10 Steps To a successful office move

Step 1

Where to start?

The reasons for moving office are many and varied but for the most part are preempted by a current lease expiring or a looming lease break.

Moving office is a fantastic opportunity to look inwards and determine whether your current offices are fit for purpose, it can cater for any anticipated/future growth or if it is adaptable to changing work practices.

Moving office presents an opportunity for companies to consider exciting changes like:

  • Working practices: investigating new ways of working
  • Workplace culture: any changes will have an impact on culture, which will need to be proactively managed
  • Brand identity: a move can be a good time to look at changes to your brand identity, with many companies opting to reenergise their corporate identity alongside a move
All of this can have a huge impact on…
  • Staff motivation and productivity
  • Staff retention and attracting the best talent
  • Improved internal communications and collaboration
Step completed
Step 2

Build your project team

The next step is an obvious one: you need to create an internal team from across different disciplines who will bring their diverse talents and skills to the group and who will be responsible for delivering the project.

Most importantly, you need to identify and designate your Senior Project Champion:

This should be a capable and senior individual who commands the authority to make decisions and will drive the project forward. A strong, senior project leader will keep everything - and everyone - on target, minimise delays and inaction, and ensure that the resulting office space closely reflects the initial brief, the company’s brand and any key objectives set out at the beginning.

The next step is to employ a robust and varied internal team to complement and support the project lead.

This team of experts should consist of specialists in multiple disciplines from across the business including IT, marketing and HR. Their expertise and input when it comes to things like IT systems, branding, and staff engagement is invaluable.

A highly involved, cross-team approach incorporating a great wealth of expertise is essential when delivering the perfect office space.


Step completed
Step 3

Decide on what you want to achieve

Moving office presents a massive opportunity to greatly improve how your company works. Once your team is assembled, the next step is to define the definable.


1
What kind of space do you want to create?
2
What is most important to your organisation?
How do your two answers translate into the perfect office design?

Finding answers to these questions will have the most impact on your budget, as well as any project timescales. Because of this, it is critical to be as realistic as possible with your answers.

Remember to prioritise.

Both your new office building and its location need to be put through their paces to ensure they deliver everything your company needs.

You can only inspect a potential workspace if you know what you need from it. This can include…
Commute times
Staff parking
Public transport
Accessibility
Local amenities
Rent costs
IT/mobile coverage

Once you’ve taken all of these elements into account, you’ll be in a better, more informed position to decide whether or not any new office can meet your requirements.

You can also consult our step-by-step Office Relocation Checklist for an extensive list of preliminary checks.


Step completed
Step 4

Approach the right commerical property expert

At this stage, you’ll have formed an all-star project team led by a senior stakeholder, set your location and office building criteria and agreed on a budget.

Now, it’s time to research and approach the right commercial property agent to complete your office relocation line-up.

Using a reputable agent can make the process - and the lives of your project team - considerably easier.
Set aside some time to research and shortlist different options.
  • Ask colleagues and clients for recommendations
  • Ask for references and testimonials from past clients
  • Determine whether they have a good knowledge of the area you are searching in
  • Do some online research
  • Ensure they have a good grasp of the technical side of commercial property

Remember:
working alongside a trustworthy, highly- recommended specialist with strong technical skills, well-founded knowledge of your specified areas, and a transparent fee structure will result in a project with far fewer issues or delays.

Once you have selected an agent, they will help you to shortlist available properties matching your criteria, arrange viewings and help you to negotiate the best overall package for any potential new space.

The right commercial property expert should support your project team, ensuring the project is made as effortless as possible.

Step completed
Step 5

Select your design and build partner

Once you have selected your new space, the next step is finding a design and build partner. Consider your prospective partner as an extension of your project team, a specialist capable of designing and delivering to your exacting, detailed standards.

They will need to understand your brief, provide the enthusiasm to drive the project forward and possess the expertise to swiftly deal with any challenges your office move may encounter.


Don’t accept a company that cannot work to your vision,
as this relationship is absolutely crucial to the success of any office relocation and fit out.

Start this process by creating a list of factors and then rank them in order of importance.

These could include:

  • Knowledge and experience in your sector
  • Strong reputation
  • Green credentials and sustainability
  • Financial stability
  • Health and safety record
  • Positive testimonials from past clients

Once your list is finalised, present it to your project team for their input before agreeing on a set of non-negotiable criteria.

This will put your team in the best position to approach some firms to enquire about their previous clients. Whittle down your list to three or four contractors, issue your brief and set aside a day for presentations from each of them. You should also look to meet the entire project team at this stage, and do not be afraid to ask the tough questions that will help you make your decision. Proposals should include conceptual designs that meet your needs and estimated costs to achieve this, but don’t let these be the only deciding factors.

