Moving office can be a stressful process, but with proper planning and the right assistance a smooth transition can be achieved.
Because Office Managers will sometimes have responsibility for this, it’s important that support and advice is available. Bureau Group, New Business Manager, Emma Hatfield, joined a Q&A session on The Office Management Portal. Find out what Office Managers want to know about office moves and how Bureau Move can help.
Can you please share, how best to start planning an office move project? What are the first few steps and what might need to be considered early on?
Firstly, start planning well in advance, and in a lot of cases earlier than you would think! For mid to larger sized companies, we would suggest giving yourself at least a year, although this is dependent on the type of office space you are looking for. The first key considerations are getting a handle on budgets, and your team of specialists - key contacts that are going to support you with the project. This can include everyone from commercial agents, project managers (for mid to large scale companies), interior designers, move management, design and build and furniture specialists.
I have an office move coming mid-March, what would you say are the biggest challenges or areas missed with offices moves particularly from the office manager's side?
The most common challenge is timescale.... it can be super problematic if you don't allow yourself enough time. If you’relooking at a traditional lease you need to allow yourself far longer to find your new space compared to moving into a service office/managed space for example. Timescales can also impact the designing of the space - allowing enough time to think about how you want to use the space, appointing a designer (depending on company size), through to completing the necessary CAT A and CAT B fit outs.
In terms of areas missed, I would say a lot of companies tend to focus on 'the new' (understandably!) so also make sure you dedicate some time thinking about 'the old'. For example, if you are purchasing new office furniture, what is your action plan for the items that you don't want to take with you? Rather than sending assets to landfill, there are lots of environmentally friendly solutions available - including re-sale - if you allow yourself enough time to look into options.
Finally, in my experience I find that office managers play different roles within an office move project, depending on team structure and size of the company. I think it’s important early on to establish exactly where your role starts and ends, and which team members will support you. If for example your company is expecting you to manage the move independently, allow yourself much more time and manage expectation in terms of the workload.
When moving into a serviced building out of a regular office, could you suggest best ways to vacate?
I would recommend you get in touch with a commercial move management company to assist with this. They'll be able to come in and ensure everything is moved safely and smoothly. I would also double check your lease to understand exactly what condition the landlord is expecting the space to be left in. If you're not taking your furniture with you, I would also suggest you look into your options in terms of disposing them. There are lots of ethical routes you can consider like re-sale, donating to charity and recycling etc. We can provide those services through Bureau Move.
How can we best deal with filing and physical paperwork and trying to get this down before a move, any tips?
Again, I would say the key to getting this right is timing! I would suggest around a month before the move itself you ask employees to start clearing their paperwork and store them safety away in folders so they can be easily packed away. Any personal items I would recommend are taken home. I'm aware of lot of businesses now have 'paperless' policies, but depending on how your company operates I would encourage staff to clear out as much as possible so unnecessary items aren't brought to your new home - have shredders set up so that any sensitive information can be disposed of quickly and safely. I've known office managers to set limits of what can be brought across in extreme cases where the volume of paperwork is high!
What agencies are important to notify of your office move?
As far as I'm aware you don't need to notify any agencies of that nature - most offices are registered when you pay your rates - in the same way council tax works. There may be certain businesses / industries that work differently though, and the commercial agent you have worked with to find your new space will be able to advise if that is the case.
Could you recommend an office move checklist to keep the move process on track?
Our Ultimate Office Move Management Checklist with you all - we've put this together to help create a guide / timeline to follow, whilst also helping you to think about sustainability along the way.