Over the last few years, we’ve seen the demand for flexibility, productivity and a workplace that enhances company culture in a hybrid world force businesses of all sizes to reconsider their office plans – and for many that means relocating.
An office move brings with it not only the logistics of moving the business from A to B, but also stakeholder management, workplace strategy and business continuity plans that need to be considered long before the boxes and labels are out. With all this in mind, it’s unsurprising that the very thought of finding a new workplace has become synonymous with uncertainty and stress.
Thankfully, we’ve worked on our fair share of office moves – so if you’ve decided it’s time to relocate and you’re wondering where to start, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the complexities of relocating.
The following steps will assume you have already determined your business case for the move and identified your space requirements, but if that’s not the case and move-in day is still a way off, our Office Relocation Guide & Checklist details everything you need to know before you get started.
An office move should be planned approximately 12 months in advance for a 10,000 sq ft project. You can usually add or subtract six months per 5,000 sq ft. However, the scale of your project will typically determine how long it takes to plan, manage and complete your move.
The most important thing to do before moving office is to check the lease on your current space to help you understand your legal requirements and determine when it is you’re able to terminate. Most property leases last for 5-10 years, so make sure you check the following:
• When your current lease expires
• If there’s a break clause
• Required notice period
• How you’ll need to serve notice
By checking all of the above in relation to your existing space, you’ll be able to set a deadline for your relocation.
These are the major relocation project milestones with their approximate duration. For projects of a larger scope, these stages may take longer.
An office relocation will likely be one of the largest investments your business makes, and with all of the building-related costs, logistical fees and capital expenditure it can be very easy to run over budget.
Break your move down into the different cost categories and aim to get a range of quotes for each in order to draw up a detailed budget for the entire project. We would typically recommend five core categories for your potential expenditure:
• Building-related (e.g., rent, maintenance, dilapidations)
• Advisory fees (e.g., property agents, legal advice, audits)
• Capital expenditure (e.g., fit-out, IT infrastructure, furniture)
• Logistical fees (move management)
• Soft costs (e.g., insurances, staff training)
As a part of this step, you may want to explore cost savings to maximise the value and savings from the project. This could be different lease options, allowances (e.g., sustainability) or landlord contributions.
Office Space Calculator
Use our office space calculator to determine how much office space you should be looking for.
There are a lot of moving parts that come with an office move, and it will likely have a substantial impact on everyone in the business. To ensure the right decisions are being made and that everyone is working towards the best possible outcome, it’s helpful to define roles and set responsibilities for all key departments.
These departments will look different for every business, but as a starting point you’ll need to consider how each team will be impacted, the role they’ll need to play and who your key stakeholder is going to be.
Once you have your building, your design and construction teams will turn the empty shell of the interior into an operational space for your team. This transformation is where the majority of your costs will be spent, so it’s important to have the right team.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for the right partner to support your relocation:
• Do they work on a fixed and transparent budget?
• Do they offer workplace consultancy as part of the design?
• Do they guarantee on-time completion?
• Are they financially stable?
• Do they have examples of previous projects similar to yours?
• Do they have environmental credentials?
• Are they aware of the legal requirements of the project?
• Do they have health and safety experts?
Your IT relocation will be one of the most important things to get ahead of when planning your office move. Due to the timelines that come with installation, you’ll want to get started as early as possible and begin working with your internal or external project managers to ensure you’re able to have everything up and running from day one.
Your relocation plan should include (but not be limited to):
• A site visit of your new space to review requirements
• Contacting all providers ahead of your move
• An audit of all equipment and documents
• A business continuity plan
• Labelling everything (including cables, monitors and any AV accessories)
We’d usually recommend a soft launch ahead of move-in day, while having contingency plans to work remotely for key members of staff is also a good idea to act as a safety net for any initial complications.
Storage is often overlooked when it comes to an office move, which causes organisational issues further down the line. Whether it’s documents, housekeeping or personal storage you require, getting ahead before the move will boost efficiencies and improve the overall experience in your new space.
Look at how much you’re currently using and whether requirements might grow in the future. If you think you’re going to need more than you have available in your new space, consider external storage options for the items you won’t need day-to-day.
An office move is an exciting time for a business and its people, but a new location and environment can potentially cause anxiety and uncertainty among employees. To help mitigate that risk, it’s important to communicate relocation plans with the team once the project is underway. Not only does this aid in ensuring things move smoothly, but it provides the opportunity to engage your teams and find creative solutions to their departmental requirements.
In some instances, it’s the law to inform stakeholders about any direct changes involving your staff, so when communicating your move make sure to also consult any regulators, board members or parent/sister companies.
Move champions are an important piece of the relocation puzzle. In larger businesses, we would recommend selecting a champion from each department to help ease the natural burden that comes with the adaptation to your new office.
They can be troubleshooters for the rest of the business in the first few days, and support general introductions to the new space with office tours for different teams to help them familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.
With so much to manage on the day itself, there are a few things we would recommend doing to make the launch as smooth as possible.
• Give yourself enough time to pack – ask your movers to drop off boxes and crates a few days before to ensure everyone has enough time to pack personal items ahead of the day.
• Set up your redirects – ask every department to run through their list of suppliers and issue a friendly reminder a week before so that everything will be sent to your new office from day one.
• Label everything – if you’re relocating to a large space across multiple floors, we would recommend a format for your labels (such as name, team and floor).
There are several key reasons a business may be looking to relocate, but regardless of whether it’s a strategic change or a result of the economic landscape, a new space is an opportunity to transform your business and refresh processes, habits and productivity.
Planning your office move in as much detail as possible is the best way to ensure that your new space can start acting as a catalyst for positive change from day one.
A workplace move is an opportunity for huge positive change: find out how to best harness the potential of office relocation by utilising our time-tested tools, strategies, and checklists.Find Out More