Most successful businesses eventually outgrow their office space, and finding a new one at the right price in the right neighborhood can feel like hitting the jackpot. That is, until you have to start the moving process.
Moving—whether it’s a home or office—comes with a lot of stress. In fact, a recent study showed that six in 10 people voted it the most stressful life event.
The good news? A little planning goes a long way toward minimizing frustrations, surprises, and business disruptions. If you’re getting ready to move your UK office now or thinking about it for the future, this checklist can help to ensure a smooth transition.
One year from moving day
- Choose one person in your organization to keep track of all of the bits and pieces, including contact details (landlords, removers, vendors, contractors), key dates, and inventory lists. Pick someone from each department to specify their team’s needs, concerns, and priorities.
- Review your new office’s floor plan. This is a good time to start thinking about how you want your space laid out. If it’s a raw space, this is when you’ll need to work with an architect on planning, so you’ll have time to acquire building permits and complete construction before moving day.
- Calculate your moving budget. Add up all the associated costs for transferring everything to your new office, including movers, IT specialists, and new furniture. You will likely need to revise this number as you get quotes, but it’s a good idea to start with a number you’re comfortable with.
Six months from moving day
- Have a sit-down meeting with the key players in your office. Review what and whom will move to the new office, and who’s responsible for overseeing what. Set forth what to buy for the new location, from tea mugs to desks. If you’re hiring once you move, factor new employee’s tasks and needs into the plans for layout and purchasing.
- Take a thorough inventory of everything that will have to be moved, everything that will be disposed of, and, if applicable, everything that will go into storage.
- Review the policies and procedures for moving into your new office space and out of your old one. Most buildings have limited hours for parking and use of freight lifts.
- Research and hire a moving company. The best way to find a reputable company is to go through the British Association of Removers (BAR). BAR has more than 450 members—many of them experienced commercial movers. BAR’s Code of Practice has been approved by Trading Standards, providing another layer of security and oversight.
Five months from moving day
- Have the removers in for a walk-through, making sure they are aware of everything that needs to be moved. This is the time for each department to voice concerns and needs, communicating directly with those who will be physically handling the move.
- Contact internet, telephone, and other providers, and schedule transfers and installations.
- Let your landlord know that you’ll be moving. Yes, you could wait, but they’ll have plans to make as well, and showing them courtesy at this stage increases the likelihood that they’ll do the same for you as the moving date nears.
Two months from moving day
- Share the details of the move with your entire staff, getting them in an active preparation mind-set. Be braced to hear “Oh, we forgot this” or “That isn’t in an ideal spot.” Don’t panic. Two months allows plenty of breathing room for changes and additions.
- Check that all supplies and furnishings have been ordered, and that the orders are proceeding as they should.
One month from moving day
- Order packing supplies, like crates, tape, and labels. Color-coding boxes for the move will make the removers’ job cleaner and spare your staff misery at the other end.
- Communicate to office staff when they will need to have their desks packed up and the procedure for doing so. If any employees will be on vacation or leave during the move, let them know when and how to pack up their things. If you’ll be expecting employees to work from home on the day of the move, let them know so they can make any necessary arrangements.
Two weeks before moving day
- Send staff a reminder. Give employees their new address and telephone numbers.
- Photograph the old office, so you have records of its condition should any problems arise with the movers or landlord.
- Check preparations at the new site, including heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation; IT, telephone, broadband, furnishings, and supplies.
- Order something small for each staffers’ desk as a “Welcome to your new space” gift. While this can be as small as a packet of chocolates, it will help to lift spirits during the transition.
- Make sure everything is marked with a colored label and destination for the new office.
- Have each staff member finish packing personal workspaces.
Congratulate yourself and your team! Hopefully, all of that advance planning made for a smooth move. With packaging materials on their way to rubbish or recycling, you can settle into your new digs and start your business’s next chapter.
Consider a turnkey office space
Many steps during your move can be made significantly easier by opting for an office space with amenities, decor, and infrastructure already established. With 50 locations throughout London, and more throughout the UK, WeWork’s move-in ready workspaces can accommodate teams of any size while offering room to grow. Our fully equipped office spaces take the headache out of moving so your business can get right to work.
Seánan Forbes has lived in two countries and worked in six, developing a knowledge of intercultural communication and collaboration, time management, work-wellness balance, and functional workspaces. Their work has appeared in numerous trade and consumer publications, including Food & Wine, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Food Network Magazine, and Hotels Magazine.