Time to Relocate? The Ultimate Guide to Your Office Move

commercial movers

Are you planning to relocate your office to a new location? Transitioning to a new workspace can seem daunting, but with the right guidance and the assistance of experienced commercial movers, the process can be streamlined and efficient. 

Our ultimate guide comes stacked with practical tips and proven strategies. From choosing the right commercial movers to optimizing the moving process, this guide is designed to help your company successfully navigate your upcoming office relocation.

Here’s What You Need to Know on Planning an Office Move

The excitement of moving offices begins. You imagine the final product: everyone in your office working and flourishing in a new, well-organized office.

You panic when you realize you must organize your office and prepare for a move.

There are literally and figuratively many moving parts involved in office moves. You have to move everything but also consider the employees' happiness, the transitional workflows, and reorganization.

We've created a checklist to help you prepare for your move.

Breathe. This is what our group says is the most crucial part of moving.

Phase 1: Planning (12 – 6 Months Before the Move)

1. Choose one location to store all your office moving notes and tasks.

If you're moving, decide where to store and organize your notes, documents, and to-do list. Centralizing your information will save you time and frustration later when you realize that you have an office move timeline on Google Drive, a to-do lists inbox, or a list of employee comments handwritten in…one notebook, not the one you've lost from your bag.

2. Organize important documents.

Use the same method as in Step 1 to organize important documents such as insurance records, contracts, and agreements.

You can create a place for contracts and agreements if needed. This will help you to stay organized in the future.

3. Announce your move.

Plan an email, a newsletter segment, a town hall presentation, or a brief video to inform employees of the move.

No matter what format you choose, the announcement must be complete. Employees need to be informed of everything. The more details you include in the communication, the easier it is to understand all the steps involved with your office relocation.

When creating the announcement, ensure that any applicable items will be added to your master list. If, for example, your announcement assures employees that they will receive a “complete office move checklist for staff” of things to do before moving day, you should include a “making and distribution checklist” as a task in your timeline.

Include these items in your announcement:

  • New Office Name and Address
  • Dates for moving
  • The new office: Features and benefits
  • A CEO or key decision-maker quote can be used to justify the decision to relocate and even to get people excited about the transition.
  • What should employees do now if they have to
  • Employees should be expecting future moving information.

Plan to communicate with employees during the entire move after the initial announcement. Continue to step 4.

4. Speak to your employees.

Talk to your employees after the announcement to find out their thoughts. Ask employees for feedback on the aspects of the move or the new office you can control. Include this information in your planning:

  • Changes in workspace requirements (Some employees might request that standing desks, privacy screens, or lamps be installed).
  • Equipment needs (Replace broken keyboards, cracked screens, etc.)
  • Seating Changes (Some employees will need to or wish to change the teams and people they sit with.
  • Preferences for workstyle, particularly if you plan to have both an open and private space in your new office.
  • Wish items or suggestions.
  • Many issues prevent people from moving heavy boxes or helping to move work.

This communication can be delivered in many ways:

  • Communicate via department/division managers.
  • Send a survey
  • If your company is small, you can host one-on-one sessions.
  • Use your company's email delivery tool.
  • Use the internal Facebook group of your company.

Plan your subsequent communications after you have sent the first one. If your move is complex, you should communicate monthly until the moving date. Ask your internal communications team to help you with your message.

5. Budget and purchase process.

Establish guidelines to complete all purchases related to your move. Get a budget from the leaders of your company (preferably in writing) and get them involved with the process. You will be able to use a business card. Will you be required to submit an invoice? Who will be the person (or persons) who approves your vendor or purchase contracts?

This will help you visualize the moving process. If you require a team of three people to approve all contracts and purchases, you can plan for extra time to complete all tasks involving purchasing.

6. Record key information.

You should confirm and note any important details that may affect your move. Included in this list are:

  • Employee Headcount
  • Current office size
  • New office size

7. List what you already have and what you need.

Make two lists: one for the big things and another for the small. List two things:

  • What you're taking
  • What you leave behind

These lists will help you identify some of the needs you may have overlooked, especially when comparing them to your new office floor plan.

As an example…

  • You may need to buy new versions of these essentials to match your new office design.
  • Making an inventory list can help you remember to pack all the items in your old supply cabinet.
  • You might have to buy many new items for your kitchen if your new space is double the size of the old.

8. Discuss with managers the best way to move.

Juggling work and moving is a challenge. Encourage managers to create comprehensive plans for managing the workflows during the moving process. This is especially important if any critical deadlines fall in the moving period. Remember to remind them of the move as they plan and take on new projects.

9. Volunteers are needed for the moving committee.

Do not try to do it all alone. Find out if anyone would like to join an organizing committee.

