Nine things to consider when moving an office in the UK

Running a business is a full-time job, and so is running a move

While moving into a new office can be an exciting time for a business, the logistics of getting everything transported and up and running usually comes with its fair share of headaches. Even under the best of circumstances, moving is an expensive and difficult endeavor. 

For moves within the UK, there are additional factors to consider. This guide will help you to plan a smooth transition with minimal downtime, so your business won’t have to skip a beat.

Make sure your mover is certified

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving to another floor or another part of the city—you’re putting your office in someone else’s hands. Your movers should be members of the British Association of Removers (BAR). This trade association’s members meet stringent criteria. The website breaks down commercial moves by areas of expertise, helping you to pick the mover who’s best for you.

Within BAR is a subgroup devoted specifically to business relocation—the Commercial Moving Group (CMG). The 50-plus members of the CMG provide specialty services like IT relocation, space planning, and furniture audits. 

Make certain that the company you book for your move is fully insured. And remember that accidents do happen and problems may arise—find out how your moving company handles broken merchandise and other major issues before you sign the contract.

Executing an office move takes time and planning, even with a top-notch company handling the transition. To ensure you’ll have enough time, plan on booking a mover three to six months before moving day.

Keep things organized by designating a move manager

Running a business is a full-time job, and so is running a move. While your moving company will assign a project manager to your move, you will need to designate someone within your company to act as a liaison not just with the movers, but with your other employees and new landlord as well. 

Your internal move manager should be someone who can juggle multiple tasks, pay attention to detail, and solve problems. It’s also important to appoint another member of your staff to handle any essential daily tasks if your point person is called away to deal with issues related to the move. 

Keep your budget in mind when making decisions

The more prepared you are for your office move, the less it will cost you. Conduct a thorough inventory of the items you plan to move, so the moving company can give you an accurate estimate. If you discover additional items that will need to be moved later in the process, discuss it with the movers immediately so you don’t have any surprises when you get the final bill.

It is usually cheaper to have the movers handle all aspects of the move than it is to break up tasks piecemeal. For example, hiring movers who can handle your entire IT relocation will likely cost less than hiring an outside consultant.

When budgeting for a move, don’t forget to include VAT in your total cost. Any loss of business revenue associated with downtime caused by the move should be factored in as well.

Optimal timing depends on many factors—including the health of your business

There are many factors that go into choosing a date and time for an office move, including:

  • Mover availability
  • Office schedule: You’ll want to avoid busy and lucrative times. 
  • Landlord regulations: Most buildings have rules about when you can move out and in. Make sure you know the requirements on both ends of your move before you book a company.
  • Parking: Depending on where your old and new offices are located, you will have to plan around time-based parking restrictions.

Weekend moves tend to be more expensive, but if the cost is offset by avoiding business downtime, it may be worth considering.

Keep your team productive during the move by minimizing downtime

Even if you schedule a weekend move, there are bound to be hiccups come Monday morning. You will have some office downtime—whether it’s a few hours or a few days depends on how well you plan.

If possible, consider letting employees who are able to work from home on the first business day after the move. That way, you can ensure that phone lines, workstations, and internet are all working properly. The next day, you’ll have fewer hiccups, and fewer people standing around with nothing to do.

Alleviate stress by opting for an office space that’s move-in ready

Relocating an office will always be a hefty project, but there are ways to minimize the stress that go beyond the tactical. Opting for a turnkey office space, for example, can alleviate the burden of managing setup and design.

Shared or dedicated workspaces from WeWork come fully equipped and artfully designed, allowing you to skip the tedious logistics and instead focus on the needs of your business and employees. Plus, flexible monthly agreements allow your office space to scale along with the team. With 50 locations all over London (and more in Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, and Edinburgh), there’s also plenty of options wherever you need to be.

Create a project timeline for everything that needs to get done

Observing these tips will go a long way to avoiding major surprises during the move, but there will always be small tasks that fall through the cracks if you’re not careful.

The best plan of action is to create a detailed timeline of everything that needs to be handled and when, so there’s no frantic rushing at the 11th hour. To help you get a head start, we put together this UK moving checklist with all the pertinent tasks, organized by when they should be completed.

With careful planning, a move across the UK and its major cities can go smoothly so your employees remain productive and your business operations run without a hitch.

For more articles about operating a business in Europe and around the world, check out our Cities + Travel section.

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.

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