Any office move requires a strategic plan for it to be executed successfully. Whether you’re relocating to another town, seeking to reduce your overhead costs with a cheaper lease, or simply moving closer to your target market. You need to prepare and coordinate an office relocation while ensuring business continuity. Here’s a guide on how to plan your office move in Kenya
First, consider your business needs
When it comes to moving office, there are several factors to consider before moving day.
The office space
Your ideal office space is guided by the current and future needs of your business. This is not only limited to the look and feel of the new place but the functionality and sustainability of this investment. If you’re transitioning from a traditional office setup to a flexible, hybrid working space, then you might need the expertise of an interior designer, an architect, or some tech-savvy consultants. You may even consider moving to serviced office temporarily or getting storage space depending on the turnaround of the moving process.
The area you choose to move to will determine the clients you attract. For instance, when you’re searching for movers near me, and you live within Lavington or Kileleshwa, chances are high, Google will recommend the centric moving company to you. In your moving checklist, consider how your office space and location will affect your revenue.
In the recent past, companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Visa, set a base in Kenya. They recognized the rising quality of Fin-tech talent in our country and needed to settle nearby. In the same case, your current employees and new hires will decide whether to continue working with you based on their commute and the environment. Is it desirable, or are there better options?
Will the office relocation affect your staff’s productivity or well-being? The holistic approach to your employees’ well-being rides not only on your organization’s culture but the amenities that come with your new workspace. From green spaces with natural light, easy access to healthy nutritious food, ample parking, and security. Creating an optimum work environment that boosts your employees’ mental health positions your company as an ideal place to work.
Now, lets move to the office moving checklist.
Step 1: Select the moving day
Now that you’ve settled on your office space, pick out a moving day or period. This will depend on the volume of your office items and the distance from your current location to your new location. Choose a timeframe that allows you to prepare for an office move and has minimal distractions during your move. A weekend or a long holiday will be ideal. Give yourself six weeks to two months in advance if the terms of your lease allow. Next, how do you prepare for an office move?
Step 2: Announce your office move
Once you pick a moving day(s), you’ll sign a lease with the new property managers or owners. The next step is to notify all stakeholders involved in your office relocation. Remember, this is not a house move where only your family members are involved. Communicating an office move to your landlord, employees, clients, and business partners is critical.
Give an official notice to your current landlord/landlady.
Ensure it aligns with the lease agreement to avoid any inconveniences unless it’s an emergency. If you need help in this area, seek counsel from property managers or the business premises rent tribunal.
Announce your office move to your employees
- Communicate the office move to your employees: Organize an announcement meeting for all your staff members. Make sure they all hear of the move at the same time. Share this in an informal setting, possibly over breakfast or lunch. You can order in to set the stage for positive interaction.
- State the reason for this move in a positive light. Give detailed information to alleviate any assumptions or fears of layoffs. Highlight a space in the new office that will evoke enthusiasm such as improved ventilation, access to better amenities, or a shop outlet. There’s always something positive even when it’s a downgrade.
- Provide the details of the move. Office location, moving date, amenities of the new office space, moving checklist, and contacts of the moving company that’s coordinating the office move.
- Get employee feedback. Let them know it’s their space and their input is valid.
- Follow up with official written communication via email.
- Be sensitive and open to change. Some employees may choose to leave and it’s understandable.
Announce your office move to your clients
Your clients include customers, vendors, creditors e.t.c… Allocate a team to list them all with their contact information and send your relocation announcement letter via email. Share the reasons behind the office move aligned to your client’s business needs for example “they’ll experience faster turnaround times in their service delivery.” Reassure them of business continuity while stating the important dates:
- dates the current office will be open,
- the moving day(s),
- the date the new office will be open, and hours of operation.
If any major service provider requires notification on the relocation of services such as telecommunications, include it.
