An FM's Guide to Planning a Big Move

Manage your next challenging move with this useful guide for facility managers.

Managing a big move is a project with many moving parts. It can be easy to lose sight of tasks and become overwhelmed. Using a checklist will keep you focused and reduce the possibility of missing anything important. To ensure that furniture, software and people are transitioned smoothly and efficiently, consider these steps before and during a big move. 

Internal communication

Have a plan

Having a well-established communication plan for a big move helps avoid issues like missing equipment and service interruptions for staff. Be sure to establish clear move dates and procedures for packing or moving items. Make plans for transporting sensitive equipment you have, like computer monitors, office art and glassware.

Manage requests

Large moves often come with unexpected challenges and changes to the plan. Your plan should involve a fast and intuitive request system in case your move team needs more time or equipment to complete tasks. Having this in place will ensure employees can communicate what they need before the move, and can help avoid headaches if issues arise during a move. If you are bringing on any new staff members during this time, be sure to get them up to speed on any new processes or protocols that will take place during the move and at the new office.

Update office information

Changes to information like your alarm codes and wifi passwords should be communicated to staff before the move. Doing this effectively reduces confusion and wasted time when your teams are unpacking and setting up in the new space.

Consider departmental needs

Addressing specific teams’ needs in your new floor plan will help you to get the most benefits from your move. Teams like sales, for example, may need clear access to meeting rooms while development teams need quieter areas to focus. Use space management software to map out your new space and ensure your setup is optimized for people's needs. You can also use a scenario planning tool to create various floor plan options and run reports against these scenarios. This can help you gain insight into how your space will be used and how it can grow with your business.

External communication

Contact your clients

Clients should be informed of your move well in advance to avoid scheduling errors or missed appointments. You will likely need to rely on different departments to do this individually, and provide them with information like new phone numbers, addresses and mailing information.

Update marketing and communication materials

Be sure to update the company's website and marketing materials like brochures and business cards. It is important to keep key stakeholders like clients and partners up-to-date with contact information.

Culture and hiring

Account for office culture

Your office can help reflect your company’s core values and culture. A big move is a good time to assess whether or not your design and layout reflect your company culture. Desk configurations, furniture materials and even office decorations (such as plants) can send different messages to your clients and guests. Take the time to figure out how your new space can make your business goals and values more clear.

Design for different personalities

Your office design should reflect your current and future team's needs for flexibility. Different departments will have varied work styles and combinations of introverts and extroverts. The office should be able to accommodate those who do collaborative work as well as those who need isolated spaces. Acoustic design, sound blockers and team workspaces are just a few considerations that can help create a productive workspace.

Planning ahead

Establish logistics

Good logistics planning is the foundation of any good office move—big or small. Your logistics plan should include a realistic time frame, resource requirements and staff assignments for the move. Creating a specific packing order (e.g. packing up large furniture items first and your wifi routers last) can also help save time during the unpacking phase. You can use resource tracking tools to account for the location of specific materials that will be making the move, like critical medical equipment or large office supplies. Once settled into the new space, ensure that employees can locate all of the resources they need with a visual directory.

Whether you’re moving down the street or to a new city, be sure to book moving trucks well in advance, and have permission to move furniture items in elevators. It's also important to consider regulations around fire safety, parking permits and inspection dates.

Fine tune the details

Try to account for smaller details that are easily missed when planning a move. Things like stocking the kitchen and bathrooms during the move may seem small, but they can have a strong impact on making your team comfortable in their new space.

Major moves are never easy. There are always new challenges that come up even with diligent planning. Consulting this checklist can ensure you don't miss major high level goals when going through your move process.

Find out more about how OfficeSpace software can help you plan your next big move.

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Photo: Shutterstock / Sergey Nivens