Moving offices can be a daunting, but energizing, undertaking. Planning is an integral part of success, as is hiring vendors that you trust to be there for you before, during, and after the move. During the transition, there are plenty of “wish we had done X earlier” moments that are realized too late. I recently came upon an article from a realty office in Colorado that outlined their own lessons learned. I wanted to share their lessons in the hopes of helping my clients who are considering relocation.
Excerpts from the Colorado Real Estate Journal article, “Sitting in the client’s seat: Lessons from our move”:
- An office move is a good time for a culture reboot. We encourage our clients to review their workspace needs and goals as leases come up for renewal or as market conditions change. Sometimes, as in our case, change is driven by both rapid expansion and the desire to promote morale, egalitarianism and enhanced collaboration among staff. Office considerations should value employee productivity, occupancy costs and market dynamics, as well as employee preferences and community presence.
- Assess your staff needs for the transition as early and often as possible. If your office staff size is relatively small, you can survey people by simply walking around or discuss real estate objectives and strategy in all-staff meetings. If your organization is larger, consider using focus groups and online survey tools to solicit your employees’ views on key factors such as location, office layout, dedicated or flexible workspaces, telecommuting, amenities, workflow and adjacencies, and formal and informal meeting space needs. Also, interview department heads and heads of your corporate services departments, such as human resources, information technology, finance and facilities.
- Make the best of the interim situation, as long as it’s temporary. It’s often necessary to rent temporary space while you weigh your options. Fortunately, we had some vacant space adjacent to our offices and a good relationship with our landlord. We were able to remove a wall and connect to the vacant space, into which we brought temporary workstations. The modest temporary space produced close collaboration and a startup company feel, which was motivational for the team, forging a new camaraderie. Working in the unfinished space also freed us up to think more creatively about our needs for the new office. We discovered we really didn’t need a formal reception area, and instead added more informal collaboration space that also can be used for client events and other entertaining opportunities.
- Consider additional transition service needs before committing to a relocation. We always recommend incorporating workplace design and project management advisers from the beginning of the process and following input from employees and independent advisers. These are important services with time and cost considerations that should be factored in before signing a lease. We gave ourselves a little over 90 days for a pretty aggressive build out timeline. It can easily take 120 days or more, and we often advise clients to plan for delays due to furniture or contractor lead times and to work closely with a project management team if able. In addition, in the Denver metro area permitting is becoming an extremely lengthy process. In some submarkets it is taking as long as 16 weeks to secure a permit. Chances are, your workspace and technology needs have changed since the last time you moved, so it’s valuable to bring in workplace strategy experts to help you assess your operations and workforce needs. It’s important to solicit design bids from a wide range of architects, rather than settling on the recommendation of the landlord.
Great Lakes Computer Corporation Offers Office IT Relocation ServicesOffice moves are a big job, but they can be a great way to energize your business and your team. The key to success is in careful planning and extensive vetting of your vendors. Moving your IT is one of the most critical tasks. You need to minimize downtime to prevent any impact on your business or customer experience. You also need to ensure your new location has the ideal IT setup to help you continue to grow.Great Lakes Computer Corporation provides office IT relocation services. We will backup your data, pack up your equipment, move it to the new location, unpack it and get you up and running quickly. We will be on-site to troubleshoot any hiccups that arise at the new location as well. Great Lakes can help you see the upside of moving.