Murphy’s Law is rarely more applicable than during the process of commercial relocation. No matter the degree of organization, experience & capability applied, things will go wrong. To help ensure that you’re still standing when the dust clears, we’ve put together 10 tips to help your manage the moving process from start to finish, drawn from our 50+ years’ collective experience helping businesses respond to growth, change & relocation.
1) Establish A Realistic Schedule
If you are advised that your office move schedule is unrealistic, revise early rather than waiting to revisit. When a company presses forward with an unrealistic schedule, it’s usually not until they get down to the wire that they realize it’s just not going to happen. They then have to go through the trouble of canceling and rescheduling, which confuses people and causes a big mess due to the sheer number of people who are affected by a move, including external vendors with their own schedules and lead times.
2) Create A Realistic Budget
Most companies grossly underestimate the cost of their move, in part because the average company doesn’t move more than every seven years or so. Also, cutting corners in the beginning leads to the need for costly remedies down the road. For example, companies sometimes decide to save money by having their employees handle the move. In the end, however, the damage from workman’s compensation issues that arise, not to mention the employee time wasted due to lack of knowledge, greatly outweighs the extra cost of hiring movers.
In one instance, a company hired a relocation coordinator to plan its move but tried to cut corners by not having the coordinator present on moving day. The company’s employees did not follow the coordinator’s directions on how to prepare the manufacturing room’s floor for the movers. The mistake ended up costing the company $20,000 more than was budgeted, while paying the relocation coordinator to be present would have cost the company only about $1,500.
3) Conduct Systems Testing
Make sure there has been proper testing of systems. Studies have shown that even 100 employees down for a half day can cost a company in excess of $50,000. Many things can go wrong with telecommunication and computer systems; you need to leave yourself plenty of time to thoroughly test your systems so this downtime doesn’t occur.
4) Hire Reputable Movers
Residential movers do not have the equipment or expertise to perform commercial office moves. While the biggest problem you usually hear about movers is damage to or misplacement of furniture and equipment, those aren’t the only problems you may encounter. A company might not schedule enough movers. You spend months and thousands of dollars making sure your move goes smoothly, then you don’t even have the manpower required to make it happen. Make sure your requirements are clearly laid out in your contract.
How many movers do you need? What kind of recourse is there if the moving company doesn’t provide you with the number of movers agreed upon? Will it provide a dependable supervisor? Does the moving company have adequate insurance for lost or damaged property? These things need to be spelled out in writing.
5) Ensure Site Preparation
Make sure your movers do proper site preparation. Carts, dollies and careless movers can damage your new floors and walls. If the space is newly renovated, you must lay masonite on the floors, even in the elevator. If you are moving furniture, for instance, you should protect walls by putting up wall-to-ceiling plastic. Elevators should be padded.
6) Devise A Labeling System
Each employee should put an identifier on each item with their Name and Room Number at the new destination to help facilitate proper relocation. Make sure employees are well-schooled on their preparation. We often suggest that crates be numbered: one of 4, two of 4, three of 4, and so on. You should also label items according to floor, department and office or cubicle and again include a piece of paper inside at the top of the crate with employee name and room number. Designate a lost and found room in case items are not labeled properly.
7) Furniture Space Planning
Quite often, furniture dimensions are approximated incorrectly, and a room that is laid out with the intention of fitting 15 workstations, for example, fits only 12. A few inches really make a difference in a space plan, and the remedy is not cheap.
8) Evaluate Responsibilities
If you’re the person managing the move for your company, evaluate your current responsibilities to make sure neither the move nor your normal responsibilities will be neglected. Unless the person designated has a job that does not require 40 hours a week, it is virtually impossible to successfully do both. As the move gets closer, the number of hours to be devoted to the project increases. Tasks can fall through the cracks or are simply overlooked, resulting in higher costs. Delegating responsibilities before and during the move can prevent problems.
9) Avoid Elevator Woes
On average, you are going to pay movers approximately $36 to $54 per man hour. If your elevator is too slow, or out of service, you could pay a fortune in unnecessary labor costs. It is always a good idea to test the function and timing of the elevator in advance to determine whether it is the most efficient way for you to get your property to your new space. Measure all of your furniture and equipment to make sure they will fit in the elevator. If your move falls during after hours, try to convince the landlord to free up tenant elevators in addition to the freight elevator.
10) Communicate With Employees
While most employees have little to do with a move, it’s still important that there is proper communication of schedules and procedures. E-mail, flyers and newsletters are good ways to keep employees up to date. When it comes time for the big day, however, the fewer employees involved the better. They may interfere with the move, opening the door for problems. Employee morale is another potential problem. This is especially true if a company is moving from a space where everyone has private offices to an open-office space. Employees have a difficult time going from their corner office with a view to an eight-by-eight cube without feeling like they have been demoted. Proper communication can help combat this before it becomes a problem. Usually, employees become unhappy if they are not told what is going on with the planning of the move. An informed employee is usually less likely to be disgruntled about the move.
Thanks for Reading!
We’ve had 50+ years’ experience facilitating office moves, consolidations, restacks and the like. We hope that experience will help you – if you’re still feeling antsy about an upcoming relocation, click the button below for your free relocation timeline and get this moved managed!