It’s said that in our personal lives, moving home comes just behind a death in the family and divorce in the stress inducing stakes. And a survey conducted by E.ON revealed that relocation is the second most stressful activity for small to medium-sized business owners, just behind hiring new staff. However, moving premises should be an exciting time for your enterprise, signaling an escape from a cramped and tired place and an opportunity to refresh, renew and grow. Moving offices needn’t be stressful and armed with this – your guide to a successful office move – yours shouldn’t be.
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Your IT guide to a successful office move, from creating a timeline to caring for your technology
As office relocation is a cause of so much stress and distress for so many business owners, our London-based clients included. So we decided to have a closer look at the subject to see if we could help alleviate some of that pressure by providing you with a guide to a successful office move. This article is divided into two distinct but symbiotic parts, the first is all about the traditional removal topics, the second is all about shifting your technology.
The seven key steps to your successful office move strategy
Planning and preparation is everything
You’ve heard the cliché ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ But as with every other business activity, planning and preparation are fundamental to the success of your relocation.
Once you know your moving date (pick a Friday, then you get all weekend to settle in), work backwards from that to create a time/activity schedule leading up to the big day. Finally allocate a budget to each key step of the process. This will enable you to identify and correct any budget or time overruns, and make informed decisions.
Talk to your team
None of us like change, so employee engagement is crucial to a successful move. Get your people on side early, keep them up-to-date as your plans progress, give them a conduit for feedback and bright ideas and let them know key dates and timelines. The latter point is vital because some of your staff may have to make plans of their own, with regard to their commute or childcare, for example.
Keep them in the loop with important pre-move information, such as any new processes, procedures or rules at the new building. Don’t forget simple but important stuff, from the new address and phone number to parking arrangements.
Create a plan for each floor and office in the new place, markyou’re your furniture and equipment and where each item will go accordingly and then have everyone create their own moving checklist to ensure all essential items and areas are covered.
Clear communication can be a real morale booster: it will help to foster a feeling of anticipation, excitement and ownership in your team.
Pick a project manager
While every office move is a team effort, appoint a project manager from your senior team to take overall responsibility for your move. They can then facilitate the various aspects of your office relocation to increase your chances of success.
Your chosen team leader should ideally be from a project management background, be widely respected and have exceptional multi-tasking organisational and communication skills as well as budgetary experience. You also need to give them whatever tools they need to do the job.
Protect your data
Whether it’s held digitally or on paper, an office move is a prime time to lose information – from bits of your tech being damaged to files going missing. Therefore, it’s vital to back up your data and protect your paperwork from loss, breach, theft or carelessness when moving.
Carefully protect everything from your IT infrastructure to your IP and confidential customer information. If your technology is Cloud-based you’ve got an immediate advantage here, plus it gives you compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
(We talk more about your technology during your move a little later in this article.)
De-clutter and deep clean
We started this article by saying how office relocation is a major cause of stress. Well, all the research suggests that ‘clutter’ is another one.
So don’t move with anything you don’t need. This is a golden opportunity for a proper spring clean no matter what time of the year you’re relocating.
Remove old files, shred unnecessary papers, dispose of old furniture and sell or donate obsolete equipment. However, check and double check that you only dispose of the right data, equipment and paperwork. There are, for example, legal requirements regarding the length of time you should keep company records. If you’re in any doubt, seek professional advice before dumping.
And while your checking with your financial team about the keeping of accounts paperwork, ask them about the writing-off donated items for tax purposes.
Finally, be certain to destroy effectively all data still on any item of technology you’re planning to give away, sell or otherwise dispose of. See this blog post we recently published on destroying data (link to recent article).
This is not a do-it-yourself (DIY) job
Even if you run quite a small business and have all the overheads that come with a London office, going the DIY route to save money is a false economy. Hire a professional commercial moving company as they’re essential to facilitating a smooth, stress-free office relocation.
Moving companies have the knowledge, experience, expertise, and resources needed to make your move as fast and easy as they can. They don’t just provide brawn, they provide relocation brains too, they’ve seen and done it all many times.
They can provide packing and unpacking services at each end of your journey to ensure your business items are transferred safely, identify and deal with your unique business requirements and help you draft a suitably costed moving plan.
Just be sure to opt for a company that is well established, certified, fully insured and has earned good, independent reviews online and off.
