Posted by : Amanda Stein Tuesday, August 27, 2013

If you've ever moved homes, you have some idea of the work involved. You didn't just wake up one morning, decide to move, and then by the end of the day found yourself relaxing in your new home with everything unpacked. The process started weeks, if not months before. From hiring movers, to packing, to making phone calls, to the day of the move, to the unpacking and re-settling, to call it a long process is an understatement. Now translate this effort to your business. How many employees do you have and how much stuff has your business acquired? The need to move as quickly as possible in order to minimize the lost client time and productivity time only ups the pressure even more. But it isn't a foregone conclusion that moving your business will be the most difficult thing you've had to do.

No article can fully address every need of your individual business. Which is why the first step in your moving process should be to make a checklist of everything that needs to get done between the time your move is confirmed through when you want to be in your new space and fully operational again. Don't fall into the mistake of having your checklist end on the day of the move. There will be a ton of work to do after the move as well - be thorough and include everything! Once you've got the checklist, utilize your upper management to help you create a timeline. Assign dates to each item on the checklist. Be sure to set a realistic date for the move. Give yourself enough time to accomplish the essentials without adding unnecessary stress to the team. Be the tortoise and not the hare in this process.

Once this is done it's time to hold your first staff meeting. Getting buy in from the staff is essential to a smooth moving process. Share with them the work you've done so far, including the reasons for the move and the benefits (to the business and them). Ask for their feedback and input about any adjustments that might make the moving plan even better. If at all possible, arrange for a tour or tours of the new space so that they begin to feel a part of the process and the reality of the work involved can begin to sink in.

Your first "we're moving" meeting shouldn't be your last. Plan to have weekly meetings to keep staff updated and to get updates from them. If needed, it's ok to move to a brief daily check-in each morning as the moving date gets closer. Use the meetings to communicate expectations. Share what each staff member will be responsible for. This may include not only packing up their own personal space or office but also assigned tasks like public spaces. Assign groups to larger spaces like the kitchen and reception areas and individuals to small spaces like the supply closet or client files.

You can also utilize your staff to address potential problems. Solicit feedback on what works and doesn't work in your current space and during the tour of the new space ask staff to be on the lookout for issues. These items can then be added to the checklist and gives you time to correct. This can be especially valuable if your move involves a remodel. You want to address problems while your contractor is still working.

From here, the devil is in the details. You'll need to notify your clients of your new address and location. You'll also need to notify your business partners and vendors. New business cards and stationary need to be ordered and your website updated. If the budget allows, send more than one notification by more than one method. Have a message added to all voicemail and ask staff (particularly reception staff) to mention the move to each person they talk to.

The number of moving parts and pieces to an office move can feel overwhelming. Organization on your part, as well as a highly motivated staff, will help to ensure it's done the easy way. Keep focused on the end result of a better facility, more space, and increased revenue and the difficulties will feel worth it.

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