In 2017, we moved to a new building. We’d like to use our transition as an example in breaking down our experience with project management & office moves. Our hope is that, by reading this, you can avoid learning some of these lessons the hard way. In this installment of the blog series, we’re going to outline how to go about determining the key components for your office move: this involves delineating what will be required to meet your objectives and establishing criteria to be used in selecting & setting up your new space.
Types of Moves
Many of the goals attached to an office move can be attributed to the type of project you’re undertaking. While the scope of an organization’s projects is varied, “office moves” typically encompass the following:
- Box & Furniture Moves: employee relocations and reconfigurations of furniture, not including construction & outside the scope of routine maintenance.
- Renovation & Construction Moves: updates to & reconfigurations of office space involving demolition of hard walls, HVAC, lighting & power distribution, or communication lines.
- Safety- & Compliance-Related: general quality improvements, generally to meet codes & regulations. Indoor air, ingress/egress, ADA, etc.
- Sustainability Improvements: projects designed to lessen consumption & conserve resources.
- Fixed Assets & Equipment: adding new equipment or exchanging fixed assets.
- New Construction: any combination of engineering, building, installation & assemblly/fabrication required to create a new facility or reinvigorate an existing facility.
Determining the type(s) of project on your slate is fundamental to defining the avenues by which your office move will meet the desired objectives. At OFW, we’ll be building out a fair amount in the new space. We’ll be erecting new breakrooms & bathrooms, walled offices, and points of entry following the demo of some existing partitions. Then we’ll be on to moving our workstations & inventory.
The amount of renovation in the works for our new location affords us the opportunity to basically start anew: strategically set up our operations space, find more sustainable solutions for maintaining the real estate, revamp our branding & design our visitors’ experience from scratch.
Components of Your Office Move
Once the type of project being undertaken is understood, it’s time to draft the list of requirements, goals & desires to result from your efforts. We’ve found time & again that there are 4 broad considerations to make for your move:
In thinking about your new location, consider the following relationships & how to mitigate foreseeable issues:
- Business | New Space: how will your operations be affected in a new building?
- Business | New Environment: how will your surroundings affect your operations?
- New Space & Environment | Customers: how will your target market respond to relocation?
- New Space & Environment | Employees: how will your staff respond to relocation?
Since we’re (literally) moving across the tracks, we can expect that our “new environment” will not deter our regular business. Of course, there will be serious effort put toward building relationships with our new neighbors & promoting our new address. The amount of work we’ll put into the physical structure gives us a carte blanch opportunity to ensure that the new space caters to our customers, employees & operations.
- What storage is needed by the organization on the new site & during the move?
- What needs to be kept & what can be purged?
- Which technologies can you leverage to help you streamline/consolidate?
We’re in a uniquely lucky position when it comes to storage: we have trucks, we have crates, and we’re transitioning warehouses. There is generally an abundance of space at OFW. However, coordinating that storage, disposal & consolidation gets difficult when you’re keeping track of inventory and running regular operations. Make sure everything you’re preparing to move has a place to land!
Work Area Types
Determining what types of workspaces will be incorporated into your new space involves much more than taking a headcount of employees in cubicles, offices & reception positions. Consider the following questions:
- What positions have a high churn rate? Which positions involve remote work? What positions necessitate privacy?
- How much space will you need for equipment-dedicated areas? For common areas? For meeting spaces?
- Do you have conservative, moderate & aggressive estimations of growth to base your requirements upon?
At OFW, we need about half a dozen private offices, workstations to accommodate the rest of our administrative staff, a robust operations section for inbound/outbound logistics, multiple meeting spaces available to anyone, an event space, and a reception area with space for our visitors to lounge. We’re accounting for possible growth in both business & staff by creating these spaces with flexible components that will facilitate easier additions and transitions.
Space | Employee Congruence
Developing a logical process to determine “who gets what space” should include conditions such as position, time spent in office & growth/churn rates. Consider an example from OFW – there’s one office up for grabs between the following two people. Who gets the office?
Austin is our Finance Manager. He’s a few years out of university & this is his first such position. He spends most of his time at work in his office & the adjacent offices, manages meticulous digital organization, and has his workspace decked with calendars & to-do’s.
Carl is our VP of Sales. He has over 20 years’ experience in sales in addition to his drafting skills from his mechanical engineering education. He always has his notebook with him & spends (ideally) about 50% of his time prospecting, 25% of his time with clients, and 25% of his time in the office doing paperwork.
Traditionally, the office would probably get assigned to Carl because of his title & experience. However, Carl only really needs space to organize the paper material for his projects and to discuss projects with clients. He leverages digital/cloud storage & typically has a conference room at his disposal if privacy is needed. Austin handles sensitive documents & acts as a landing pad for documents, checks, etc. His space needs to be more static than Carl’s, so Austin gets the office.
“Have to Haves” vs. “Nice to Haves”
Once you’ve identified the key components of your office move, it’s time to strike the most effective balance of needs satisfied. This involves establishing criteria for the outlined components based on the goals set for the office move, then collecting input to guide progress. After you’ve determined the list of desired components,
- Prioritize the list from most necessary to least crucial
- Create a survey for key decision-makers with detailed questions for each component to gather objective feedback
- Evaluate these responses en masse & refine your list of components accordingly.
Thanks for Reading!
This piece examines outlining key components of your new space – check out the infographic below, print & share as you like! Looking for something a little more in-depth? We’ve poured 50+ years collective experience in project management and commercial relocation into one robust resource – click the link below to receive your complete PDF whitepaper for “Surviving the Move”!