Thousands of companies in the U.S. move every year. This may be due to growth, down-sizing, or the need for a more efficient space. Moving often takes longer than we think it will--definitely longer than we want it to--and it’s important to account for the unexpected and unforeseen.
Relocating an office is more complicated and time-consuming than moving a home; you’re managing employees, evaluating current systems, creating new ones, and trying to keep your business going at the same time. A minimal disruption to workflow and revenue is key in a commercial move.
At Organization & Relocation, we’ve coordinated large commercial moves where there was, literally, no downtime. Business doesn’t stop because you are relocating! We even attend construction meetings when an office is being built and act as liaison to keep business interruption at a minimum. Our goal is that the company continues to function smoothly even as systems are shut down, packed up, and relocated. In the words of Karl W. Kunz, CFO of Freewave Technologies, “O&R was instrumental to the success of our move. With the help of their leadership and execution, we were able to move into our new facility ahead of schedule and on budget. In our case, our production remained on time to our customers and I was able to spend most of my time managing my business.”
It’s never too early to prepare for a move; even if you’re planning a year or just months down the road, it’s important to establish your relocation budget. What do you need to hire out? Should you enlist the services of a design firm? Establish an employee moving committee? You definitely need to book the movers (the good ones are always in high demand), start creating your checklist, and think about how to delegate some of the more complex tasks. Taking inventory of current office furniture and determining additional furniture needs is a lengthy task when items have to be approved, ordered, and delivered. Things like transferring phone and data systems and making sure IT is functioning also take time and coordination. Imagine showing up your first day and there is no power or data for your computers--bye bye daily revenue, hello frustrated clients! You want those systems to be up and running the minute your employees arrive at their new digs.
A comprehensive checklist is our constant companion during a commercial relocation. Once we’ve established the requirements and parameters of a move, we work with our clients to prioritize them, develop a checklist with realistic time lines, and delegate the required tasks. It is important to involve the employees and give them ownership of the move and new workspace. Monitoring the checklist before and throughout the duration of the relocation ensures the milestones are hit along the way.
Communication can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of a commercial relocation. Employee updates are critical during the lead-up to and execution of a move. No employee likes to feel left out of a company-wide initiative, no matter his or her place in the food chain. Regular meetings with department heads followed by company-wide email briefs to keep everyone in the loop--even if there isn’t much to report--are always appreciated. Clear instructions for responsibilities during the move and expectations for the new space will help the process move along smoothly.
The really fun part of relocating is determining the look and function of the office. Your checklist will ensure that specific areas are established during set up, but some things will naturally shift as the flow starts to become apparent during the unpacking. At Organization & Relocation, we’re always on the lookout for ways to streamline, downscale, and maximize efficiency.
Setting up from scratch provides lots of possibilities for improvement. For example, relocation is a fabulous opportunity to make sure the office starts out clean. Seize the moment, and wipe down office furniture, electronics, wall hangings, and kitchen or break-room items. When you see them in your new space minus dust, coffee rings, and mysterious science-experiment buildup, you’ll be amazed at how such a small investment can yield such a huge return!
After your move is complete and you’re settled in, you may notice how maintaining a high organizational level actually increases company morale, especially if common areas like the kitchen or break room are kept clean, clutter-free, and pleasing to the eye. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employed individuals ages 25-54 spend an average of 8.8 hours a day working or in work-related activities. Since most of us spend the majority of our week at work, why not make it an environment that reduces stress and promotes productivity? The Wall Street Journal reports that the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks annually searching for important documents lost in clutter. Lost time is lost money in your pocket, so keeping an organized office-wide system in place helps out in every way--including your bottom line.
A commercial relocation is a time to celebrate leaving the old and welcoming in the fresh and new. With some lead time, a checklist, and a solid plan, you can make this relocation look like a piece of proverbial cake. The fact that your business continues to function at the same time? Let’s call that part the icing.