Office Moving Guide

Relocating to a new office is an exciting experience, but planning the big move can be daunting.

Luckily, the experienced Moving and Relocation team here at Thrifty Office Furniture has fine-tuned the business moving process to make it easy for you to take this next step in growing your business.

The key to successfully moving your business location is thorough preparation, and breaking the process into simple, easy-to-follow steps. With our 23 years of experience, we’ve created this useful guide and checklist to help you prepare for your office relocation:

1. Why Relocate Your Office?

The first question to ask is: why should you move your business? Our answer: It’s all about location! Where your business is located says a lot about your company's brand, both to your customers and to those within your organization. It's important to ensure that your new office location makes sense for your company, and that your management team has weighed the benefits or drawbacks of each potential location. Making the right choice for your company’s home base can benefit your business in many ways. The perfect new location can help you to:

  • Enhance company culture
  • Improve employee morale
  • Boost productivity
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Save costs
  • Support company growth initiatives
  • Encourage brand awareness
  • Attract new talent and/or customers
  • Meet employee/customer needs
  • Upgrade facilities and equipment

2. Define Your Office Needs

Now that you know why moving can help any business, it’s time to determine specifically how your move should benefit your business. Before you plan your office move, you’ll want to first assess your current office environment and define your new office needs. Once you’ve specified the purpose for your office move, you’ll be able to determine the criteria for your new office location to make sure it will meet your company’s needs.

Not sure where to start? Some of the most important criteria to consider with regard to your business are: physical location, budget, office space size, property features, accessibility, lease details and your timeline for moving.

Once you have these “big picture” needs figured out, you may also want to consider:

  • Office scalability/opportunity to expand
  • Office workspace, layouts, and available storage
  • Property management services & regulations
  • Responsibility for facilities maintenance
  • Interior design and/or ability to redecorate
  • Building security
  • Hours the building is accessible
  • Evacuation plans
  • Keys and keycard access
  • Signage
  • Garbage and recyclables removal services
  • Office temperature management
  • Access to kitchen, shower, or other amenities
  • Sufficient number of power outlets
  • Impact on your insurance
  • Potential tax changes
  • Access to local shops & restaurants
  • Access to public transportation
  • Parking options and bike racks
  • Office accessibility (ramps, sidewalks, stairs, elevators, etc.)
  • Changes to vendor/supplier contracts

Last but not least, it’s just as important that you consider any obligations to board members or stakeholders, the terms of your existing lease, specifications for notice periods, and any applicable liabilities.

3. Establish Your Office Budget

Relocating your office is an investment, and creating a proper budget can help keep costs down. Avoid additional stress - and additional fees - by planning your budget to include all items of financial impact. A thorough budget will also help prevent mistakes or overlooked costs.

To create a realistic budget, be sure to include:

  • Property occupancy costs (rent, taxes, utilities, maintenance, etc.)
  • Contract transaction fees (property agents, attorneys, etc.)
  • Building and environmental assessment and certificate costs
  • Property tax and permit fees
  • Business tax and permit fees
  • Insurance costs
  • Risk management assessment costs
  • Security services costs
  • IT, Cable and Telecom: network systems equipment and setup costs
  • Office design, decorating and repair costs (professional services, fit outs, supplies, accents, etc.)
  • Office furniture (product costs, delivery, and installation)
  • Disposal costs (old furniture, clutter, electronics, toxic materials, etc.)
  • Professional Moving Services (costs to rent truck, hire movers, etc.)
  • Moving supplies cost (boxes, crates, labels, packing materials, etc.)
  • Postal services and mail redirection costs
  • Updated print collateral costs (company stationery, business cards, etc.)
  • Traditional marketing costs (announcements, invitations, etc.)
  • Online marketing costs (announcement campaigns, updates to website and digital brand listings)
  • Dilapidation/Repair costs for old office
  • Garbage and recyclables removal services (rental of recycling bins and/or commercial dumpsters for excess furniture/equipment)
  • Janitorial costs
  • Signage
  • Contingency costs (assignment of budget for contingencies and changes; typically 20%)

4. New Office Layout & Workspace Planning

Having a well-thought-out plan for how to use your new space is essential to a successful office relocation. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone! Hiring an office design consultancy or office fit out partner can help ensure this success.

Working with office design specialists before you've selected your new workspace allows you to leverage an experienced partner who can help calculate the amount of space you need, ensuring you have sufficient space for everyone and everything.

Upon selecting your space, this partner can also help you plan your ideal layout and office furniture configuration. Many office design and fit out companies, like our Thrifty design team, offer 2D and 3D drawings to help you visualize your new space, ensuring optimal layout for your floorplan.

