It’s finally over. After months, if not years, of planning your company’s office move is finished.
There’s a wealth of material online about steps you must take before and during an office move. More often than not, however, the days and weeks following the office move are overlooked, which can lead to unnecessary headaches and unforeseen costs.
Before discussing key office-wide priorities following the move, it’s first important to outline the myriad challenges facing tenants of new offices.
Managing a business always involves corresponding with and satisfying both internal and external constituents. But at no time is this more evident than the days immediately following an office move.
New tenants are in a rather precarious situation because although they are no longer contractually tied to their former leaseholder, they still typically have obligations that must be fulfilled. Usually this entails addressing any terms of the now expired lease that may have been overlooked in the complex office move process.
Office moves are also challenging for employees. From the outset employees will have a number of questions about the new facility such as the location of their new workspace and the overall layout of the new office building.
Businesses can’t afford to let office moves significantly impact their productivity, and that’s why it’s crucial for managers to hit the ground running as soon as the office move is complete.
Here are a few keys to success in the days following an office move.
1. Confirm Successful Termination of Previous Lease
We’ve written before about the hidden costs associated with an office move. Failing to adhere to specific guidelines listed in an office lease can lead to leaseholders charging you additional penalty fees once the move out process is complete.
Many of these costs can, however, be avoided by maintaining close contact with your company’s previous leaseholder in the days immediately following a move. Following up with the leaseholder at least two times to ensure all office decommissioning terms have been fulfilled can help your company avoid paying fees for failing to complete simple tasks such as thoroughly broom sweeping the office or removing all cabling.
One best practice is to confirm the termination in writing. Even if the leaseholder tells you over the phone the lease has been terminated, ask for them to email a verification for your own records.
2. Test Functionality of all Technology
Nothing can slow a business down more than technical difficulties. Modern office facilities are intricately wired and even the tiniest of mistakes in the installation process can lead to office-wide disruptions in service.
It’s therefore vital to identify any glitches and have them addressed immediately. Before employees arrive in the new facility have the IT team conduct multiple functionality tests and fix any identified errors.
Of course, there may still be technical issues the IT team didn’t identify while running the tests. Staff members should be made aware of this and instructed to immediately alert the IT team if they find any undiscovered glitches.
3. Examine all Unpacked Items
Office equipment and furniture are valuable to any business, and few if any can afford to have them repaired or replaced after a costly office relocation.
Many of these needless costs can be avoided by methodically inventorying all items before a move and then examining them for damage upon completion. A simple way of doing this is splitting your previous office into sections and having a designated employee inventory all of the furniture and equipment within that sector. You can then condense all of the items into a single document.
Later, once the move is over with, the same employees who recorded the furniture and equipment initially can ensure they arrived and are in good condition. If you discover any damage you should immediately alert the office moving company.
4. Broadcast New Location to External Constituents
It seems pretty simple: It’s hard to do business if people don’t know where your business is located. But the sheer number of people who need to be made aware of a company’s change in address can cause a great deal of confusion if it’s not effectively communicated.
First and foremost, make sure USPS redirects all mail to your new location. This is a simple process that can be completed through the organization’s website.
For everyone else, make sure you communicate far and wide. Contact suppliers directly if you haven’t already done so to alert them of the changes. If you have a marketing team or a public relations firm with whom you are partnered, have them issue a press release announcing the move. They can also use their email list to alert current customers and prospects of the changes in address and office phone numbers.
Finally, use all of the other free resources available to your company. Social media is arguably the most direct way to reach all of your potential customers. Post on all of your company’s pages to alert the public of the changes. You can then clear up any confusion by addressing comments on posts.
5. Convene with Staff
An office relocation can be difficult for a staff. There are usually a number of moving pieces occurring at once and it can be difficult to keep up.
Meeting with your staff as soon as they make the transition into the new office can help clear up many of the lingering concerns while simultaneously boosting their morale.
During this initial meeting it’s crucial to first convey all of the information staff members need to execute their job responsibilities in a safe and efficient manner. First, take your staff on a tour of the facility to help them familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
Then, outline all emergency plans, such as fire evacuation and active shooter procedures. Practice each of the procedures a few times until the staff feels comfortable at performing them in a timely manner.
Finally, perform a quick pulse check. Try to get an understanding of how the staff as a whole feels about the move and identify any areas that need to be addressed. This will show your staff you are sympathetic to their needs and willing to be flexible in light of a challenging situation.
Office relocations are never easy. It’s nearly impossible to anticipate all of the challenges that will arise. But through careful planning and sensitivity to the needs of a diverse workforce you can set the foundations for a successful tenure in a new location.