We recommend that you spend some time
visiting offices that your prospective partner(s) have designed and delivered for other clients and also some live sites that they are working on to see how they operate.

Don’t focus on minute details at this stage.
Designs can easily be tweaked, but be sure that you understand the thinking behind what is presented. The overall designs should meet the brief, even if the colours in the concept don’t match the walls and floors of your ideal office.
Step completed
Step 6

Consult, collaborate, and listen

You have appointed your ideal design and build team to take on your brief. Energy and enthusiasm levels are high. Everyone is looking forward to getting their teeth into delivering the project.

That’s great, and now is the time to get staff involved and to host workshops with your chosen Design & Build partner and their workplace team so they can…

  • Determine how your business operates
  • Gain a greater understanding of your business
  • Get opinions from across the entire business about what kind of office would work best

Your chosen design and build partner will need to take the time to get to know and understand your business and your employees, and most importantly what they need from the new space.

Creating a culture of ‘no surprises’ from the beginning of the project can help reduce resistance to change, and create a positive buzz around the project.

Engage with staff in the preliminary stages, keep them informed, and present them with opportunities to be part of the process through brainstorming sessions and/or workshops.

Many design and build companies now have in house workplace strategy teams who can arrange consultative workshops with staff to gauge opinions as well as carrying out research and utilisation studies so they can make recommendations that can potentially influence the final office design.


Step completed
Step 7

Agreeing on design

Your design team will help you translate your objectives into a design that matches the vision for your business.

The various studies undertaken during the workplace phase will help you understand how your staff work, how they use the space, and help you identify what sort of areas you need in your new workplace to support them.


Your designer will also help you identify what colour palette, lighting and office furniture is best suited to different areas whilst also making sure it all reflects your brand.
This could be by ensuring there are more informal, collaborative areas, better use of desk space, or perhaps smaller private meeting rooms.
This step is also a great opportunity to encourage your staff to work in different ways:
  • Could there be more collaboration?
  • Do you need to break down internal team silos?
  • Does your space need better kitchen facilities?
  • Are specialised activity rooms and breakout areas needed?
  • What about flexible private workspaces?

By exploring these questions, your design team can work to create the perfect space.

Step completed
Step 8

Finalise the project plan

You’ve selected a design and build partner, consulted staff, received workplace recommendations from the experts and agreed on a final office design, so what next?

It’s time to create and agree on a detailed project plan.

This needs to include everything, the big and the small: from IT servers and furniture delivery to cardboard boxes. This will allow you and your team to plan when all of the many tasks need to be completed, and ensure everything happens in a timely fashion.


It is important to include major milestones in this schedule such as moving IT servers or delivery and installation of new furniture.

Sticking to the plan and its deadlines takes effort from everyone on the project team so it is critical that you make sure timings are realistic, lines of communication are kept open and that you meet and check in with one another regularly. This should include regular site visits to assess progress.


Step completed
Step 9

Planning the move

So the design has been approved, your project plan is in place and the delivery team is on site building your new offices.

Now it’s time to look at planning the move and working with your project team to ensure it’s a smooth transition.


There is a lot to consider, including:
  • Will there be a phased move or will everyone move on the same date?
  • Where will staff and different teams be located and seated within the new office (or is it a hot desking workplace)?
  • How do you make sure the IT systems and internet are up and running on day one?
  • Do staff need cards or keys to access the new building in advance?
  • Who is ordering the coffee and tea bags?

It is also important to keep staff informed, so look into sending regular email updates, sharing progress pictures from the new office during the build and make sure all staff know everything they need to know in advance.

Remember, no surprises.

It may even be worthwhile arranging tours of the new space a few days/weeks in advance to get people used to and excited about the new space.

Step completed
Step 10

Move in day

The new office has been handed over on time and looks fantastic. All of the furniture has been installed. All of the IT systems and Internet are working perfectly and staff are arriving and inspecting their new workplace. What next?

It is important to proactively manage change by having a go-to person for staff to direct questions to about the new office.

Host a welcome breakfast or lunch to ‘introduce’ the new office and look at planning sessions with staff to gather feedback on what they like/dislike about the new work environment.

It may also be worth considering hosting an office party to introduce yourself to your new neighbours and to meet other companies in the building and general vicinity.

It is worth remembering that moving office is a major change and managing this change doesn’t end on move in day. We always recommend working with your partner to ensure that the office continues to work for your organisation and any tweaks are ironed out


Well done,
office move complete.
Take a look at some of the offices we have helped clients to create

ThoughtWorks

Livability

Autodesk

by
Morgan Lovell