Businesses need to relocate for many reasons, often because the company is growing and needs more space. The move may not always occur at an ideal time, such as during the current pandemic. However, if COVID-19 and business relocation are concerns on your mind this year, it is still possible to have a successful office move. If you’re thinking of moving, here are some office relocation considerations for 2021.
Challenges of Relocating Your Office During COVID-19
Planning an office move can be challenging enough, but an office relocation during COVID–19 comes with additional considerations. In many ways, moving a whole office is more challenging than a household move, but being aware of the most common obstacles can help you plan your move successfully. Keep these potential hurdles in mind before your big move.
Productivity losses: No matter what type or size of business you have, when you need to move everything, you’ll inevitably experience some degree of downtime. It’s nearly impossible to have no productivity loss during a move, but there are some ways to mitigate the issue. Many office workers are already working from home due to the pandemic, and this ability can be helpful to reduce losses in productivity while the office moves to its new location.
Planning out your space: Perhaps your new space is larger or smaller, or may have a different layout. Before you move, you’ll need to determine where everything will go. Note the placement of power outlets, telephone and other connectivity issues. Another thing to consider is if you will have a similar layout for your employees’ workspaces, or something new. Will you have private offices, cubicles, shared workspaces or a combination of these? If you’re making significant changes from your last space, keep your employees informed, so the new setup doesn’t surprise anyone.
Budgeting: Planning your budget during a move can be especially daunting. Remember to factor in moving costs, including moving help and supplies, plus furnishings you may need at the new location and any projected lost productivity during the move. Find quality moving companies to protect your equipment, and get estimates in advance of your move.
Coordination: Moving a whole office can be a lot of work, and ensuring everyone involved is on the same page is a significant undertaking. Hiring or designating a project manager for the move is a smart idea to keep everyone informed and coordinated. Provide as much communication as possible for all team members for the smoothest transition.
Deciding between old and new: When you’re moving to a new location, it can be a challenge to know where to draw the line between keeping the old routines and furnishings, or replacing everything with brand-new items. Try to strike a balance between things you’re keeping from the old office, and new items you’ll incorporate at the new location. Before the move, assess which fixtures and furniture items are in good condition and which ones you need to replace. Doing so will make it easier to coordinate the layout at the new location.
Tips for Moving During the Pandemic
Relocating your business during a pandemic can seem like a daunting task, but it is possible! You can still tour new buildings and spaces with some social distancing — some may even have virtual tours as another option. Moving companies are still working too, so your move may even go more smoothly than you expect. Create a COVID-19 business move plan that includes these tips.
Assess the risks: Sometimes, you can put off a move, but other times, it’s essential. If your move is inevitable, be aware of all the potential risks of moving during a pandemic, and have a plan that prioritizes safety. If you’re using a moving company, ask them about any safety policies or protocols they may have in place during this time.
Keep organized and use checklists: Use written lists and charts to coordinate and track all the necessary steps for your move. Use your lists to coordinate departments and employees, and catalog items you need to pack and move.
Designate a leader: You should have a project manager or committee to oversee all things move-related. Your chosen relocation leader should be the contact person for all other department heads during the transition, as well as moving companies or any other services you’ll use during the moving process. The relocation leader can also coordinate with other staff members and keep everyone informed.
Have a backup plan: Better yet, have several contingency plans at the ready. Things can go wrong even in the best of times, and in today’s uncertain world, it’s even more likely. Plan for delays and decide how you’ll handle other potential issues before they happen.
Coordinate packing well in advance: Create a plan that allows your employees to pack their belongings, coordinating schedules to keep in line with COVID-friendly guidelines. Keep in mind that cardboard can harbor germs, including the novel coronavirus, so ask everyone to pack well before the move for maximum safety.
Plan for a move over a long weekend: It may be easiest to complete your move over the weekend, when most, if not all, of your employees aren’t working. If an upcoming public holiday allows for a long weekend, try to plan your move during this time to give you an extra day. Remember that any moving services may be busier and booked well in advance of the date, and more expensive.
How to Protect and Help Employees During an Office Move
Safety and your employees should always be your priorities as a company leader. How to keep employees safe during a business relocation should be your top concern when planning your move. Here’s everything you should consider to keep your employees safe and engaged during your business relocation.
Communication: You should always ensure the lines of communication stay open, especially while planning a move. Ensure all your employees are aware of the moving schedule and plan, the reasons for the move and the new location’s details. Will any roles or business structures change? Where will everyone sit in the new building? Make sure everyone knows who is coordinating the move and where they can go with questions or concerns.
Gather input: Show your employees you value them, and gather their thoughts and concerns well ahead of a move. Ask their opinions on processes and placement of various rooms or office equipment. Find out what worked well and what needs improvement, and use this to inform your new location’s setup. Involving your employees helps keep team morale high.
Consider commutes, transportation and parking: If your new building is close to your current office, this won’t be an issue. However, if the move is across town, you’ll want to think about how it may affect some of your employees’ commutes. Find out if the new location is accessible by public transportation, and consider offering incentives to help your team pay for transit or parking, if applicable. Communicate the new office’s parking situation and any details such as assigned spots, costs and charging stations for electric vehicles. Address these issues as soon as possible to allow employees to decide if a longer commute is worth it for them.
