1. Identify what you can achieve when you move
There are so many reasons why companies move. Growth. changes in technology, changes in route to market and changes in your current locale all play a part. Regardless, timing is likely to coincide with a break in or the end of your lease.
Moving creates massive opportunity. You will know where you are and what you have and you will probably have been living with limitations for some while. Any move will need to address these, BUT, it’s also an opportunity to make improvements to the way you operate and to improve staff and client’s experiences. Your new premises will say a lot about you.
What can be achieved
• Improvements in working practices; new ways of working and encouraging creative thinking
• Promoting your brand and your identity using imagery and styling in smart and creative ways
• Portray your business as an up to date, technology led modern organisation
• Developing and building your culture through improved communication, collaboration and new methods of working
• Focus on staff well-being and work life balances
• Create a space for agile workers so they feel truly appreciated and a visit to the office becomes something to look forward to
• Bringing the outside in with creative use of biophillic options
• Improvements in staff retention, recruitment, morale and motivation
2. Identify your decision makers and create your team
Your project manager needs to be a strong leader. A champion. They need to have board backing and have the authority to make decisions. They need to have an in depth knowledge of how your business works; commercial nous and know what the businesses ambitions and drivers are. They need to be open to considering new ways of working and they need to balance individuals needs with that of the organisation and its clients. A strong communicator, they will work closely with the rest of the team to minimise delays and keep the project on target. You will benefit from input from marketing, facilities, operations, finance HR, IT and staff engagement is invaluable.
3. Identify what you want
What size space do you need? How about parking and public transport links? How accessible should it be for your staff? What sort of commute is acceptable? What’s your budget? Do you need gym or café facilities close by? And how about communication and IT. What do you need?
A good interior architect/designer can help with feasibility studies to help identify how much space you need. Each business is unique and one size does not fit all. You might need more or less meeting space. You might need larger or smaller desk space. You might need a showroom or an in house canteen. All of these feed into your space requirements.
4. Identify your new premises
Take recommendations and search on line. The more you research the area and the more you understand the technical side of the commercial property market the better placed you’ll be. You may be able to negotiate with your landlord to support the cost you will incur moving and fitting out the premises.
5. Select your interior architect/designer
Rank your key decision making criteria which will include at least some of the following
Your partner should offer
• Proven track record
• Health and safety record
• Financial stability
• Turn-key solutions
• Design only solutions
• Reference sites
• Project management
• Mood boards, product samples, plans and visuals
• Knowledge of ergonomics
• An ability to manage costs using design decisions and material selections
6. Work together
You will be working closely and collaboratively with multiple stakeholders including your chosen interior architect/designer.
There will be challenges along the way. You need a partner who will creatively challenge you; be there to support you when the pressure is on; accommodate your changes; offer insight and innovation and prompt you into action as important deadlines approach. The relationship is key and will develop as your designer gets to know you, your business, your branding, your aspirations, your needs and your team. Their input will help to develop the design but to achieve the best possible outcome, they will want to meet with your colleagues. This interaction will motivate and enthuse and build a positivity as people anticipate the benefits that the new office will deliver.
With the support of your interior architect/designer challenges can be identified early on and a project plan can be agreed so that they can be successfully managed.
7. Agree the design
There’s so much to think about. How many meeting rooms? What size should they be? How do you communicate and collaborate? Do you have areas for concentration and relaxation? Do you have specialist IT needs? How do you support a diverse work force ensuring that each individual is able to contribute fully? Do you want to challenge existing internal groups and working practices? Do you want to make cultural changes? What IT needs do you have.
As you work through these concepts, the design will start to take shape. 2D plans, 3D visuals and video fly-through will allow you to improve the design both functionally as well as aesthetically.
Once you have agreed the design, you will be able to identify pricing. Some additional cost engineering with the support of your designer will secure the right form, function and value.
8. Create the plan and make the move
You will need to think about everything that’s needed to make your new offices operate. From the construction work to the IT and from the desks to the coffee cups. How will your waste be managed? Who will provide your alarm system? How will you inform your business partners about your change of address? Do you need to order any stationery? You need to create and finalise a plan so that you can ensure everything happens on time and in succession and you will need to form a team to take responsibility for the various elements. The team will need to meet regularly. Site visits will help enormously. But most of all, a successful delivery is achieved by creating a robust plan, implemented by a committed team with constantly open channels of communication.
Having decided what you will be transferring and what you will be buying new, you will need to find suitable partners and establish a realistic schedule which allows you to seamlessly transfer from one premises to another. You need to allow sufficient time for newly purchased products to be delivered and you need to make sure that you plan and prepare for the packing and transfer of items from your existing premises. All of this needs to be meticulously planned.
Staff need to know about their new location and any security access needs to be managed in advance. They will need to know where their desk is; where they can park; how meeting rooms are booked and where they hang their coat.
Keep colleagues informed and meet regularly so that you can share the workload and keep on track.
9. Settle in
Why not have a coffee morning or lunch party on the first day you operate from your new offices? Try and get managers to block the day so they can host their team and they can share the excitement of experiencing the new premises together? There will be boxes to unpack and there will be teething problems but if you can create a sense of fun and camaraderie, it will ease the stresses and take the heat out of any issues. Normal services can resume on day two, but why not start off as you mean to go on and make day one about enjoying your new premises; enjoying your colleagues and supporting each other.
Don’t forget the launch party. Give yourself chance to settle in and then invite your customers, staff, local dignitaries and stakeholders. A party on the premises gives everyone a change to share in your success and is such a positive message.
And finally, survey your staff after the move. The feedback will help you to re-inforce the positives of the office move and identify and tackle any issues that may have cropped up.