Office moves can be stressful and chaotic experiences if they are not planned properly. With good organisation and preparation, however, your office move can go smoothly and efficiently. Follow this comprehensive checklist covering all aspects of a business relocation to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

The Ultimate Office Move Checklist

What to Do in the Year Leading Up to the Move

When you know you will be moving offices in the next 6-12 months, there are several things you can do to prepare and make the transition easier:

  • Search for a new location: Begin scouting potential new office spaces at least six months in advance. Consider the location, costs, size and layout.
  • Create a move budget: Estimate the costs for things like moving services, utility switchovers, new furniture and renovations. Get quotes from vendors and moving companies.
  • Plan your move timeline: Create a detailed timeline of all tasks leading up to move day. Allocate sufficient time for packing, movers, IT setup, etc.
  • Develop a communication plan: Determine how you will keep employees, clients and vendors informed before, during and after the move.
  • Purge and organise: Reduce clutter by purging old equipment, furniture and files. Organise records and inventory assets.
  • Order supplies: Stock up on boxes, labels, packing supplies and any new office furnishings and equipment needed.
  • Address renewals/cancellations: Review existing contracts and services to see what needs renewing or cancelling at the old and new offices.
  • Transfer phone/internet: Research providers and arrange installation and service transfer dates for the new office.

Things to Do One Month Before the Move

One month out from move day, it's time to kick preparations into high gear:

  • Confirm with the moving company: Book a reputable commercial moving company and confirm the details, like number of movers, lorry size, etc.
  • Plan parking and logistics: Determine parking areas for moving lorries and vans. Create a layout for furniture placement and equipment setup at the new office.
  • Order keys: Work with building management to order new keys and security passes for employees.
  • Change office address: Notify the post office, vendors, utilities, clients, etc. of your new address. Order signage and new printed materials.
  • Pack non-essentials: Get a head start on packing items that are not in daily use, like books, decorations and extra supplies.
  • Label furniture: Label office furniture with the new location or "Do Not Move" as needed. Take inventory.
  • Plan employee needs: Consider hotel rooms and transportation for relocating employees if necessary. Order welcome snacks and supplies for move-in day.
  • Create a floor plan: Develop a floor plan showing where everything will go in the new office. Share this with movers and employees.

Keeping Costs Low

An office relocation can get expensive, but there are ways to control the costs:

  • Compare bids from at least three different commercial movers. Ask about discounts for off-peak days/times.
  • Consider negotiating your renewal rates at your current location before deciding to move.
  • If possible, move at a time that allows you to avoid paying rent at two locations at once.
  • Reduce what you move by purging unused inventory and selling old furnishings.
  • Use your employees to pack and unpack non-fragile items like books and files.
  • Choose energy efficient office equipment to save on utility costs.
  • Avoid expensive build outs by selecting "move in ready" space needing minimal renovations.
  • Buy gently used office furniture from liquidators instead of new furnishings.
  • Select a conveniently located office to reduce employee transportation costs.

Communicating with Employees

Keep employees informed and engaged throughout the office relocation process:

  • Announce the upcoming move and timeline as early as possible. Be transparent about the reasons for the move.
  • Involve employees in decisions like space planning and desk/office setups.
  • Provide frequent updates on preparations and what to expect pre-move, during the move and post-move.
  • Be clear about any schedule changes, work hours and time off during the move.
  • Share the floor plans and photos of the new office in advance to build excitement.
  • Answer any employee questions and concerns about the relocation.
  • If possible, allow employees to visit the new office location prior to move-in.
  • Post reminders about proper packing techniques and labelling procedures.
  • Send a survey after the move asking for employee feedback on the process.

Timing it Properly

Carefully timing all aspects of your office relocation can prevent headaches:

  • Move off-peak if possible, avoiding month's end and the middle of the week.
  • Schedule movers on a Friday so unpacking can continue through the weekend if needed.
  • Allot time for movers to disassemble and reassemble large furniture as required.
  • Ensure all utilities are connected before the scheduled move-in date with no gaps in service.
  • Send change of address notices to arrive after departure from the old office but prior to occupying the new office.
  • Transfer phone and internet services so that lapses in connectivity are minimised.
  • Allow for potential delays and complications beyond your control like traffic or slow security clearance.
  • Have a contingency plan if the move needs to happen in stages over a weekend or consecutive days.
  • Build in buffer days around the move for inevitable adjustments and unexpected issues.

Packing and Labelling

Organised packing and clear labelling will make unpacking much easier:

  • Use colour-coded labels to designate room locations and contents. Number the boxes.
  • Pack one room at a time completing all labelling before moving to the next area.
  • Seal boxes securely with packing tape and mark arrows pointing up.
  • Pack heavy items in small boxes and lighter items in larger boxes.
  • Fill empty spaces in boxes with packing materials to prevent shifting.
  • Clearly mark boxes with fragile contents like “GLASS” or “FRAGILE”.
  • Pack items that will be needed first in separate “Open Me First” boxes.
  • Create a corresponding list detailing contents of each box and where it should go.
  • Pack work tools and supplies employees will need on move day separately.
  • Dismantle and pack any furniture being moved piece by piece.

