Even a small office can present large challenges when it’s time to move into a new space. Whether your company is moving into a custom-built office or expanding to a new part of your current building, having a plan is essential. With an office moving checklist you can minimize down-time and build greater efficiency into your office organization from the start. Your preparation and organization will make the difference between a move that feels like a disruption and one that presents new opportunities for growth.

The more time you have to plan your move, the less upheaval it will create. Once you’ve signed a lease agreement or closed on the purchase of a new space and set a firm moving date, develop a timeline that details milestones for organizing the move, communication, equipment moves and data management. You may find it helpful to track these four interdependent timelines on the same spreadsheet or whiteboard using different colors.

Planning for Your New Office Space

Understanding the layout of your new office space can help make the transition seamless. This is your chance to create a more efficient workflow through better organization, including maximizing window space and optimizing your communication network. Some placement of items is non-negotiable. For example, your break room refrigerator needs a nearby outlet, and your reception desk must be near the main office entrance.

Getting blueprints and floor plans of the new office and walking through the space will let you establish these fixed reference points and decide where equipment should go. The printers and fax machines should probably go near your servers, as an example. Think of the usual work flow and use it to develop an efficient layout. If your art department communicates frequently with sales, you might group them in adjacent wings or offices.

  • Obtain blueprints for the new space when possible
  • Create a top-down floor plan if you have no access to blueprints
  • Determine absolute positions for equipment with specific needs
  • Arrange a walk-through and inspection of the new space as the move draws closer
  • Note any repairs or modifications the new office needs
  • Request quotes on repairs and construction
  • Reserve freight elevators or loading areas if necessary

Notifying Customers, Vendors and Service Providers

When you make a residential move, you have a long list of people and companies to notify; it’s no different for a commercial move. First, notify your in-house staff and your current landlord or building owner. Develop a list of others who need notification and add notes for associated marketing campaigns, if any, to generate interest from clients and prospects. If you move to a new region, press releases and advertising play key roles in building your new customer base. If you stay in the same locale, you must let your current clients know how to find you.

Depending on your industry, your notification checklist may include any or all of the following:

  • Vendors and suppliers
  • Banks, lending institutions and credit card companies
  • Professional organizations
  • Magazine and journal subscriptions
  • Financial advisors, including off-site payroll and accounting personnel
  • Internet and phone service providers
  • Insurance companies
  • Utility companies

Packing, Unpacking and Organization

For many offices, the most challenging part about moving is the physical aspect. Everything from sensitive electronics to break-room supplies must be packed and labeled. Working with professional movers can often cost more than moving without assistance, but you may find the increased expense is well worth it. When choosing a moving company, book well in advance. Waiting until the last few weeks before a move could lead to higher costs or even unavailability.

Whether you opt for professional movers or make the move yourself, invest in moving supplies. Boxes, tape and pens for labeling are essential equipment. For items that need special care when moving, bubble wrap or packing peanuts add a layer of protection against bumps and drops. Label boxes and file cabinets clearly with the contents and the expected location to let movers know where to place them.

  • Create a full inventory list of everything that will make the move to prevent losses
  • When in doubt, buy more packing materials than you expect to use
  • Provide employees with boxes and put them in charge of their own work spaces
  • Label every box with its contents and final location
  • Reserve elevators or loading zones to facilitate the move

Data Management

When moving electronics and communication equipment, neatly bundled cables can quickly become a spaghetti-like tangle without systematic organization. Some moving companies specialize in physical and electronic data transfer and will also help with installation in your new location. If you rely on in-house servers, this option is your best choice. Whether you move your own electronics or choose a professional service, follow this checklist to make the transition seamless.

  • Label and color-code all cables, wires and computer accessories
  • Create back-ups of all important data with removable media or at an off-site data center
  • Contact your new ISP well in advance to ensure no service interruptions
  • Pack all sensitive electronics in static-free packaging to prevent damage

Once you settle into your new office, you can enjoy the work that went into the move. With careful planning and organization throughout the transition, you will have your suppliers and clients wondering how you made a move look so easy.

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-Brandon’s a logistics and shipping writer with Craters & Freighters