Moving is a big job, whether you are relocating or opening a new office.
If you were to write a to-do list of everything that needed to be done when relocating or opening an office, your list would be long. It is better to focus your initial energy on the most important areas. You can then drill down further, narrowing your focus as you go through the process.
So, where should you channel your initial energy? Here are the three main areas to consider when relocating or opening a new office.
1. Set Your Budget
A budget must be the starting point.
You might already have a budget you want to spend on the purchase of the new office or the monthly lease. However, you will also need a budget for the process of opening or moving, as you will incur costs.
When developing your office opening or relocation budget, make sure you account for everything, from construction requirements, to furniture, to IT to utility installation. Knowing where you stand upfront is the best approach.
2. Plan Early and Revise Often
Planning as early as possible is arguably the most important part of a successful office opening or relocation.
Even if it is 12 or 18 months ahead of the move, the earlier you can begin planning, the better. Then, make sure to review and revise your plan regularly to stay on track.
Some essential tips when planning an office opening or relocation include:
Assign a project manager – it is beneficial to have a single person who is responsible for coordinating the project and being the main point of contact for all the stakeholders that will be involved.
Talk to vendors – the earlier you can talk to the vendors that will be involved in the office opening or relocation, the better. This includes IT, internet and telephone service providers, and cabling vendors, as well as furniture suppliers, decorators, signage companies, and anything else you will need. To highlight the importance of this, we can use internet service providers (ISP) as an example. Your ISP might need to complete construction work to get internet access to your new office. This will take time, so it makes sense to include them in the conversation early.
Communicate with employees – speaking of conversations, it is helpful to make employees aware of your plans and get their feedback. This is particularly important for those who will be involved in or affected by the project.
Get a floor plan – having a floor plan can help with your overall planning. For example, a floor plan can help the cabling vendor design where to install data ports or help the IT vendor decide on the location and configuration of the server room.
Establish a staffing and workstation plan – how many staff members will be moving into the new office? Is there existing IT hardware that can be utilized in the new office, or is new equipment needed?
Think about specialized equipment – additional consideration will be needed if you have specialized equipment or materials. Examples include hazardous materials or machinery that needs to be recalibrated when it arrives at the new location.
Think about decommissioning – if you are moving offices, you are not just creating a move, installation, and commissioning plan. Decommissioning the old office also must factor into your thinking and decision making.
Think about how you will operate during the move – will there be a period between the closing of your old office and the opening of the new one? How will you service customers or answer queries during this period? Or do you plan to complete the office opening or relocation work outside of normal business hours, such as at the weekend? All these questions need to be considered.
3. Give IT Sufficient Focus
Some of the biggest complications that can arise during an office opening or relocation project come under the heading of IT.
After all, moving or purchasing a new office chair, for example, is much easier than moving or setting up a new computer.
There are five main areas to think about:
Hardware and software requirements – will you be moving existing hardware into the new office or are you purchasing new equipment? Will the new workstations have physical computers or virtual desktops? If purchasing new equipment, have you allocated enough lead time in your schedule? Do you need to purchase additional software licenses? Have you considered app usage and user workflows when specifying new desktops?
User requirements – who will be moving into the new office location? Are they new employees? What about permissions and access levels?
Server room location – where will the server room be located? Have you considered future IT and business plans, and will the new server room meet your future requirements?
Backups – make sure you have a strong and tested plan for backing up all your data before machines are switched off, disconnected, and moved. As it is easy to lose data during an office move, the importance of this point should not be underestimated.
Think about cybersecurity – are there specific cybersecurity issues that need to be addressed as part of the office opening or relocation? Are there compliance issues you need to think about or risks you need to mitigate? For example, you might have a sensitive customer or patient data on IT equipment that is being moved to the new office location. Have you taken steps to protect that data and ensure ongoing compliance before, during, and after the move?
With all the above points and everything else that crops up with IT during an office opening or relocation, it helps to work with an experienced IT vendor. In fact, that advice applies across the board. Even the smallest projects, such as opening a small satellite office, will benefit from expert advice and support, as you will save money and time.
Budget, Plan, and Get the IT Element Right
The summary when opening or relocating offices is to budget well, plan early, and pay special attention to the IT elements of the project.
By focusing on these three areas throughout the process, you will be in a better position to ensure the office opening or relocation is a success.