Congratulations – you’ve found your new premises! Perhaps your business is moving to purpose-built offices, or maybe you’ve finally negotiated great lease terms on that site you’ve had your eye on in the fancy new business park. Either way, you’re no doubt looking forward to getting settled in.
Few organisations have the luxury of suspending their practices while a move is completed, although it may be business as usual at your workplace, someone, somewhere will be tasked with co-ordinating the move. And if this is you, you’ll need to gather your resources and get stuck in, because planning is everything!
Luckily, phs Teacrate is here to help with our checklist for the perfect business move. Whatever the size of your project, you’ll need to follow all of these steps to a greater or lesser extent. Keep your eyes on your goal for a seamless transition. You. Can. Do. This.
Whether you’re moving a school, a business, a charitable organisation or public sector workplace, here are the key steps that will apply:
1. Gather Your Team
Depending on the size of your office, you might be able to handle the removals planning single-handedly. However, unless you have extensive knowledge of all the functions within your offices you’ll need to nominate a designated leader in each department. It really is a team effort.
These team members from various key parts of the business – for example, IT, admin and warehousing – will be able to advise on what can be packed for removal in advance of moving day and which vital equipment needs to be left until the last minute so it’s available immediately before and after the move.
Members from other departments can also help the move go smoothly. HR, for example, can engage with staff to re-assure and inform them of dates and locations, and perhaps provide a tour of the new site to whip up excitement. They’ll also need to provide employees with details of any required changes in travel arrangements or day-to-day requirements, such as where they can buy their lunchtime sandwich, which are all of concern when a workplace routine is interrupted.
Your marketing department will also need to be on board to communicate the new address to clients and suppliers. Whatever the reason for the move they’ll surely have a positive spin to shout about – new facilities, greater capacity, more streamlined, etc, etc.
With all the best will in the world, moving an organisation is a big job and you’ll more than likely need some help from external suppliers. So, surround yourself with knowledgeable and capable people to help keep the project on track.
2. Begin at the End
Set the deadline and work backwards. The moving date may be the day when you complete on the sale of the new premises; the building or refurbishment work is completed; or the lease runs out on your current property.
Armed with the information that you’ve gained from your department champions, you’ll know whether this will be a phased move or if everyone can move on the same date. Use their information to plan how much preparation time is required to ensure that all items are packed and ready to go on moving day(s). When moving a museum or library, for example, artefacts can be packed months in advance.
With most organisations, the reliance on IT systems and telecoms mean that technology is likely to be the last things packed and the first things unpacked at your business’ new home.
Only move what you need to. If you’re downsizing or moving to a furnished space, make sure that you’ve arranged for surplus furniture or equipment to be sold on or donated to charity. It’s also a perfect opportunity to get rid of any items that are broken or out of date, as well as a time to consider archiving paperwork.
Once the moving deadline is confirmed, you can build your schedule. Go crazy with the highlighter pens, and share it with anyone and everyone involved.
3. Bolster Up
A confirmed move date means that you can now make solid plans with external suppliers – removal specialists, crate suppliers and fitters. You’ll have already scoped these out following the feedback you’ve received from your department champions – we told you this was a team game!
Remember to ask for testimonials and case studies from past clients. When working to a tight timetable, you can’t afford for anything less than the most professional and reliable service. Get at least three quotes, weigh up the pros and cons, and if one supplier includes an additional service, don’t be afraid to go to the others and ask them to re-quote to include this (if they can).
Ensure that you have the right tools for the job by using specialised crates and trolleys from a reliable supplier such as phs Teacrate. We can deliver sturdy, lidded plastic crates in a variety of sizes with as little as 24 hours’ notice, along with sack barrows, stair climbers or skates. Our range also includes specialised items, such as library trolleys and computer crates to ensure that all property can be safely transported.
National coverage allows phs Teacrate to collect crates and equipment from your new site whenever is convenient, so you won’t be tripping over storage boxes for weeks after your move. We’re also a member of the British Association of Removers and a popular supplier of rental crates to the removals industry, so your external removal team is likely to also be familiar with our products.
Your moving partners need be no different from your organisation’s other suppliers in that they should fulfil requirements regarding financial background, Health & Safety and green credentials. Your project will only be as secure as the supply chain that you’re using.