Before you appeal, make sure to list your duties. Typical responsibilities include the following:

  • Planning
  • Packing
  • Unpacking
  • Organizing
  • Office design and decoration

Ask your supervisors if they will approve the idea of the team completing work related to moving during office hours. This will encourage more volunteers.

10. Create a separate address to receive questions about moving.

There will be a lot of questions about the move. Create a separate email address for moving-related correspondence and questions.

Phase 2: Preparation and Packing (6 – 3 Months Before the Move)

1. Request commercial movers recommendations.

Ask experts for advice before you waste time researching. They've likely organized many office moves. Join our State Of The Executive Assistant or State of Office Manager Facebook groups to ask for vendor suggestions and general advice.

What services and vendors do you need? Almost every office move will require the following:

  • Moving crew
  • Trucks
  • Boxes
  • Cleaning crews and cleaning services

2. Moving crews/moving companies that are reputable.

The moving company you choose will determine the success of your office relocation.

  • Ask the moving companies you have on your list some questions.
  • Flexibility (Will they come early or stay later if you ask them to?
  • What is the fee structure?
  • Reviews and reliability: What do former customers say?
  • Included services (Does the service include cleaning or packing?

Find movers who include everything, including the trucks, boxes, and cleaning. You can move to the next step if you cannot find a moving company that covers all bases.

3. Select moving boxes.

This task appears simple at first glance. Why do you need to plan months? You'll see why when you look at the various moving boxes and coatings available. Various moving boxes and crates are available, including giant stackable crates.

The boxes you choose should be unique to your move. Consider your budget, timeline, inventory, and moving workforce when choosing the right box.

4. Lockdown trucks in motion and the loading/unloading areas.

You should start this task as soon as possible if you still need to work with a company that can manage your pricing and secure trucks.

The same features you used for your movers will apply to the trucks:

  • Flexibility (Will they come early or stay later if you ask them to?
  • Fee structure (Does the company charge extra if you are stuck in traffic?
  • Reviews and reliability: What do former customers say?
  • Included services (Does the service include cleaning or packing?

Coordinate arrivals and departures once you've lined up the trucks. You can work with the building manager to determine ideal times and places for loading and unloading. Your trucks must be able to fit in the spaces without causing traffic disruptions. Ensure that your trucks can access all the entrances and exits of either building if it has an underground loading dock.

5. Choose a cleaning crew and service.

If your movers do not, you must hire someone to clean up the old space. If you are in a building, they may be able to handle this. If you need clarification, ask your building manager. You don't need to pay for cleaning that isn't necessary, nor do you want to be charged for not cleaning.

Is your new building equipped with an ongoing cleaning service? You must arrange a cleaning service if your new building does not include one. You can ask the company that cleans your building if they will also clean your new home. Just update your service contract with your new address.

6. Do some recon walks.

Even those who are very detail-oriented can miss some important details. Take a few slow, long walks around the workplace and take notes. Especially when you see things that:

  • Moving obstacles
  • Require major preparation
  • You will forget it easily.

You may have a large, permanently attached company sign. Removing and installing it will take a lot of workforces. The green trash can on the wall was only placed there to cover Taylor's hole in the drywall while he brought in the Yeti sculpture for the holiday party last year.

7. Downsize.

You can reduce the number of items you must move by using your time before moving wisely. Spend some time reviewing your inventory and tagging items with throwaway stickers. Purge one item a week to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You will only throw things out randomly if you are ready to pack. It also prevents you from packing and moving junk you don't need.

8. If necessary, plan a warehouse sale for your office.

Plan an office warehouse sale if you remove expensive items such as desks or chairs. You can then use the money you save to buy new items.

9. Start packing.

Pack early to avoid a stressful move. Completing the packing process in small, manageable steps is best. Sort your items into three categories. Make a list of “early birds” and a packing schedule for the rest.

  • Early birds. Pack these items that you rarely use but will always remember.
  • Make-do items. They are items that you may want to buy but are optional.
  • Absolute necessities. You'll want to ensure these items are packed the day before or before the move.

10. Organize a moving committee meeting.

The size of the move will tell you how often this group needs to meet. Weekly meetings are usually sufficient to cover all bases.

Before the meeting, decide what you want to discuss or ask for help. Send out an agenda to attendees so they can bring ideas to the meeting.

You will likely spend your first meetings talking and planning. As you near move-in, try to incorporate some packing and organization into your meetings.

11. Speak to your employees.

Continue to talk with your employees. There will be questions.

