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The JK Moving Blog

The office move checklist: Planning an office move 101

Office move

How to create the ultimate office relocation checklist

By Lisa Picozzi

Planning and executing an office move can be a daunting process — especially if you’ve never tackled one before. Here, we show you how to stay organized, manage stress, and ensure a successful team transition to your new space.

What is an office move checklist?

An office move checklist is exactly what it sounds like: a comprehensive list for managing the relocation of your business from one property to another. As you might imagine, there are a lot of moving parts to this process, especially for a mid- to large-sized business with a substantial number of team members (and all of their belongings).

If you think of your office relocation checklist as more of a high-level strategic plan rather than a simple scratched list of “to-do” items, it’ll be far more likely to meet your needs for the smooth execution of a complex process.

Your checklist should consist of a master timeline, broken down into major milestones — along with any related secondary or subtasks — listed by date in descending order leading up to the day of your move. You should include notes on key team members to be looped into specific steps, along with their roles and responsibilities for the move. Consider using a shared document system like Google Sheets or Microsoft OneDrive so the members of your moving team can collaborate on the document.

Why make an office relocation checklist?

Creating a checklist is important because it will serve as the roadmap for your office move, not just for you but also for everyone else involved in the process. This vital document will help you ensure that no important steps get forgotten, and it will allow your team to track its progress as you advance toward your actual move date. In addition, if something does go wrong or gets damaged during the move, you’ll have a centralized list of the appropriate parties you need to notify so they can implement any necessary contingency plans.

How to create a checklist for office moves

When preparing for your relocation, you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready as far in advance as possible — and that you’ve set the right expectations with your team in terms of what will happen, and when, throughout the transition.

Read on to learn when you should start the planning process and which key items should be on your office move checklist to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Keep in mind that your business may have unique requirements not listed here, so you’ll want to factor that in when creating your own list.

Six months before the move

  • Review the existing lease at your current property.
    It’s probably been some time since you’ve reviewed your contract; now is a great time to refamiliarize yourself with its terms. For example, are you required to give a set amount of notice before cancellation? What happens if you’re ending your lease early? Understand what steps you need to take now, and determine whether an early exit will result in the loss of a security deposit.
  • Do a preliminary check of your existing office space to find and document/photograph any damage that might have occurred during your occupancy. Be aware that your organization will be financially responsible for those damages, as well as any new issues that arise during the move.
  • Get quotes from a wide variety of moving companies.
    As with any big-ticket purchase, you’ll want to understand the high and low end of the cost range for hiring a moving company and ensure you’re getting a fair price and quality service from a reputable vendor.
  • Assemble a planning team. 
    The team members you select should be qualified to manage and delegate a variety of both large-scale and detailed tasks in preparation for the moving project. Anyone with prior experience with the process will be an asset.
  • Obtain moving insurance coverage.
    This is especially important to keep in mind if you have high-value machinery or expensive equipment. Again, do your research and obtain multiple quotes. You’ll want to ensure that you’re not under-insuring your assets, while at the same time not paying for unnecessary excess coverage.
  • Set a reasonable master budget.
    Understanding your costs ahead of time and allocating the proper funds can help you save in the long run. You’ll avoid making last-minute decisions and impulse purchases that cost more than they would have if you had planned ahead.

Three months before the move

  • Finalize your move date.
    Contact your landlord to officially confirm your move date (Note: Ensure that the date you selected doesn’t conflict with other important company events or projects.)
  • Get the lay of the land at your new space.
    Obtain a floorplan and map out the configuration of desks, shared spaces, and office equipment. Address any discrepancies now while you have plenty of time remaining. For help, consult our primer on office space planning.
  • Consider any additional specialized services you might need.
    Does any of your furniture or equipment require special handling before the move? Will you need short- or long-term supplemental storage space? Are you transporting any hazardous materials? Do you want to hire an interior designer for your next office space? Do you need to order any specialized equipment? If so, make these arrangements now to ensure everything is available and in place when you need it.

Two months before the move

  • Ensure technology infrastructure is in place.
    Arrange for all telephone, internet services, and IT systems to be ready on Day 1.
  • Prepare new keys and passes. 
    Making a spreadsheet to keep track of who can access what will streamline this process.
  • Keep internal communication open.
    To avoid stress-inducing surprises on moving day, make sure you’ve shared a comprehensive move overview with all team members and that everyone is aware of the overall logistics as well as their individual responsibilities during the move.
  • Spread the word to your network.
    Post a general moving notice on all of your social media channels. Make sure you’ve also contacted all relevant parties so they have your new address and phone number, and understand when they become effective. Be sure to include:

    • Clients (including their accounting departments)
    • Banks and financial institutions
    • Your local post office
    • Utility and internet service providers
    • Maintenance specialists for items like photocopiers or printers
    • Insurance companies
    • Professional organizations
    • Any additional services or vendors your company uses
  • Take a full inventory — and consider storage and new purchase needs.
    Take note of all furniture, equipment, and office supplies and label everything clearly so it doesn’t get misplaced in transit. Make sure to take photographs through the process so that everything is properly catalogued. When finished, determine whether you need to make any furniture or equipment purges or purchases to fit your new space. Do you also need office storage for supplies that aren’t used on a regular basis?

 

While it’s a fact of life — and business — that a move is a difficult process even under the best circumstances, having a comprehensive office relocation checklist in hand will go a long way toward minimizing unexpected stress risers. Download the complete office move checklist to learn what to do one month, fifteen days, one week, the day before, and the day of your move. 

Download the complete office move checklist

Lisa Picozzi is a freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering a broad range of topics and industries.