1. Agree on a time frame and plan
Preparation is crucial if you want a hassle-free office move. Months in advance of the shift, make a comprehensive to-do list, but break it down into sections covering everything from the starting date to the budget, leasing arrangements, office design and fitout, storage, technology needs and a plan for packing so you are ready when the trucks roll in.
Work backwards from your move-out date and set completion dates for tasks. If possible, ensure the move doesn’t clash with any major project deadlines. There are some smart cloud-based project management tools that can help you get organised, including Microsoft Project Online and Project Pro for Office 365.
Tip: Ask administrative staff to be part of the planning process. They often know more about day-to-day business operations than senior executives.
2. Appoint ‘move leaders’ and communicate clearly
Moving can be stressful, so keep your teams across the details of the shift and outline the benefits it will ultimately deliver. Meetings and emails are a logical way to stay in touch, while SharePoint Online is a very handy communication tool that lets teams collaborate, share version controlled documents and receive updates to timelines and task lists on a secure online platform.
Appointing team leaders to oversee various parts of the process and assigning specific responsibilities to other staff may also improve communication and reduce any misunderstandings. Those leaders must have the necessary authority to make decisions.
Tip: When you move, ensure employees have the relevant security passes and access codes for the new site.
3. Understand the business objectives of an office upgrade
Your new premises should improve your business outcomes, including managing overheads, improving recruitment and retention, increasing staff productivity or simply using space more efficiently.
Plot out a floor plan for key operational areas such as the boardroom, meeting rooms, kitchens and communications and IT infrastructure before you move. You really need to do this from the outset; too often businesses leave cabling and server room requirements right to the last minute, and this can cause significant disruptions for staff and clients.
With leases, coordinate agreements between the old and new properties to limit cost blowouts and remember that it has become more common for landlords to offer incentives such as rent-free periods and financial contributions towards fitouts and technology systems.
Tip: Allow enough time for fitouts before you move in. They can often run over schedule and disrupt business operations.
4. Focus on technology and telecommunications
Connectivity is king in the modern workplace. Engage your IT team early in the process and plan the switch of critical business systems, otherwise you risk upsetting staff and clients and increasing downtime.
You can also use a move as an opportunity to review technology infrastructure and services, including phones, computers, networks and servers to cloud platforms and apps. For example, the new building might allow you to think differently about how you lay out the wi-fi services, introducing greater flexibility and mobility into the ways in which people work within the space.
Tip: Using external IT expertise to advise on technology changes and integrations can often save you money over the long term.
5. Use the cloud to its maximum potential
If your business is not on the cloud, it may be time to ask why. Cloud-based platforms and mobile devices let a business and its people get their work done from anywhere they can access a reliable internet connection. Being able to work remotely also means there doesn’t have to be as much downtime during the move, so most projects can stay on track throughout the relocation.
Being on the cloud is also a great way to make systems scalable without additional, expensive infrastructure. You just pay for what you use.
Another plus of storing data and files on the cloud is that you don’t need a whole lot of heavy filing cabinets or libraries, and you won’t lose important documents off the back of a truck.
Tip: Check that you can get adequate internet speed at your potential new premises before you move, because not all areas have equal internet capacity.
6. Take a long-term view of technology tools
The days of clunky Exchange servers for emails and communication are over, thankfully. Software such as Microsoft Office 365 has brought all the functionality of a server to the cloud, along with familiar Microsoft Office applications.
While in the past an office relocation could tie up a tech team for days as they installed software and files on the hard drive of each new computer in the office, these days workers simply access Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud from their desktop or mobile device and carry on as normal. They can use the apps and email from almost anywhere, share documents, hold online meetings and much more.
But clever cloud tools are not limited to Microsoft Office 365. Apps such as Box let you store, manage and share content without fuss. Just access the internet and you can create and share files from almost any location or mobile device, reducing the risk of team members working on the wrong version of a document. Box’s other advantage is that it can synch with other popular cloud applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and DocuSign.
The bottom line, given the extraordinary advances in technology and apps in recent years, is that if you have been using old server technology, moving offices is the perfect time to migrate to the cloud and 21st-century tech.
Tip: When transitioning to a cloud service such as Microsoft Office 365, speak to your IT provider about phasing out old, third-party software products.
7. Test your new systems rigorously
Running two offices simultaneously during a move is costly and inefficient. To speed things up, test all the servers, cables, wiring and other electrical equipment in the new office as soon as possible.
Of course, the beauty of advanced cloud platforms is that most of your technology infrastructure is already in place and working – regardless of whether you’re at your desk in your new office, or sitting in your favourite cafe.
Tip: Performing most of your IT infrastructure switches and testing outside working hours can minimise disruptions.
So remember, good planning and great technology will simplify your office move and set up your business for years to come. Best of luck with the move!
Moving soon or moving to cloud? Ask Telstra how we can help you migrate to the cloud and make that move easier.