Sticking within budget is always going to be a challenge but remember that cutting corners could cost you in the long run. Using your own colleagues instead of a professional removals firm could get you in trouble with your Health & Safety Manager, while using inadequate packing and handling equipment could damage your business’ assets, as well as the people tasked with moving them.
If you think that there might be any access issues for removal trucks, you should contact the local council(s) in good time. They should be able to advise on how you can confirm easy entry and/or exit without annoying your neighbours.
4. Keep in Touch
On the day of the move, ensure that everyone involved has a (charged) mobile phone and a list of key contact numbers. A copy of the moving day schedule will come in handy here too so that everyone knows who and what needs to be where and when.
It’ll help to have all of your removal crates clearly labelled with contents and destination (especially if there are several rooms within your new premises). Even better, and to lessen some of the stress wondering whether items have arrived safely, you could take advantage of phs Teacrate’s barcoded crate system.
Monitored by an application downloaded onto your smartphone, you’ll receive notifications as and when each crate arrives at its destination, providing visibility of where any crate is located and reassuring peace of mind.
As soon as you can, you should notify all key customers and suppliers that it will be business as usual or, if you need to suspend your operations, that there will be a period of downtime. If the latter is the case, give relevant contacts plenty of notice in case they need to make alternative arrangements, for example, delivering/collecting an order on another day of the week.
Set up a mail re-direct at the post office, effective as soon as you move. If you can, also have a chat to the new owners or tenants of your old premises to see if it’s ok for someone to pop by occasionally to collect any mail they receive for you.
Notify your organisation’s bank, insurance, Companies House (if necessary) and any professional bodies to which your office is affiliated. Utility suppliers should be able to advise you of how to perform a hand over at both your new and old sites regarding meter readings and billing.
5. Co-ordinate, Co-ordinate, Co-ordinate
We know that once you have your keys, it’s tempting to try to move in all at once. WAIT! Remember that schedule?
There’s no point in bussing in your new furniture, for example, while the carpet fitter is still on site. Or trying to unload boxes and boxes of files to the top floor office while the IT department has the lift tied up with computer screens and photocopiers. Trades are used to working around other suppliers but if any area is out of bounds, you may find that things end up where they aren’t meant to be.
If crates HAVE to be left in one area for later unpacking, ensure that the designated zone is away from the thoroughfare of other traffic and you know what is in these crates in case they are being sought out by other personnel. Again, a barcoding system will help here.
A floor plan of your new office is vital at this point. It will allow you to direct personnel and keep track of your crates. It’ll also let office staff know who goes where, and with what. You’ll have already planned out the space and know the intended location of furniture and equipment, whether it’s delivered new or is moving with your business.
Confirm that everyone knows to stick to the timetable and to inform you immediately of any change or delay. Make sure timings are realistic, even if it means that you’ve run the route a couple of times and had suppliers check and re-check how long their contribution will take.
If you’ve done your job right, everything will run to plan and your biggest worry on the day will be providing refreshments for the workers. Which reminds us, don’t forget to pack the kettle and teabags!
6. Tie Up Loose Ends
Issue a key or access card to everyone who needs it, along with an outline of safety procedures, once again the responsibility of the Health & Safety Manager. Ensure all staff have the necessary equipment and paperwork to carry out their job, especially if clients are expecting business as usual.
Photograph your new office on arrival to ensure everything is as your landlord or vendor promised. Report any anomalies immediately. Don’t forget that you’ll have to arrange reparations on your old office, if required to do so under the sale or lease agreement. And after the move has been completed, check both premises again for damage that could have been caused by the removals company, who should be responsible for any repairs.
It’s amazing what turns up behind a stack of boxes that were packed weeks ago, so have a last look around your old premises and rescue any orphaned items. Find them a home in your new premises or keep them as a souvenir of a job well done!
That’s it, pat yourself (and your team) on the back! If ever you deserved a launch party, it’s now. Invite staff to boost their morale, and to thank them for their patience and assistance. You could also invite organisations from the same building or business park, after all, they’ll be your neighbours for a while…
If you have an office move on the horizon, get in touch with phs Teacrate to see how we can supply a great range of packing crates to help you achieve a perfect move.