To create your best office design plan, be sure to consider:

  • How your teams work independently and in collaboration with one another
  • Departmental or team growth rates
  • The number and type of workstations you will need
  • Brand identity and aesthetics
  • Size, capacity, comfort, and usage needs for:
    • Reception/lobby areas
    • Meeting rooms & collaborative areas (including media, communication, and presentation equipment)
    • Executive offices
    • Library and private workspace rooms
    • Kitchen, break rooms, vending areas and water stations
    • Disposal and recycling areas
    • Copy/printer and mail rooms
    • Restrooms/shower areas
    • Individual office supply storage
    • Company storerooms (for office supplies and equipment)
    • Document storage
    • Safes and fire-proof storage
    • Computers, servers and IT equipment storage
    • Closets, coat racks and umbrella storage
    • The right furniture and equipment to meet the above needs
  • Signage
  • Fixtures and fittings
  • Flooring and window treatments
  • Natural light and lighting options

5. Establish a Timeline

Once you’ve decided on your moving date, it's important to establish your timeline for all move-related tasks. An ideal timeline would be about three (3) months long. Shorter timelines will simply limit options for some services and/or providers who may be assisting with your move.

An adequate timeline will provide enough time for you to:

  • Establish a packing schedule
  • Identify what to pack in advance and what to pack last
  • Identify dates by which to:
    • Assign move-related tasks to selected team members
    • Notify suppliers/vendors/providers of your move
    • Notify customers/partners of your move
    • Notify security at your existing location and new office location of moving plans and needs
    • Schedule internal meetings to coordinate move
    • Request and consider quotes/estimates for necessary move-related services
    • Meet with hired contractors and consultants
    • Arrange utility transfer, delivery and installation services
    • Schedule VOIP & IT Networking installation services
    • Redirect mail, package and courier services
    • Provide move teams and hired help with relocation plan and supporting documents (blueprints, etc.)
    • Order office supplies and equipment
    • Order office furniture
    • Order new signage
    • Order and distribute keys or keycards
    • Order appropriate disposal and waste containers for furniture/equipment purge
    • Order updated print collateral (stationery, business cards, etc.)
    • Forward voice and facsimile services
    • Distribute announcements and launch new marketing campaigns
    • Update online brand profiles and directory listings

6. Delegate the Work

Moving between offices is much more than a one-person endeavor. Make the process easier and more manageable by delegating tasks to a team of move coordinators. This team can be made up of trusted employees, forming a committee that can help balance the weight of your efforts. Having regular meetings with this team (and with the rest of the staff) ensures that everyone stays on the same page and is prepared appropriately for the office move.

Ideally, you would have a move coordinator per each department or office division responsible for managing efforts within their team area.

In addition to these departmental teams, another great way to delegate is to assign an individual or small group to be responsible for the following items:

  • Easily overlooked or public area items (potted plants, white boards, bulletin boards, posters, etc.)
  • Records management (off-site and onsite, filing requirements, document disposal, archiving, etc.)
  • Inventory assessment
  • Communication plan management
  • Ordering furniture and equipment
  • Coordinating with moving company
  • IT operations and equipment logistics
  • Labeling and tagging
  • Provide packing instructions to employees

Hiring the right people outside of your organization to assist with specialty services is equally important. Consider whether your team could benefit by the added efficiency offered by:

  • Hired movers
  • Professional installers
  • IT and networking specialists
  • Office design/fit in(out?) specialists
  • Other suppliers/vendors/providers

7. Set Up Your Communications Plan

Communication is key to a smooth office move. Establish a communication plan for working with both internal teams and third parties to keep everyone on the same page throughout your relocation. Internal communication plans help prepare your staff for the move, and external communication plans let you share important information with your customers, suppliers, vendors and service providers. Ensure that all move coordinators have a list of contacts that includes hired help, along with a list of each move coordinator’s responsibilities for reference.

Internal communications should include:

  • Move dates
  • Move strategy, process and packing procedures
  • New building regulations and pertinent details
  • Information on new building access and security
  • Updated phone and fax numbers
  • Safety procedures and appropriate move-in day attire
  • New office floorplan
  • Plan for employee absences and/or emergencies
  • Contingency plan details

External communications may include:

  • Change of address notification
  • New location announcements and/or invitations to visit
  • Product/service orders to be processed
  • Move-in day strategy, plans, floorplans, instructions, etc.

How you communicate is just as important as what you’re communicating. Determining your methods of communication for internal and external parties beforehand ensures that everyone knows how to stay in the loop during your move. Some communication options include:

  • Website (intranet)
  • Project management application
  • Email
  • Newsletters
  • Bulletin boards
  • Lunch meetings
  • Office meetings

Now you can think about all of the necessary communication and coordination you’ll need, such as:

  • Scheduling the forwarding of voice and facsimile services during move-in period
  • Scheduling utilities services (overlap several days between your vacate date and your move-in date)
  • Notifying and scheduling change of address with:
    • United States Post Office
    • UPS and/or FedEx
    • Phone company
    • State Payroll
    • State Personnel
    • Service providers requiring billing address
  • Posting of temporary signage, announcing move details to staff and public (new address, move date and contact details)

8. Collect Resources

Prior to your move-in date, it's important to ensure you have all the necessary resources for a successful move. This allows employees plenty of time to pack their workspace, and mitigates any risk for last-minute scrambling.