Step 3: Create an office relocation team
This is the time to lean into the strengths of your staff members. Have a team responsible for the project and report to the office move manager. They will come up with an action plan for the office relocation. This information will be relayed to a moving consultant to coordinate the logistics. Here are some qualities to look out for when searching for a professional mover.
Step 4: The moving budget
Settling on an office moving budget needs time and research. There are hidden costs that you should be aware of when planning for office relocation.
- Goods in transit (GIT) insurance is also known as inland marine insurance. Make sure your property or office equipment is insured against damage or loss in transit or in storage. Most movers will have personal indemnity cover to protect their staff and property insurance. Whether you’re moving within the property, across the street, out of town, or across borders, it’s your responsibility to protect your office equipment and belongings.
- Moving Storage may be required in the event your notice is up, but your new office isn’t ready for occupancy due to renovations. Having a pre-move assessment will help you establish the cost for the lease period. It may come in form of leasing a pod, a moving container, or storage space.
- Cleaning before and after the move may require hiring professional cleaners especially if there were changes done like partitioning, paintwork, cabling etcetera. You want your office looking prime and proper not only for your employees but clients or walk-ins.
- Dilapidation of the current office location is unavoidable during any move no matter the size of the office space. In most cases, it’s covered by the rental deposit or goodwill. To manage your expectations, check in with your lease agreement, and the property manager or agent after the move.
- Office fit-outs are a necessity to match the floor plan but come at a cost.
- Branding your space isn’t just having your walls match your logo. It’s creating an ambiance. A vibe that gives your business a verbal and visual identity. Since you’re moving to a new location, outdoor signages will attract municipality fees and leasing branding space.
- Extra IT relocation services: For organizations that want a seamless transition, you may need to automate or backup your operations on the cloud for continuity of business operations. Avoid any downtime, loss of critical data, or cyber-attacks when you least expect it.
- Staff relocations: When moving to another town, country or even an international move you may want to factor in this cost for staff that you’ll still be working with.
- Severance package: Employees may opt to leave the organization, or you may have to lay off some staff depending on the circumstances of your move.
- Finally, remember to include the cost of hiring office movers. Get a quote from moving experts after conducting a site visit and establishing your expectations. Book your move in advance to avoid the last-minute rush.
Step 5: Establish an office relocation action plan
Identify what’s a priority and if external support is needed. Some key items to focus on include;
- Make an inventory of everything that’s moving to the new office space.
- Have a labelling plan for each department and staff – you may consider a colour code and staff id here.
- Declutter: Know what’s to sell, throw away or store safely
- Spring cleaning and updating your office equipment
- Order moving supplies such as moving boxes, tapes, crates, and labels from the mover in advance if need be especially for confidential files, staff desks, etc…
- Set aside a time for staff to pack their desk. Give clear instructions on how they’ll do it and where they’ll be working from on moving day.
- Set up parallel systems to ensure business continuity
- Know who will handle the confidential information of all your stakeholders.
- Ensure your servers are safe and secure.
- Announce your move publicly on email, social media, and website.
- When to contact a moving company.
Step 6: Brief the moving team
The moving team will include the office move manager and the movers. Avail all the details of the move including the office plan to ensure they know what goes where. Share the inventory list as well. For ease of access from the current office to the new office, provide a copy of the keys, and temporary security access codes. Reset this once the move is finalized.
Give clear instructions of who is doing what, and exchange contacts in case of an emergency.
Step 7: Settling into the new office
You’ve moved successfully, now what? Ideally, professional movers should unpack and set up every item according to your explanation including furniture installations. However, check your floor plan, inventory list, and IT equipment. Take note of adjustments needed and test out your equipment to make sure they are all in good condition and operational. In the event of any damage communicate this to your the moving company and insurance company immediately for repairs or compensation.
Announce your move publicly to the rest of the world. Do it via email, social media, and website. Remember to update your address on google maps and email signature.
Celebrate and thank your office staff for helping out during the move then open your doors and embrace your new neighborhood. Enjoy it!