Companies choose to relocate for many reasons. Rising overheads, employee satisfaction, space, access to new networking opportunities and company expansion all play a role in the decision to move.
However, when it comes to the big move, you risk disrupting the day-to-day operations of the business and the routine of employees.
With that in mind, PACK & SEND looks at how companies can make a smooth transition to a new office and mitigate some of the potential pitfalls of office relocation.
As part of your moving plan, you should draw up a budget, so you know how much you have to spend on each aspect of the move and which spaces you can afford.
Your budget should consider:
- Legal fees – like hiring solicitors and contract negotiations for the tenancy
- Utility bills – assessing the monthly cost of the space plus bills
- Deposit and insurance
- New equipment costs
- Hiring a moving team and technical team to set-up furniture and equipment – it’s a lot more cost-effective to move and retain furniture and IT equipment than it is to replace it
When budgeting, be wary of hidden costs that are often overlooked when planning a move, like getting the premises surveyed, agents’ fees and insurance costs.
Location, location, location
Your priorities for an office location will differ depending on your business and employees. Key considerations will likely include internet speed, transport links, car parking availability, local services (like restaurants and shops) and accessibility.
You’ll also need to decide on any extras that are important to you, like whether you want a furnished or unfurnished office and if you’re after a city-center location or don’t mind being further out, to save on rent. If customization is what you’re looking for, you’ll need to check with the landlord to see which modifications you’re allowed to make.
Make a list of the key priorities for your new office and which aspects are optional – this will help with narrowing down options.
New locations also bring opportunities for networking and company growth. Moving into a city-center space puts you in range of a larger talent pool when it comes to hiring.
Take the time to research your new area, looking for local businesses you could connect with, either to grow your business by working together or who you could help you deliver a service.
Even if there’s no capacity to work together on projects, growing a network of likeminded professionals is still beneficial. They can act as a sounding board for new ideas, help with problem-solving and may end up unlocking doors with future connections.
Focusing on the employee
Office moves can have a significant impact on employees – disrupting their lives and daily routines – so sensitivity is key when transitioning. Be up-front and transparent when announcing the move, giving staff plenty of time to make new arrangements and letting them know you’re available to answer any questions about the move.
If the new office is in a different town or city, think about how you can make the move easier for existing employees. This may include introducing flexible working arrangements, remote working opportunities or subsidized travel to accommodate the new commute.
Employees want to feel valued and like they’re not an afterthought. A study by HAYS found 81 percent of employees would leave their current company if the right offer came in, so it’s important to make employee wellbeing a priority, to help you retain the brightest talent.
It may sound obvious, but moving office isn’t like packing for a holiday and shouldn’t be
left to the last minute. A full written plan should be put together weeks in advance, with all information on key moving dates and responsibilities for each employee.
You’ll also need to measure up any furniture you’re moving, so you can plan how many moving vehicles and employees you’ll need to assist the move.
Make sure any valuables like tech equipment are protected with padding and packed tightly in boxes. If you have any fragile or awkward items, consider bringing in a specialist to package them up, get them insured and sent to your new office, rather than loading them up in a van or attempting to transport them yourself.
Environmental concern among the public is at record levels, with a recent survey claiming it’s the ‘most important issue’ to the public.
With the spotlight firmly on businesses’ carbon footprints and green policies, it should be a key consideration when approaching an office move. It also gives businesses an opportunity to reap the rewards of brand reputation management, with more consumers looking for sustainability when comparing brands.
Access to the office by public transport may encourage employees to leave their cars at home and cut their emissions. Plus, looking for an office with natural lighting and a high energy-efficiency rating will also help save on energy consumption.
If going green is a high priority for your organization, look for buildings with a LEED certification. This is an indicator that the building has been built with efficiency and care towards material waste.
About the author: Mike Ryan, is Chief Executive, of PACK & SEND.