Make sure you secure these resources ahead of your move-in day:

  • New office keys/keycards
  • New parking passes/permits
  • Basic first aid materials
  • Basic restroom necessities (toilet paper, soap, paper towels, etc.)
  • Basic coffee, snacks and refreshments
  • Updated print collateral
  • Inventory list
  • Contact list that includes move-related contractors, consultants and hired help
  • Packing supplies:
    • Cardboard boxes
    • Crates
    • Labels (perhaps colored, so as to easily identify boxes as fragile, liquid containing, or by department, etc.)
    • Permanent markers
    • Packing tape and masking tape
    • Twist ties
    • Packing fill (styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, paper, etc.)
    • Dolly/lift assist equipment
    • Sandwich bags or envelopes (to store shelf pins, pegs, hardware, keys, etc.)

9. Packing Instructions

Now it’s time to get packing! These tips will help your team best organize and pack their individual and shared workspace:

Desks: Desks must be empty with small, loose items (pencils, pens, paperclips, etc.) packed separately. Paperwork and hanging folders should be boxed separately as well.

Lockers and Break Room: Schedule a date prior to move by which personal items should be removed from these areas, donate or dispose of items not collected, and pack everything else for transport.

Computers: Office computers should be backed up, disconnected properly, with wires and plugs tied securely and labeled.

Electronics: Leave electronics on stand or desk, safely disconnect, and wrap wires and plugs securely with twist ties.

Filing Cabinets: Cabinets should be empty. Pack contents in boxes or locked drawers. Upright cabinets can be moved with their contents intact, while locked cabinet drawers should be secured with tape.

Supply Room: Contents of room should be packed in crates and labeled.

Boards, Posters, Framed Photos: These items should be wrapped or taped, and placed against a wall until loaded for transport.

Special Equipment: Certain electronics, such as printers and copiers, should be moved by trained personnel. Arrangements can be made with hired movers or the vendor directly. Some equipment may also require disconnection, which should be handled specifically by the vendor or a certified technician so as to not void warranties.

Secure Files: Ensure that secure files and information are moved per office regulations.

Personal Items: Personal items should be the responsibility of the employee. Typically, staff should pack their personal items and be responsible for transporting them to the new location themselves.

Items for Hired Movers: Items to be moved by professional movers need to be tagged and/or marked as such, and labeled with any pertinent information (such as fragile, liquids, etc.). If one of these items breaks down into sections and/or pieces, label or tag these pieces individually. To create added efficiency, identify the office, floor, and/or department where these items need be placed at the new office location when labeling.

10. Labels

Make sure that all tags and labels are filled out completely with information that assists in identifying proper placement upon arrival at the new office. Any items that are to remain at the old office location should also be marked accordingly.

Popular details to include on tags and labels are:

  • Employee name
  • Department
  • Office floor or room number
  • Content description
  • Special Identifiers (fragile, liquid, perishable, electronics, etc.)
  • "Do Not Move"

11. Purging Office Clutter

Dispose of office clutter appropriately to avoid moving unnecessary items to the new office location. To ensure proper disposal of clutter and packing materials, provide several recycling bins and waste containers at the move sites. Some items, like ink cartridges and batteries, will require separate and specialized disposal. If you have questions about proper disposal, review product guides and safety manuals or ask your operations manager or equipment vendor for clarification.

12. Other Move-In Day Tasks

Make the office moving process easier to manage with these additional move-in day tasks:

  • Issue keys and keycards the day of (to mitigate risks of lost or forgotten keys)
  • Decommission computers and communications equipment, and implement temporary reroutes
  • Consider catering breakfast and/or lunch (to minimize potential downtime)
  • Instruct your team to unpack as soon as possible (updating inventory lists, and helping to better manage any loss or theft claims)

13. Announce Your Office Relocation

Congratulations, you’ve successfully moved! Now that you've completed relocating your business to the new office, you can officially announce your new address to the public. Be sure to include the following items when you do:

  • Update website (and submit updates to search engines)
  • Update online advertising platforms that display your address
  • Update online profile and directory listings
  • Mail printed announcements and/or invitations for visitors
  • Notify magazines, periodicals, journals, association newsletters, etc.

14. Celebrate Success

With this business moving guide, you can expect your office relocation project to be a success. Hooray! Start things off right in your business’s new home by celebrating this success with your team and thanking everyone who contributed for a job well done. You might even throw a "Welcome to Our New Office" party and invite your top customers to check out your new office space.