How to communicate effectively in this phase:

  • Post questions in a Q&A format in your communications. This will reduce the number of questions that flood your inbox.
  • Status updates. Status updates. Inform your employees of what you've accomplished and what is still to be done so that everyone feels informed.
  • Changes in day-to-day life. Identify how the relocation will impact employees' daily routines. Cover parking, especially if the structure is different from the old one. Employees will want to be informed when they can expect their space assignment, passes, or fobs.
  • You should also inform your employees about new neighborhood information, particularly if you are planning to move long distances. Inform your employees of local emergency numbers, restaurants, attractions, transportation hubs, and other amenities. You can turn this information into an entire web page or packet.
  • Repeat important information from the email announcement. It's not redundant; it is helpful. This information is so important that you may post it around the office for everyone to remember.
    • New Office Name and Address
    • Dates for moving
    • The new space has many features.

Caliber, the office furniture experts, agree that it is important to communicate key moving information to your employees. They also have some productivity hacks for your office once you move into your new space.

12. New seating arrangements can be created.

If you do not have a floor plan, you must create one. You can also use online tools to manage the office seating within your new floor plan.

Create a new plan based on the feedback from employees. Send it to everyone for review to give you ample time to implement any requested changes.

Set a deadline for any changes. You will need a finalized seating chart to complete your packing.

Phase 3: Moving and Organizing (3 to 0 Months Before Moving)

1. Label boxes and new office spaces to make sure everything is in the right place.

Office move experts in our State of the Office Manager Facebook Group recommend creating a labeling scheme that clarifies where each box should be placed.

Use any system you like, whether letters and numbers or shapes and colors. Ensure the labels on your boxes match the labels at the new office. It will be easy for the movers to match.

You can, for example, assign a team color and a number to each employee. Mark the sections of your office with the color of your team and the number of each employee. Label employee boxes with the color and number of their team.

2. Speak to your employees.

You should be able to answer employees' questions or concerns at the last minute. Let everyone know:

  • Provide any building access information necessary. You'll want to ensure you have the codes and key fobs to give out before sharing this information.
  • How to pack and label their products.

The key moving details should be repeated one more time.

  • New Office Name and Address
  • Dates for moving
  • The new space has many features.

3. Connect all utilities to the old building.

Connect your phone system, internet, electricity, and water to the new office. Disconnect all services related to the old building unless your building manager is in charge.

4. Pack only the absolute necessities.

It's time. You're almost there.

5. Plan your organizing and decorating.

You can plan your unpacking, organizing, and decorating in phases as you did when you packed. Decorate in phases. Consider converting your moving committee into a permanent office design committee to assist you.

Unpacking and organizing your belongings will likely mirror your packing plan:

  • Unpack absolute necessities. Unpack the absolute necessities.
  • Unpack make-do items. What can wait a few days or a week?
  • Pack away items that you don't use often. How can you organize items that people seldom use but still require?
  • Polish and tidy. How can you improve your office's organization now that everything is in place? What design and decoration work is needed for the new space?

6. Check the building regularly.

To ensure everything runs smoothly, check in often with your new building's manager. Check that all utilities are connected.

Plan a walkthrough two weeks in advance to ensure everything is ready for your team.

7. Unpack only the absolute necessities.

Your appeal should be directed at any IT specialists in your organization. Most of your needs require connecting and wiring computers and phones.

8. Move!

9. Pack the essentials you have identified above.

10. Celebrate your success by throwing a party.

Conclusion

Transitioning your office location is no easy feat – especially when you must ensure the least disruption possible to your daily operations. Office moving can be minimally disruptive through careful planning, open communication, obtaining the right helping hands, and a thorough understanding of your old and new office spaces. Per our guide, tasks such as initiating early packing, downsizing, organizing, securing reliable transportation and commercial movers, and remembering the meticulous work of local movers in NYC can make this process smoother.

As the dust settles and you find your business comfortably nestled in its new location, it's time to celebrate this mammoth achievement. A mission made easier with the help of experienced movers like “5 Stars Mover NYC” – the expert locals in NYC who ensure a hassle-free transition at every step.

As you step into your new office space, consider the effectiveness of your recent move. You might discover some new tips and lessons for future relocations. And, of course, if you find your business preparing for another such transition, remember to reach out to the trustworthy, expert hands of 5 Stars Movers NYC. Gear up and embrace the opportunities that your new office environment brings! Make your next move with 5 Stars Movers NYC; our commercial movers are always here to help!

Joseph Raphael

Joseph Raphael

Moving Company Expert

Joseph Raphael is a multifaceted professional who excels both in the literary world and the moving industry. As a writer, he has published numerous articles and essays in reputable publications, showcasing his unique style and thoughtful perspective. At the same time, he has been running his own moving company for over a decade, where he has honed his expertise in all aspects of the business. With a passion for excellence and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Joseph has established himself as a trusted authority in his field, while also pursuing his creative endeavors as a writer.