Now MT has finally settled into its swanky new home, we've had a chance to reflect on the nightmares involved in moving offices. Downsizing and expansion are part of business life, but when you decide to up sticks, there’s almost certainly going to be headaches involved. So we decided to ask CCT Interiors for their top tips on how to keep an office move smooth. (Just a pity we didn't think of this before we moved…)
1. Know your budget
The first thing on the agenda is knowing exactly how much you have budgeted to spend on the move. It’s the most business critical decision you can make when moving office and must happen long before you decide on your preferred paint colour or the picture frames for the managing director’s walls. Understanding the budget you have and everything it needs to cover will avoid you getting into trouble further into the process.
2. Analyse your existing office
Many of us get used to working in a certain way and change is a tough concept to sell to staff when looking at how your new office will work. Moving office needs to be viewed as an opportunity to work in a different way – so have a look at all the aspects of the working environment you provide for your staff and learn from current problems to create an environment that best enables your business to function efficiently.
3. Don’t waste space
Commercial office space is always expensive, so minimising the amount of space you take is often key to maximising its cost efficiency. A proper space plan could save you an extraordinary amount of money, as often requirements can be met with significantly smaller spaces than you might think.
4. Make the most of new technology
Gone are the days of rigid desk spaces and old working practices. Hot-desking is becoming increasingly common in offices and as such office spaces have to be more flexible. That means improving your systems to allow for home working and assessing exactly what technology you may need to improve productivity. This could range from teleconferencing software to videophones. Think about them before you start the process of moving office to make sure they can be set up and consider how spend on technology may reduce other costs.
5. Engage with your staff
Don’t forget that moving to a new office is a big decision and you should always involve your staff as much as possible. Deciding on the location is crucial to this: if your new location is significantly different, engage with all your employees from the outset and make them feel part of the process.
6. Look to the future
Some businesses that signed long leases with excess space in anticipation of continued expansion weren’t too happy when the financial climate meant downsizing became the order of the day. Being stuck with excess space can be extremely costly, so do the numbers first to understand whether it is better to be conservative now and move again in a couple of years if things go well, rather than betting the bank on your plans for the future. Negotiating good break clauses with your landlord is key to this so that you have the flexibility you need.
7. Go eco
Moving office is a great opportunity to improve the green credentials of your business and reduce your overall carbon footprint. Think about the heating, lighting, disposal and IT infrastructure you need with this in mind. Always consider the cost benefits and positive branding opportunities from creating a ‘green’ office space.
8. Move to a paperless office
Many businesses use an office move as a good opportunity to reduce the amount of physical documentation and paperwork held on site. Again, where space is at a premium, it’s expensive to take additional office space just to house old files and records. Instead, think about moving them to off-site storage facilities - or you could even take the step of moving to a paperless office by scanning your files.
9. Boost your brand
Remember that moving office should be seen as an opportunity to improve your business. Your brand is mirrored by the environment you create for your employees and clients, so think about what your brand represents and how to convey your culture through the office space you create.
10. Look at your competitors
Look at what are your competitors doing and how they are using their offices to market their products and services. Benchmark your own office space and designs against theirs to see if they stand up to the rest of your industry. Remember that your office is the overriding image your customers will take away with them when they come to see you – and, even more importantly, when you are recruiting staff they will often choose the most inspiring environment when deciding who to work for.
- James Coveyduck, director at CCT Interiors CCT Interiors
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MT Expert's Top 10 Tips: Move office without a hitch