Relocating your business can help you expand your operations and perhaps reach a new market. However, moving your entire office will require careful planning. Any company has a considerable amount of collateral — computers and electronics, furniture, various office supplies, and more. Relocating your business means keeping track of and moving and/or storing all of your office essentials.
Whether you are headed downtown or across the country, downsizing or expanding operations, you will need to take into account several considerations. Knowing what to do when relocating your business can help make a complicated and overwhelming move less time-consuming and expensive.
1. Donate Old Equipment
Aside from a potential tax break, donating your old or unwanted office equipment can be a great way to save some money during your relocation. Additionally, donating items can also save you time, as you won’t need to move as much equipment to your new location.
Getting rid of unwanted, outdated, and unnecessary equipment means that you no longer have to store it. Storage units are useful for most businesses, though paying for less storage means more money for you and your company. You can donate computers, printers, routers, phones, and much more to various charities, or simply to be recycled.
2. Start Packing Early
Even if you have donated items, you will eventually need to start packing up your office essentials, and packing sooner rather than later can save you more time in the long run. Additionally, packing early can help you better organize what supplies you will need immediately, as well as give you a strong understanding of the equipment and inventory you currently have. This preparation will minimize any unpleasant surprises that may pop up when settling into your new location.
Mark Boxes Properly
When packing, label all your boxes properly for a much less time-consuming and stress-free move. Knowing what is in each box will ensure that they get to where they need to go, as unmarked boxes tend to fly under the radar and can go unnoticed, causing confusion and wasting time. If your boxes are going into temporary storage, and mainly if you will rely on that equipment shortly after that, you will want to mark them accordingly. Failure to do so might mean higher than expected downtime as you try to locate supplies and equipment vital to regular business operations.
Any office will likely stock a substantial amount of office supplies. Staplers, pens and pencils, papers and documents, business cards, and various sundries will all need to be packed away into boxes.
Although it might be tempting to load as many office supplies as possible into one overfilled, heavy box, it will be less physically demanding to pack items into multiple containers. Additionally, heavy boxes may tear apart, and you may break or lose things in the move. You may want to get individual boxes, such as letter file boxes, for sensitive files to make sure important information stays legible and protected. As noted above, it is always a good idea to mark your boxes of office equipment so that you won’t have to waste time opening them to see what is inside.
Desks, filing cabinets, cubicle dividers, couches, and more all can be bulky and difficult to move. Whether you have professional movers or not, you will want to take special care not to damage your office furniture, or to cause any injury to yourself or others. All drawers from office furniture should be emptied out, and the contents packed, discarded, or recycled. This will make your office furniture lighter and easier to move. Make sure you unbolt furniture, such as conjoined desks, and disassemble furniture that can be taken apart to reduce weight and make moving your furniture manageable.
3. Packing Electronics
You’ll want to take special care when packing your electronics. Your computers, supporting devices, and data storage hardware are some of the most expensive and indispensable tools in any office. Damaging or losing these items can be costly, if not fatal, to your business.
Computers & Data
You'll want to back up any data you deem necessary before unplugging and packing up your computers. Several things can happen to your computer during the moving process, and losing your data can be a significant inconvenience to your business operations.
Additionally, you'll want to pack each of your computers separately. It may save time and space to include two or more computers in a box; however, they will be more susceptible to damage this way. If you have or can find their original box and packaging, utilize them — whether transporting them to their new location or putting them in temporary storage.
You'll want to take the same precautionary measures with your printers, routers, and other office electronics as you do with your computers. If possible, pack them in their original boxes, as their original packaging is tailored specifically for their safety. Although they may not host precious data, properly shut down all electronics before unplugging them and packing them away for transportation or storage to ensure they function properly when unpacked.
Of course, your office computers and electronics cannot work without their respective wiring and cables. For secure handling, you will want to bundle these cords up individually, perhaps securing them with zip ties, and store them separately from their associated products. This will help prevent knotted cables, as well as mitigate potential mishaps when carrying your electronics with the wires attached to them. For extra organization, pack the same wires and cables together by form and function. For example, pack all USB cables in one box and all power cables in another. As always, label your boxes so you can tell what cables are in them.
Office Move Checklist
Moving can be a daunting task. It can help to make a checklist of the things you will need to do before moving day. Below are some things that should be on your checklist before relocating your business to a new location:
- Know your new location with complete accuracy; getting lost while moving, or improperly directing others, can be disastrous
- Set a firm budget for moving expenses
- Make sure all current permits are valid at the new location
- Hire movers if necessary (and if within budget)
- Notify your employees and customers of your change of address well in advance of actually moving; multiple “change of location” announcements are encouraged
- Make sure utilities are up and running at the new location, including electricity and water
- Make sure your phone and internet work at your new location before moving in
- Take inventory of all office equipment and supplies, and double check that inventory when unpacking
- Pack, store, dispose of, and/or recycle all used and unused office equipment
- Thoroughly review your new floorplan to get a sense of where you plan to place equipment and employee workstations
- Acquire keys and/or access cards to your new building, and make sure that all employees can/will have access as well
- Clear out the old location and clean the space
Moving from your old office into a new one is similar to moving into a new house; even if business relocation may occur on a larger scale, the core principles are mostly the same. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may need to accomplish additional tasks before moving — however, any company, regardless of size, should consider the above information before relocating to ensure that their business move runs smoothly and successfully.