Moving is generally considered to be a pain, but it can also dramatically benefit your business. You might be moving to a better location to improve visibility. You might be looking for more space to anticipate and support growth, or you might be downgrading in order to save money. Whatever your reason, make sure that you follow these steps to help the move to your new office go smoothly.
Before You Move
1.Explain the Advantages of Moving
Whatever your reasons are for moving, make sure you explain them in detail to your employees. You wouldn’t be moving if you didn’t have a good reason, so make sure everyone is on board with the move. Ease the transition to a new place by doing a bit of research about the neighborhood you’re moving to. Send an information packet to your employees with information about local attractions and things to do in the new area, or go the extra mile and take them out to happy hour close to your new location to help them get acquainted with it.
2.Get Employee Input
Talk to your employees about where you’re planning to move. Discuss how the move might affect their commutes and assuage any concerns that may come up. Have them submit suggestions if they have any. Also, make sure to tell your employees about the move well in advance, so they have time to prepare (e.g. to look for new residences or explore transportation options.) If the move dramatically affects any of your employees, try being more flexible about work hours or consider allowing them to work from home or “go virtual” (see Should Your Office Go Virtual?)
3.Provide Parking Options
Does the new office have ample parking space? And who pays for parking? Explain the advantages or disadvantages of the new parking situation. Depending on your location and parking options, perhaps you can encourage people to walk, bike or ride public transportation to work (see Tools and Tips for an Eco-Friendly Office). Some great ways to save money on parking costs and to encourage green commuting are to reimburse employees for parking costs or provide them with a place to store their bikes.
1.Notify the Appropriate People
Technically, this should happen before moving day, especially for brick and mortar businesses. Make sure that everyone involved with your business knows where you’re moving, including customers, suppliers, business contacts, etc. Send the message through your social media accounts, your website and email marketing service.
2.Update Your Mailing Address
If you’re not using a virtual mailing address, update your mailing address on all of your business accounts, your website, business cards and other promotional materials. Remember to have incoming mail and packages forwarded to your new address. This is a good reason to use a virtual address (like a virtual mailroom, private mailbox or virtual office), since you won’t have to change your mailing address every time you move.
Geoff Williams of AOL Small Business advises you to save money by hiring movers without renting the moving vehicles. He cites resources like http://www.amlpa.org or http://www.movinglaborbrokers.com to help you find movers who will move your stuff to the vehicles you provide and into your new office. Also, try to cut down on per-hour moving costs by geting your employees to move smaller, lighter objects in their personal vehicles.
4.Get Rid of Junk
Use moving as an opportunity to donate, recycle or sell old hardware, furniture or equipment. The more stuff you give away, the less you’ll have to move into the new place. And honestly, if you’re moving a bunch of clunky hardware (like giant fax machines, copiers or computer towers), it’s probably time to upgrade your stuff or switch to cloud computing tools, like online fax services and business VoIP phone system.
5.Make Moving Fun
A lot of articles have been written about how to keep your employees productive during a move, but do they need to be? Moving is stressful enough, so make it fun. Get the entire team involved, and have an office moving party. Your employees could use a break, especially if you’re moving during the hot summer months. But don’t let operations completely slide and be totally unavailable to customers or business contacts. Use your virtual PBX to forward your business line to your cell phone on moving day. You could even get your customers involved in the move by holding an event or inviting them to a grand opening party.
Moving to a new location can mean turning over a new leaf and getting a fresh start. Just remember that the more your prepare for your move, the less painful it will be.