Disconnecting and Reconnecting IT Equipment

IT relocation requires advance planning and skilled technicians:

  • Document network/server configuration and all user connections prior to the move.
  • Engage a network vendor or IT consultant to assist with the move if needed.
  • Back up all data offsite before disconnecting the old office network.
  • Label all cables and equipment and photograph setups for easy reassembly.
  • Carefully pack servers, computers, printers into dedicated IT equipment boxes.
  • Unplug all hardware in a proper power down sequence the day before the move.
  • Schedule necessary network, phone and internet installation dates at new building in advance.
  • Allow sufficient time in your timeline for configuring the network and workstations at the new office.
  • Test connections thoroughly before your go-live date to troubleshoot issues.

Securing the Old Building

Don’t forget to also follow procedures to secure your former office space after moving out:

  • Transfer the alarm and other security systems to the building owner/manager or cancel the service.
  • Ensure all physical keys and access cards are returned and make sure you get written confirmation.
  • Remove all signage and company identification from the exterior of the building.
  • Perform a thorough walk-through, checking all rooms for any remaining property.
  • Take photos documenting vacant space for record-keeping purposes.
  • Clean out the staff kitchen, removing all food, appliances and supplies.
  • Clear out temporary furniture, rubbish and unwanted items from the space.
  • Confirm final utility meter readings and transfer the accounts to the landlord.
  • Redirect mail to the new office address if necessary.
  • Advise the building owner/manager in writing once the space is fully vacated.

Establishing a New Office Setup

Your new workspace should be 100% ready on day one for employees. Here’s what you can do:

  • Place furniture according to the floor plans provided to the movers.
  • Fully set up technology – computers, servers, networks, phones, etc.
  • Verify that the utilities are connected and operating properly.
  • Conduct inspections ensuring that safety systems like the fire alarms work.
  • Stock kitchens and restrooms with all needed supplies.
  • Secure building access and assign employee key cards/codes.
  • Post floor maps and contact lists for staff reference.
  • Provide new branded materials like letterheaded paper and business cards.
  • Welcome employees on their arrival and provide orientation tours.
  • Offer refreshments and snacks to energise staff after the move.
  • Remain flexible during the transition period to address questions and issues.

Getting Vendors and Clients on Board

It's important to ensure vendors and clients are fully aware of your office relocation:

  • Formally advise all key vendors and clients of the upcoming move details.
  • Put a notification banner about the move on your website and emails.
  • Request vendors update your office address in their billing and shipping systems.
  • Verify that clients have your new address for sending correspondence.
  • For frequent delivery vendors, provide information on new receiving protocols.
  • Introduce vendors who will regularly access your office to security and logistics.
  • Notify vendors of any changes in contacts or procedures resulting from the move.
  • Inform clients of any temporary disruptions to work or availability during the relocation period.

Remember to be Flexible and Patient

No matter how carefully an office relocation is planned, there are bound to be some unexpected bumps in the road. Try to stay flexible and patient:

  • Expect that small issues and delays will likely crop up and go with the flow.
  • Be understanding if employees are frustrated by the disruptions involved with moving.
  • Be prepared to problem-solve on the spot if needed as challenges emerge.
  • Don't overreact if the timeline gets pushed back or minor details get overlooked.
  • Appoint a move coordinator to handle any last-minute questions or problems.
  • Take a deep breath and keep perspective if tensions run high during this stressful period.
  • Maintain a sense of humour and positive attitude to ease the anxieties of staff.
  • Expect a period of adjustment as everyone settles into new workflows and spaces.
  • Celebrate maintaining productivity despite the organisation being in upheaval.

Documenting the Move

It's a good idea to document your office relocation for records and future use:

  • Take extensive photos before, during and after the move - highlight empty old office, movers packing and loading, furniture in new space, etc.
  • Record video walkthroughs of the new office to capture setup details.
  • Create a folder to store all supplier invoices, contracts and critical documentation.
  • Write up a summary of the entire relocation process highlighting successes, challenges and recommendations.
  • Gather feedback from employees on their move experience through a survey or discussion.
  • Note any office configuration or inventory changes from old to new in your asset management system.
  • Maintain a master issues and corrections log throughout the move and transition.
  • Consolidate all manuals, warranties and instructions for new equipment, furniture and systems.
  • Archive floor plans, communications, photos and other move documentation.

Thorough documentation preserves institutional knowledge and provides useful reference material when it's time for your next office relocation.

Consider an Office Warming Party

Once the move is complete, an office warming party is a great way to bring employees together:

  • Ask employees to bring their own dish or have food and beverages catered.
  • Hold the party at the end of the first week or month in the new office.
  • Ask employees to give tours of the new office and their workstations.
  • Pin up a large map or floor plan and have everyone mark where they sit.
  • Play some upbeat music to liven up the atmosphere.
  • Consider office warming gifts like branded water bottles or notebooks.
  • Ask the CEO or manager to give a welcome speech and thank you to employees.
  • Take lots of photos of the event and new working environment.
  • Make time for casual mixing and socialising during the party.

An office warming celebrates this new chapter for your company and helps build team spirit after the disruptions involved in relocating.

Following this comprehensive office relocation checklist will enable your organisation to change offices with minimal disruption. Thorough planning and preparation will allow you to make moving day just another productive workday. Your employees will smoothly settle into their great new workplace.

Be flexible, maintain perspective and focus on open communication throughout the process. Document all details to preserve institutional knowledge. Celebrate with your team when it's done - an office warming party lets everyone socialise and mark this new chapter. Before you know it, your new space will feel like home.

Speak to our business relocation team today and let us support you every step of the way.

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