The ultimate office move checklist (with a free template)

Reyna LaRiccia
Reyna LaRiccia

From remote work, to hybrid, to resigning because an employee doesn’t provide either of those options, the world of work has changed. But that’s not to say that the physical office is going anywhere soon.

In fact, a recent PWC survey found that only 13% of executives are ready to let go of the office for good, and 87% of employees say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships. 

What’s more, 87%  of executives expect to make changes to their real estate strategy over the next 12 months. These plans include consolidating office space in premier locations and/or opening more satellite locations.

Due to the increasingly fluid nature of workspaces, many companies are reimagining their physical presence. These changes often mean an office move and that means workplace leaders must stay prepared. 

Here’s the what, why and how of an effective office move. 

How do you plan for an office move? Things to consider 

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as  just picking up and moving everything to a new office. Below are a few things to consider when planning for your office move: 

1. Think about your timeline and create a schedule: Winging it doesn’t work when you’re changing office locations employees and vendors will expect a specific timeline and date for when they can expect to occupy the new space. Developing a detailed timeline for your move will help keep you on track and ensure that you’re meeting crucial deadlines.  

2. Conduct an analysis of your new space to fully understand it’s IT and spatial capabilities: Understanding your new space is imperative for making sure things get moved and set up in the right place. If you need specific IT functions, you should map out those spaces so the teams responsible for set up know where they should be.

3. Create a blueprint of your new office space to map out where things should go: Having a blueprint can help you organize the physical items you’ll need to move. For example, desks shouldn’t necessarily go where the new kitchen should be, right? 

4. Audit existing projects and think about how the move could impact deadlines and timelines: An office move is a huge undertaking, and it will undoubtedly impact any collaborative projects going on. Consider pausing any non time sensitive projects until everyone is established at the new space.

5. Develop a budget: Your budget for your move will dictate whether or not you can do things like hiring an external moving company or moving manager. A larger budget will allow you to outsource a lot of the trickier logistics of moving so you can focus on designation and orchestration. 

Your office move checklist

Moving anywhere is hard. But moving an entire office, employees and all? That’s even harder.

The key to doing it seamlessly (or at least, as seamlessly as possible) is staying organized. That's why we created a foundational checklist that you can personalize to the specific needs of your new office location. 

Download Robin's free template here.

Stage one: Plan the logistics

  1. Review your existing lease: Will you be fined for breaking your lease early? Are you responsible for any damages?
  2. Set your budget: You should establish a budget well before your actual move, ideally 6-8 months prior. This will determine the price of a moving company you can afford, where you can scale back, and where you should be spending.
  3. Consider a moving company: About 6 months before your move you should begin getting quotes from moving companies and determining which ones fit within your budget and meet your moving needs.
  4. Designate a moving team and/or manager: Do you have a facilities team that can orchestrate the move? Do upper level executives need to be involved in the move? Even if the work will be divided, it’s important to have a designated person or team that can facilitate orchestration.

Stage two: Communicate with key stakeholders 

  1. Notify your current landlord: Let your existing landlord know of your move as soon as possible. This gives them time to find new occupants.
  2. Ensure the current client list is up-to-date: An email or newsletter can let your current clients know you’re moving — important especially if they visit the office.
  3. Notify the post office and other important entities of your change of address: This ensures that important communications and deliveries are sent to your updated address.
  4. Review and update all delivery subscriptions: If you are currently receiving deliveries or receiving services on a subscription basis, they should be apprised of your move so that you have everything you need the day you step foot into the new office.
  5. Notify employees: Employees should be notified about 3 to 4 months before the move. Communications about the move should outline expectations and responsibilities.
  6. Assign responsibilities to team members: Let team leaders know how they should be dividing work amongst their team, i.e packing responsibilities.

Stage three: Conduct audits of supplies and equipment 

  1. Conduct an audit of existing furniture and order any you might need  for the new office: Tag or color code all existing furniture that is moving to the new office, and schedule pick-ups or removal of any furniture that’s no longer required.
  2. Collect moving supplies: If employees are responsible for packing their own items, make sure they all have the packing supplies they need (i.e cardboard boxes, tape, markers, labels, etc.).
  3. Transfer utilities:  Make sure you set a cancellation date for existing utilities as well as a start day for your new services.
  4. Establish security needs: If you require any security needs for your new office, you should contact the company you intend on using ahead of time to ensure their timeline is consistent with yours.
  5. Book loading bays or parking spots for day of move: Making sure you have the actual space to move in the most efficient way possible will ensure a smooth day-of-move.
  6. Determine the IT needs of the new office: Schedule service for close to the day-of-move.

Stage four: Get ready for moving day 

  1. Finalize plans with the moving team: Make sure that the moving team has the right amount of people for the job, and are still planning to be there at the designated time of arrival.
  2. Collect parking passes, key, access or security cards for the old office: Collect all employee access cards for the old office, and have new ones made and distributed.
  3. Backup important documents and data: Backing up information gives you peace of mind in case anything is damaged or lost during transit.
  4. Finish packing and labeling: It’s time to start wrapping things up! A few days before your move, make sure everything that needs to be in the new office is packed and labeled.

Moving offices for a changing workforce

No move ever goes perfectly. Whether you’re moving to a new house  or changing office locations, by referring back to a moving checklist, you can help minimize frustrations and help employees transition to a new location. 

Change is hard but in this new world of remote and hybrid work, flexibility is the key to ensuring that an office move goes smoothly.

Download Robin's free template here.

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