Whatever size your business, at some point you will likely have to confront the dilemma about whether or not to move premises. Maybe your current location is too small, or too expensive, or just too not-where-your-customers-are. Whatever the case, it can be tricky to know whether moving is the right thing to do.
Fortunately, we’re here to help, with our handy guide to when to move offices, and when you do, how to get the best out of that move!
Moving offices is exciting, but undoubtedly stressful. Add that to the day to day stress of running a business and you’ve got a prospect that has many business owners hot under the collar. In fact, 31% of them said that an office move is the most stressful thing they have done.
As a result of this, many businesses put it off and put it off until staff are dissatisfied, space is limited, and costs are prohibitive.
When Is the Best Time to Move Office?
There are a lot of things you need to consider when it comes to thinking about the best time to move, including:
- What the commercial property market is like in your area
- When the busiest and quietest periods are (for yourself and the moving company)
- Whether you’ve got any big projects or deadlines coming up
- Current or projected business growth
- Stress on yourself and your team
- When your current lease is up
Make sure you’re considering all of these when planning a move. You may be a bit cramped at the moment, but if your busiest period is coming up and you need all hands on deck for that, it’s probably not the best time to think about moving.
How to Choose your New Office
When it comes to choosing your new premises, the main thing you need to think about (other than cost, of course!) is whether it will work for your employees and your business. When surveyed, 45% of employees valued having green space to use (or even just look at), 40% felt they didn’t have enough breakout areas, and 51% wanted somewhere they could go to get away from their desks.
Size is also a key concern. You should allow for 95 square feet per person so your employees don’t feel crammed in like sardines. You should also allow for at least one breakout area of 200 square feet or more to give them space to relax/eat/have informal meetings/brainstorm ideas etc.
You’ll also need to think about physical location. An office a bit off the beaten track might be cheaper than one in a city centre, but if the transport links are terrible and there’s little or no parking, then it’s going to seriously annoy your staff.
Likewise, local amenities are crucial. If the only place to go at lunchtime is the office canteen, it doesn’t really give people a break from the environment. Plus, people have busy lives and errands to run. It’s always handy to have access to a couple of eateries, a bank and a post office at least. Plus, maybe a park or some green space to walk in.
Finally, think about your employees’ needs. If you have staff with disabilities or who are older, then you may need to make sure you’re somewhere with the right level of access.
How to Move Offices… Smoothly!
Fortunately, moving offices is not something that needs to be done very often, and when done right, it minimises the stress for everyone concerned. Here’s how to make things run smoothly:
Appoint a Project Manager to oversee the move
Appoint someone whose job it is to oversee all aspects of the move. If you have a facilities manager, this is a good fit for them, otherwise it might be your office manager or another member of your team who has the capacity and the skills to do this.
Decide on and manage your budget
Not the easiest thing ever, and there are always those hidden costs that crop up, but you can make things a bit easier on yourself when it comes to budget-management. Keep a spreadsheet or other record of any known costs and add to, update and review this regularly.
Here are some things to consider:
- Evaluate your current outgoings – are there ways that money could be saved? Get quotes from other suppliers to see
- Downtime – a move will affect your productivity for a time. What impact will this have on your profits?
- Costs of moving, cancelling supplier contracts etc – there are plenty of costs associated with moving. Make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises.
Make a plan
Create a plan for the move. Confirm your moving date and book any removal companies or specialists. Get your project manager to draw up a timetable to ensure that everything stays on track.
You also need to plan out your new space. What are the dimensions of the various rooms and spaces? How will your furniture and equipment fit? Where are your various teams going to sit? Where are powerpoints and phone points located? Where are your breakout areas going to be? Is there enough storage for documents and equipment? Etc, etc…
Review furniture, suppliers and equipment
At this point, it’s also a good idea to review your office furniture and equipment. Think about what you do and don’t need, and what’s outdated or needs replacing. Likewise, it’s also a great time to look at your suppliers and utilities. Can you get better deals by switching? Order any new furniture and equipment well ahead of time.
Communicate with staff, suppliers and customers
Make sure that everyone involved in your business knows what’s happening. Create a communications plan to make sure that everyone is looped in at the right time. Whether this is keeping your employees updated on moving dates and expectations, sending your clients an email letting them know your new address or just updating your stationery, make sure it’s all on there, with dates for when it needs to be done.
You should also make sure your post is forwarded to your new address from the day of the move.
After the Move…
Even after you’ve moved, there are some things still to be done. Put a sign up at your old premises with your new address and contact details. Post pictures of your new office on social media channels. Arrange for the collection of any moving crates and boxes, and finally… have a party to celebrate!