March 13,

Monday, March 13, 2023

Office Moving Checklist and Timeline: The Ultimate Guide

moving officeMoving to a new office space requires an involved process similar to moving to a new home. The process consists in packing big, bulky office furniture, difficult-to-pack electronics, and multiple rooms of knick-knacks. Regardless of the company’s size, office relocation is an extensive undertaking. Use our timeline and checklist as a guide to assist with this process.

This is where you can start searching for relocation services and begin planning the logistics of the business move. Stay organized with the following step-by-step timeline.

Six months before your Move

  • Review the current lease – You could lose your deposit if your current office lease is still valid. Furthermore, it would help if you considered completing the necessary repairs before returning the key to the landlord.
  • Designate an in-office moving team – Do you prefer involvement in every aspect of the moving process or only certain parts? Should you be the point person or delegate that responsibility to a team member? Clearly define roles and delegate tasks to your moving project management team. For example, identify who will plan, pack, unpack, organize, and decorate the new office space.
  • Set a budget- It may be necessary to make adjustments along the way, but having an initial idea of how much you will have to spend will be helpful when communicating with moving companies. Identify your non-negotiables and assess where you can cut back to save money. Additionally, consider the purchasing process, including who will handle move-related purchases and how vendors will be compensated.
  • Decide on the level of moving coverage – Professional moving companies must offer at least one type of coverage called released value protection, which provides basic coverage up to 60 cents per pound. However, this coverage has limitations and may only partially cover essential items like electronics. Therefore, additional protection, such as purchasing full-value protection coverage or third-party insurance, may be worth considering. 
  • Make a decommissioning plan – Decommissioning an old office involves more than just cleaning. Additionally, it requires repairs to property damage and minor tasks like replacing burnt-out lightbulbs. Adherence to the conditions specified in your lease is crucial to avoid legal issues and to lose your security deposit. Therefore, creating a decommissioning plan early on is advisable as discussing with your moving team how to assign related tasks.

Start researching moving companies

  • Ensure that the moving company is licensed and insured.
  • Finding a commercial moving company is crucial since office moving services differ significantly from residential ones. By hiring a company experienced in commercial moving, you will have a better experience. 
  • Get at least three moving quotes. After identifying movers that can handle your commercial Move and are located in your area, obtaining a free quote from several is essential. We recommend getting quotes from at least three different companies.

Start a to-do list

  • Centralizing information is an excellent strategy to ensure everyone can access the same information.
  • To ensure that your employees are informed about the office move, it is recommended that you plan to send an email with critical information. After sending the email, it is also essential to schedule an in-person or online meeting where employees can ask questions and provide feedback about the Move, preferably a week or two after sending the email.

Ensure that everything fits in the new office

  • Save time, energy, and money transporting items that will only work in your new location.
  • Measure your conference room tables, large electrical equipment, and other space-consuming items.
  • Make sure your new office can accommodate your existing furniture and technology. If you still need to, you’ll want to know before moving in, not after.
  • Record what you’re taking and leaving behind, as it will help you communicate your moving needs. A complete inventory will help you to do so.

3-4 months before your Move

  • Solidify your moving plan – Create a moving plan by setting dates and tasks. Alternatively, you can give team leaders and delegate responsibilities to them directly.
  • Announce the moving date to your employees – Inform your employees of the moving date and communicate your expectations regarding packing up their cubicles, offices, workstations, disconnecting utilities, and other relevant details. Inquire about any health restrictions before assigning tasks that require lifting heavy boxes. 
  • Notify your current landlord – Inform your current landlord or property manager of your intention to terminate the lease as soon as you confirm your company’s move date.
  • Notify outside the company – Inform your partners, clients, vendors, and other business associates that you are moving as soon as possible. Provide them with your new contact information and address, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have regarding the Move.
  • Develop a plan for handling specialized equipment – Do you require assistance with moving hefty equipment or hazardous materials? Make sure to place an order ahead of time for items that take a while to build and ship.
  • Hire moving vendors – Hiring an interior designer to landscape or decorate the new office space may be necessary.
  • Start gathering moving supplies – Start sourcing specialty boxes, packing tape, and packing paper beforehand. While your office may have some basic supplies, like boxes, markers, scissors, and labels, you’ll likely need additional materials. Look for creative ways to get free boxes and other supplies from various sources.
  • Downsize – Approach purging with an open mind and label any items you plan to sell or donate. For example, you can organize an office warehouse sale or arrange for a charity to do a free donation pickup.

2 months before your Move

  • Design a floor plan –It would help if you determined where to place the office equipment and furniture, where the employees will sit, and where the common areas will be located. Arrange for the setup of garbage and recycling pickup or security services, as necessary.
  • Notify any vendors servicing your office that their services must be discontinued or transferred to the new location.
  • If you need assistance with furniture installation, make arrangements. Decorating also takes time, so plan accordingly.
  • Reserve offsite storage – If you need more room for items such as old files, holiday decorations, and office furniture that you don’t need immediately but might use in the future, reserve a commercial storage unit near your new office.
  • Come up with a companywide labeling system – Choose your preferred labeling system, whether numbers, colors, or shapes, as long as it is consistent throughout the office and all employees use it.
  • Start packing – You can pack the non-essential items that will be optional in the weeks leading up to the Move. This will help you prioritize important tasks, such as packing essentials, by getting them out of the way now.
  • Put address change orders in place – When you know your new address, it’s better to start ordering new business cards, letterhead, envelopes, return labels, etc., earlier rather than later and have your updated documents before your Move. Risking going days or weeks without them in your new space is not preferable.
  • Check on the new office – Does it require cleaning? Can you begin decorating and bringing the non-essential items that you’ve packed?