Create a moving package: If the new office is in a completely different area, gather information on businesses local to the new neighborhood, including gyms, day cares, restaurants and coffee shops, or anywhere your employees might frequent before or after work and on breaks. Include brochures, menus and any other information you can find. Consider adding a gift card to a local business, too.
Prioritize health and safety: Follow all health guidelines as much as possible during the move, including social distancing and capacity recommendations. Organize your employees’ packing times so they can pack their belongings safely and prepare for the move. Allow workers to work from home as much as possible during the moving process, and plan for a safe return to the new office when appropriate.
How to Plan an Office Relocation During COVID-19
If you want to know how to safely relocate your office during COVID-19, consider this your action plan. Follow these steps to cover all your bases, and have a smooth transition to the new office location. We’ve divided up our suggested plan of action into three phases.
1. Planning Phase
The first stage of any office relocation is planning, and should occur anywhere between six and 12 months before the actual move date. Being organized from the start will help the whole process run smoothly. Follow these phase one moving tips.
Organize: Choose a central location for all moving-related documents and notes. Whether it’s digital or a physical notebook or folder, always keep your moving notes in this same spot. Keep all essential documents well-organized throughout.
Announce your move: Each company is different, and you can decide what’s most appropriate, especially given the constraints of pandemic recommendations. Your announcement could be a team meeting, an email, a presentation or another format. Try to address as many aspects of the move as possible, and keep your staff informed.
Make inventory lists: It’s a good idea to catalog what you have in the current office and what you want in the new space. Consider what furniture and fixtures are in good enough shape to make the move, and what you’ll want to replace. Or perhaps it’s time for a major upgrade, and you want all new office furniture. Talk to department managers and consider the best workflow plan for the new space when planning new fixtures.
Create moving committees: The larger your company is, the more help with planning and coordinating you’ll need, so designate a leader and a committee now to help with the move. For larger companies, divvy up specialized duties like logistics, packing and decorating the new space.
2. Packing and Preparing
The second stage of the office moving process involves packing up and preparing logistics for the new space. Ideally, these tasks take place about three to six months before the move date. By this point, you should have an organized system in place for moving documents and a good idea of what the new space will look like. Continue to refine the moving details with these second-phase steps.
Find a moving company: Do your research and ask for recommendations to find the best moving company for your business. Find out what extras they may offer, such as packing help or cleanup. Many moving services get booked early, especially if you plan on moving over a weekend or holiday, so reserve your spot well in advance.
Research moving extras: If your moving company doesn’t provide specific services, look into them separately. These may include purchasing boxes, packing services, moving truck rentals, cleaning the old and new spaces and whatever else you need for your moving experience.
Schedule walk-throughs: Inspect your old office and the new space and search for any obstacles that may present themselves during the move, or anything that needs special considerations.
Plan new arrangements: Whether you have private offices, cubicles, an open plan, shared workstations or a combination of all these, make a general plan for how to lay out everything in the new space. Use detailed floor plans and the feedback you’ve gathered from your team to design your new layout.
Downsize: Whether you carry a product inventory or have extra office supplies and fixtures, consider getting rid of anything you don’t need. Having fewer items to move makes the process easier and faster. You could even have a warehouse sale to make a little extra money on anything you don’t need. Use the proceeds to purchase new office furniture. Start packing everything you are keeping.
3. Moving and Organizing
Step three of the office moving process is all about the move. It can start as early as three months before the move date, and continue to include the move itself. Consider these phase three moving tips.
Label everything clearly: Organize and label every item, so nothing gets misplaced and everything ends up in the correct location at the new office. Employ a system such as numbers or color coding, and use the correct labels to mark the new building’s offices, so the movers can easily match the labels.
Coordinate utility services: Set up all necessary utilities at the new building in advance of your move, including power, water, phone and internet. Be sure to coordinate the disconnection of services at the old location, too.
Finish packing and have everything moved: Wrap up all last-minute details, pack any remaining items and prepare for the big moving day. Use your moving committee and professional moving services to get everything to the new location.
Organize and decorate: Once you have everything moved to the new location, get it all set up, then decorate the new space to complete the process. Create a plan for team members to get settled in their new spaces, as appropriate with the current pandemic recommendations.
Celebrate: Once you finish moving, it’s time to celebrate! Plan a virtual company party and celebrate with the whole team online. It’s essential to recognize and reward the employees who helped with the move, and a celebration will boost company pride and morale.
New Office Solutions From Arnold’s Office Furniture
If you’re relocating your business after COVID-19, why not go all-out with new office furnishings and fixtures? Arnold’s Office Furniture is your go-to for innovative office solutions, providing a wide range of office furniture, including our popular Sunline cubicle systems. These cutting-edge, affordable new cubicle systems offer the utmost in customizability and flexible design. You can arrange and rearrange these modular units to fit any office layout. For your next office move, Arnold’s can completely outfit your space with all-new cubicles and furniture. Contact us with any questions, or to request a quote for your new office layout.