Let everyone know your new address
Let your suppliers, partners and customers know when you are relocating, where to and when normal business will resume.
Be sure to update everything with your address on it, from business cards, website, van sides, marcoms materials and letterheads to social media sites. Additionally, contact Google to have your address and online listing changed a month from the date of your relocation.
The five key steps to safely moving your IT when moving your business
Moving your whole IT operation across London to a new location can be a daunting task. Much depends on your set up but everything from hardware, peripherals, network, cabling and Internet connectivity to phone and business systems all need to be taken into consideration.
Think logically, devise a systematic approach, review your assets and plan your move and roll out long BEFORE you start unplugging cables and filling up boxes. Establish time scales, budgets and logistics.
Once you’ve got an address and your moving date, work backwards from that to establish a time-frame and schedule for your office move. It makes sense to have your IT infrastructure in place before your workforce arrives.
Make a detailed blueprint of your new office space that shows workstations, offices, conference facilities and fixtures. Compare this with your existing set-up. Once you have a sense of the scale of the task (such as new cabling ports), you can start to allocate budgets for the relocation.
Compiling an inventory of your current IT assets is crucial, so you can decide whether they’re fit for purpose and there’s enough of them. Determine what you’ll need at the new place and where you’ll need it, which is particularly important from a cabling point of view and prevailing industry standards. Make sure you can accomplish any IT acquisitions and upgrades in tandem with the move.
Put the safety and security of your data first
As we said above, an office move is the perfect place for data – whether held digitally or on paper – to go missing through loss, damage or accidental disposal. You have to carefully consider your cybersecurity before, during and after your move.
Much will depend on your IT set-up and factors that range from whether your assets are Cloud-based to whether you have an in-house IT department or a remote IT support team
No matter how your IT works you should ensure your business critical data is thoroughly backed-up to storage devices, the Cloud or some other remote solution (preferably all three, to be on the safe side) before you move.
If you have your own IT set-up, at the very least make sure your new offices cover your existing physical security needs. This should include, for example, locked server rooms, entry systems and suitable physical security measures. Basically, be sure your technology can be secured before you move your valuable IT resources into your new home.
If you have a managed IT services provider partner, get them involved in your move early and adjust your Service Level Agreement (SLA) to reflect any changes your relocation brings about. Generally, an experienced and expert MSP team can be very helpful before, during and after your move.
Installation for a smooth transition
As part of your planning and preparation process, make sure every cable, box, screen and other pieces of equipment is labeled, accounted for and carefully packed to make their unpacking and installation rapid and simple. This level of detail will pay dividends when you get into your new office.
Again, in line with your plan, install in the logical order you’ve detailed. Start with your server room and then work your way room-by-room, floor-by-floor, methodically installing each cable and piece of equipment. Once finished, you should be able to verify all the cabling, equipment, phones and so on are in the right place.
It makes sense to integrate your IT infrastructure installation with the arrival of your office furniture, so you can put each office together in a way that’s coordinated, fast and easy.
As we said earlier, your office move’s not a DIY job. It needs professional, experienced and expert assistance. No where is that more important than when it comes to your technology, which requires special packaging, handling, transporting, unpacking, positioning and protection, particularly in transit.
Implementation and checking
When everything is installed, test and check it all, including:
- Your infrastructure from various points in your network
- Cabling connections in every office and on every floor
- Wi-Fi to ensure it’s available everywhere it needs to be
- Installation of you cybersecurity and firewalls
- Network connections to ensure everybody has access to Intranet and Internet
- Telecoms to make sure every phone works, so that anybody who has an IT problem can contact your in-house IT team or MSP
Although moving office can be challenging, it needn’t be the stress-fest you probably envisage. Plan the process, budget accordingly, communicate clearly with everyone who needs to know, back-up data and protect your paperwork, employ professional help and work though everything methodically. If you do, your transition to your new workspace should be smooth, seamless and hassle-free.
Help with your IT is at hand
We hope you’ve found your guide to a successful office move useful. While we’re not professional commercial movers, we are highly expert and experienced when it comes to managed IT support, services and security.
As such, we’ve become the go to IT support team for London, having earned two Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from Trustpilot and Google and a 98% client retention rate.
So why not have an informal, confidential and no obligation chat with us about your IT requirements before, during and after your move?