1 month before the office move

  • Keep tagging furniture, equipment, and office supplies  You can only finish it in a day because it’s a process. Ensure to check in with your moving team to confirm that the tagging is on track and that the employees have all they need to pack their desks.
  • Finalize plans with your moving team – Confirm the move date again and determine if a moving-day itinerary is necessary to coordinate the moving logistics.
  • Order keys and access cards – In advance, order keys and employee access cards for your new office to be ready to distribute before the old office permanently closes.
  • Back up data – Ensure that all essential data on your computer is backed up, and use hard drive mirroring software to duplicate your hard drive. This will enable you to replicate your current hard drive on a new system if something happens to your computers during transit.
  • Coordinate moving truck departure and arrival – Collaborate with your current and new building managers to arrange loading and unloading times. If there are loading docks available, that’s perfect. However, some pre-planning may be required if parking is restricted or the area experiences heavy traffic.
  • Get a handle on building rules – If your company doesn’t own the building you’re relocating from or to, you’ll need to obtain a complete breakdown of all building regulations related to the Move.
  • Attempt to move some non-essential items on your own first. – To simplify moving day, transport as few small items as possible, as long as there is a timing overlap with your new lease. 
  • Assign each person with the task of packing up their desk. Inform your staff in advance about when they need to pack up their desks and encourage them to do a little at a time to avoid last-minute scrambling. 

1 week before an office move

  • Update your address – Ensure you update your company website, financial accounts, social media accounts, subscriptions, and business listings (such as Google, Yelp, and local directories) with your new office address.
  • Before the moving day begins, please review the schedule with the team to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
  • Review what still needs to be done, confirm the movers’ arrival time, determine which items should be moved first and last, designate someone to supervise the moving crew on-site, and decide who will lock up after they leave.
  • Remind employees to finish packing – While your IT crew will likely pack laptops, monitors, and other IT equipment, all employees should finish clearing their desks and cubicles of office supplies and personal belongings.
  • Don’t forget IT – Disconnecting and reconnecting all of your techs is one of the most significant complications of moving to a new office space. Unfortunately, you can’t outsource this big job to the movers, so your team must start working on it as early as possible. If you plan to recycle unneeded equipment, consult the EPA’s resources to find out where and how to do it properly.

On the day of the Move

  • If desired, you or a designated person should also be available to provide the movers with gratuity and refreshments. Additionally, ensure that someone can clear a path for the movers.
  • Perform a final walk-through of your old office after vacating it. At the end of the Move, you should do a final walk-through of the old office to check for left-behind items and document any property damage. It is also essential to confirm your lease’s termination during this time.
  • Once you’ve completed your office move, take the following steps to settle into your new office space.
  • Unpack and test your technology. Make sure to troubleshoot any issues to avoid any interruptions in conducting business.
  • Double-check your change-of-address updates. Ensure you have notified all necessary parties of your Move, updated your online presence with the new address, and confirmed that any stationery, business cards, labels, or other materials reflect the latest information.
  • Meet with your post-move team. Assign tasks such as removing tags, unpacking, and stocking the kitchen, restroom(s), and supply cabinets to employees. Discuss with the team to ensure the workplace looks professional, and everything is set up promptly.
  • Celebrate your new digs. Discuss and plan this with your team to ensure everyone is included and can look forward to the event.

Moving Office FAQs

What is involved in moving office?

  • Planning and organizing an office move requires collaboration with your office’s moving team to accomplish all necessary tasks. Start by researching and selecting a moving company with office relocation experience. Then, work with them to plan the specifics of your unique Move, considering your needs and budget. It would be best if you also whipped your new office into shape, whether that means cleaning, decorating, or remodeling.
  •  Packing is required; you must work with your employees to ensure they know their tasks and deadlines. After the Move, you might have to clean your old office. Finally, you can begin setting up your new office. Hopefully, you can celebrate after all this hard work.

What is the time frame for moving an office?

  • Several tasks must be completed before the movers load everything up. The Move typically takes only a few hours or up to a day for local moves. However, for long-distance moves, the duration will depend on the distance your belongings have to travel and could take a few days.

How can I successfully move my office?

  • We recommend following the above timeline and taking the following steps to move your office successfully:
  • Start early.  Assign employees tasks, such as packing their desks. Develop a clear IT disconnect/transfer/setup plan. Please familiarize yourself with the rules of your old and new buildings Order address changes early on. Label boxes diligently. 

Ready to organize your office move?

  • Planning and organizing an office move requires creating a moving team early on and ensuring everyone knows their role. It’s essential to plan to avoid missing any critical tasks. When hiring a moving company for your commercial relocation, verify that they are licensed and insured. This will help alleviate stress and keep things on track.

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