Moving business premises is always a daunting prospect! Whether upsizing or downsizing, the considerations are many and from the point when the decision is made that that’s what is called for to progress the business, a flood of thoughts from the large to the minutiae come to mind.
Whilst we cannot go too deeply into all of the considerations necessary to facilitate a smooth transition from one premises to another (we are assuming timescale and budget have already been established and new premises identified), we thought it may be useful to outline some of the key elements involved for any business to take into account when such a process is to be undertaken that may help in overcoming some of the common ‘pitfalls’.
The old saying that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ applies 100% to managing office relocation!
Considering the input of key staff members is an essential part of the process to ensure nothing is missed and key requirements are met for all areas of the business who are going to be operating from the new premises. However, if this ‘data’ is gleaned in an uncoordinated manner it will lead to an unfathomable amount of potentially conflicting information that will not lend itself to the promotion of a smooth transition and incisive decision making.
We would recommend appointing one member of staff responsible for coordinating the process: for the sake of argument we shall refer to them as the ‘relocation champion’. Dependent upon the size of the move/project, there may be other members of staff appointed to their team – in a large organisation with multiple specialisations, it makes sense to appoint someone from each specialisation to be on the team so no requirements are missed – but the project should be under the ultimate ownership/coordination of a ‘relocation champion’.
Define your objectives
So, you have your relocation team and ‘champion’ in place – what next?
It is quite easy to drift into a scattergun approach on a large project – lots of opinions canvassed on a myriad of issues (some relevant, some not) and not really arriving at anything that really addresses the important issues at hand. Of course, in terms of moving a company from one place to another, this can’t be allowed to happen – if, upon the physical relocation, one department finds they have no space allocated for them, or the warehouse isn’t large enough etc etc … then this can cause catastrophic problems for the running of the business!
So, a useful way to approach the process is to identify the key factors behind the move: what are the problems with the current premises and how are they, or how can they be, overcome by moving to the new premises?
This can also be a good way to ensure your staff feel ‘included’ as their opinions do matter and it is the staff who will know the details of why certain elements of their existing work-space are insufficient or hinders them in the execution of their roles. Furthermore, relocation causes disruption and if staff feel they are fully included in the process, and that their concerns are being addressed through the process, it reduces their stresses and ensures they are fully behind making things work.
Taking the above process as a template, it is then possible to shift the focus of the precise utilisation of the space in the new premises.
Space planning is quite a specialist task for which we’d recommend using an external source however, without getting too complex there are basic rules of thumb that can be used to estimate how many desks/workstations can be placed in a specific area, how many toilets are required for that number of staff etc etc that can help you arrive at reasonable idea of how you would wish to divide your new premises.
Also to consider are what style of organisational model fits with your business. For example, if cooperation and collaboration are key then open-plan and communal spaces must be factored-in to your plans, if your management structure requires private spaces, then partitioning and compartmentalising your new space will be required.
Office Interior Design
This may initially seem like a small consideration compared to some of the other elements involved in business relocation but is equally important!
The interior aesthetics of business premises are essential in terms of both giving a visual representation of the company to visiting clients and in terms of providing a suitable working environment for staff.
If you think it is an unimportant consideration, imagine prospective clients visiting your new offices and there being no carpet, just bare concrete … or, walls decorated in the colour scheme of the previous occupant. Additionally, certain colour schemes can create mood, promote productivity, make occupants feel uncomfortable, lazy, stressed etc etc: without specialist knowledge, this area can be a minefield!
At the very least your office interior should reflect your corporate branding/colour scheme and be finished to a high standard.
Outsource to Specialists
This might sound an obvious piece of advice but, due to budgetary concerns, you’d be surprised how many businesses attempt to do everything in-house when many of the tasks involved are highly specialised which can create many more issues down the line than it initially resolves. It’s not a sign of admitting defeat to call-in the experts but a sign of ensuring success!
Make a list of specialists you’ll need and add to it contacts at the relevant specialists – canvassing the recommendations of other companies you know who have used their services is essential. Some specialisms to consider would be:
- Commercial removals
- Data cabling
- Office furniture suppliers
- Office fitters
- Space planners
- Carpet fitters
Whilst the above list is far from exhaustive, engage such services as the above at the planning stage is highly recommended so they have their expert input into creating an overall plan that will lead to a smooth transition of premises.
We have covered some very basic considerations here and the above is a far from exhaustive run-through of what you will need to know and consider when business relocation is considered.
We would highly recommend consulting with relocation specialists – who in most instances – will either undertake the other specialist works, or coordinate with various contractors on your behalf, to ensure smooth running of the project. Furthermore, this approach gives peace of mind that the project is being run professionally by experts who know all the pitfalls and how to avoid them, whilst also giving you, the business owner, a single point of contact with whom to liaise.
That said, for the best results, always be inclusive of your staff’s input – their concerns, issues with current premises and requirements of a new one, are essential data for the decision making process.