Detailed planning will help ensure a smooth office relocation.
By Diane Bashor
(Reprinted from KC SMall Business)
Whether you call it the "move," the "relocation" or the "migration," there are many opportunities and possible pitfalls ahead. Successfully relocating a company—including systems, files and furniture—takes a lot of detailed management.
A successful move needs to have a comprehensive plan. Someone within your organization must be accountable for implementing that plan, offering a single point of contact for each aspect of the move. This person should be your "move manager" for the process and should create a "move management team" made up of individuals familiar with information technology, human resources, facilities and outside vendors, including furniture providers, installers, cabling groups and movers.
It is important that your move manager oversees every detail and ensures that your company remains productive and profitable throughout the move.
You will need to select a number of vendors to accomplish your move. Each of these vendors will require a request for proposal (RFP) to get the most accurate quote. Creating a detailed RFP that includes every possible detail will create an equal playing field and give you an accurate comparison on the quote.
When selecting vendors, get references from other organizations that have been involved with a similar move. Never rely solely on a quote, and don’t automatically go with the cheapest price. A vendor should have done the same type of project before with similar square footage and scope of work.
Technology plays a significant role in every company's daily operation and profitability. The move manager also should focus on the company's technology needs. If you don’t have IT personnel on staff, consult with an IT company and have them be part of the move management team to make sure you have addressed all transport details, as well as getting the system back online in the new location.
Communication is crucial to a successful move. Employees all realize that there is a big move coming up, but they often don’t have the necessary details. This can create opportunities for misinformation. Department move coordinators should be assigned to be liaisons with the people in their areas. They will be vital in passing on information about the move process and will be the decision makers regarding department needs, such as locations of department files and seating assignments.
Another important tool is to have pre-move meetings to share information with all employees on what is expected of them in the packing of their offices, checking-out on move day and checking-in at their new location. As part of the communication process, be sure to notify suppliers and customers about your move. They need to know any phone number and address changes.
Part of the move process is to decide whether to re-use your existing furniture systems. It may seem that moving your existing furniture would be the best option, but that may not be the best decision. More often than not, purchasing new furniture system is less expensive than tearing down your existing system, moving it and rebuilding at your new location.
You should, however, consider re-using ancillary furniture, such as for conference rooms, break rooms and reception areas. If furniture is to be re-used, it should be inventoried and placed on a “from-to” spreadsheet for placement in your new location.
Developing an address system for each space gives the mover the information needed to properly place all boxes and furniture. Using location signage on move weekends helps to give more guidance to the move team, movers and employees upon arrival to the new office space.
A welcome desk will give employees a place to pick up an orientation manual on office and surrounding area amenities. Department move coordinators should be on site to direct employees to their offices, and move vendors should be available to correct any problems that have occurred through the move process.
Diane Bashor is president of FMExtension, Inc, a project and relocation management company. She can be reached at (913) 384-9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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