packet to All Staff 4-6 Weeks Out – This packet should contain all specific move schedule information, a list of what items to pack in boxes or crates, how to label belongings, what condition to leave your existing desk in, what items should be taken home, and what to expect on the first day at your new location. The “how to pack” information distribution should coincide with the delivery of the move materials (crates, boxes, labels).

  • Deliver Move Materials to All Staff 2-4 Weeks Out – Associates will utilize the crates, boxes, and labels following the instructions distributed with the Pre-Move Packet.

  • Tag All Existing and New Staff Locations the Week of the Move – This can be as simple as hanging a piece of paper with the workstation number and assigned name typed on it. These tags allow the move team to match the labeled belongings with the proper desk.

How Do I Make My Staff’s First Day at Their New Location as Easy as possible?

Once all items have been relocated successfully, the final steps in the move process include preparing for associates to arrive and providing support once they do. Here are some of the activities to consider when wrapping up a successful move:

  • Testing – Ensure all staff desk equipment is functioning properly, including phones, monitors, and peripherals.

  • Double-check Labels – All labels on move crates, boxes, and any desk equipment should match the desk tags.

  • Clean-Up – Tidy up the space to create the best first impression possible for staff. Pick up any waste from the move, straighten up any loose equipment, push in all chairs, etc.

  • Post-Move Checklist – Distribute a post-move checklist at each desk. This checklist should verify that associates have all belongings and that their equipment is functioning properly. These checklists can be used as tickets for any work orders or issues that arise after associates arrive for their first day.

  • Post-Move Support – The move team should provide post-move support to all associates impacted by the move. This team can be made up of the internal move resources, IT, move vendor, furniture vendor, etc. These resources should make regular check-ins with staff as they arrive at their new desks to document and fix any issues. Quick responses to problems will help create a good move experience for impacted staff.


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