How to create the ultimate office relocation checklist
By Lisa Picozzi
Planning an office move can be a daunting process — especially if you’ve never tackled one before. Here are some tips on creating an office move checklist 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 office move 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 who need 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 create an office relocation checklist?
Creating an office relocation checklist is crucial as it serves as a roadmap for your entire move, providing guidance not only for you but also for all parties involved in the process. This vital document helps prevent important steps from being overlooked and allows your team to track progress leading up to the move. Additionally, in the event of any issues or damages during the move, the checklist provides a centralized reference for notifying relevant parties and implementing contingency plans.
How to create an office move checklist
When planning an office move, 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.
Below you will find guidelines on when you should start the office move planning process and which key items should be included 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 make sure to factor that in when creating your list.
Six months before the move
- Start a to-do list for the office moving planners. To create a to-do list, you will need to identify the key tasks involved in the move, estimate the time and resources required for each task, assign tasks to team members, create a timeline for the move, and communicate with stakeholders. You should also be specific when listing tasks, allow plenty of time for each task, build some flexibility into your timeline, communicate with your team members regularly, and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.
- Announce the office relocation to all employees. Announcing your office relocation to the employees will make the process easier for everyone. Be clear and concise about the details of the relocation, explaining the reasons for the move, addressing any concerns that employees may have, emphasizing the positive aspects of the move, and thank them for their understanding and support.
- 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 office 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 an office relocation 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.
Three months before the move
- Announce the office relocation date to your employees. Telling your employees about your office relocation date is an important step in the process, this way you can help ensure that your employees are prepared for the move and that the transition goes smoothly.
- Finalize your office relocation 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 floor plan 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.
- Hire an office moving vendor. When moving an office, it’s important to hire a professional office mover who can handle the job efficiently and effectively. Here are a few tips:
- Get quotes
- Make sure the vendor has experience moving offices.
- Check the vendor’s reputation.
- Get everything in writing.
- Make sure the vendor has insurance.
- Be clear about your expectations.
- Communicate with the vendor regularly.
Two months before the move
- Design a floor plan. By taking the time to design a floor plan for your new office space, you can ensure that your move goes smoothly and that your employees are productive in their new surroundings. It’s important to design a floor plan that is functional and efficient for your employees. Here are a few tips:
- Measure the new office space and consider the needs of your employees.
- Think about the flow of traffic and include space for common areas.
- Make sure the floor plan is accurate and label the different areas.
- Include furniture and equipment in the floor plan and get feedback from your employees.
- Ensure technology infrastructure is in place. Arrange for all telephone, internet services, and IT systems to be ready on Day One.
- 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 a 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 responsibilities during the move.
- Begin packing for the office relocation.To ensure a smooth office move, create a packing plan with your employees. This will help everyone stay informed and involved in the process.
- Create a packing list and assign tasks to each employee.
- Communicate with your employees regularly and be flexible.
- If your movers are doing the full service pack, let employees know to pack their personal items and devices.
- Use a project management tool to track progress.
- By following these tips, you can create a packing plan that will help your office move go smoothly.
- 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 throughout the process so that everything is properly cataloged. 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?
One month before the move
- Distribute moving supplies to team members. Provide ample supplies of boxes, labels, sharpies, and packing tape. Make sure to consult our list of packing tips.
- Schedule cancellation date for current utilities. Ensure that your services will be transferred to your new location. (Now is the time to shop around if you’ve been dissatisfied with your current providers!)
15 days before the move
- Update your office address. When you relocate your office, it’s important to update your address with all of your contacts. This includes your customers, vendors, employees, and any other organizations that you do business with.You can do this by sending out a mass email or letter, updating your website and social media profiles, and updating your business cards and letterhead. By following these tips, you can make sure that everyone knows about your new office address.
- Review the moving day schedule with the office moving planners.It is important to review the moving day schedule with the office moving planners to ensure that everything goes smoothly. This includes the arrival and departure times of the movers, the loading and unloading of the truck, and the placement of furniture and equipment in the new office. Get a detailed moving day schedule from the movers and review it with your employees. Be flexible and communicate with the movers throughout the day.
- Ensure that internet and phone are on schedule for activation at the new location.When you relocate your office, schedule internet and phone activation at the new location in advance. Get everything in writing and have a backup plan in case of delays. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your internet and phone service is activated on time at the new location and that your office relocation is a success.
- Pick up and distribute new keycards and passes.When relocating your office, pick up and distribute new keycards to your employees as soon as possible. Coordinate with your security team and bring a list of employees to ensure that you get the correct number of cards. Instruct employees to keep their keycards in a safe place and not share them with anyone else. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your office relocation goes smoothly and that your employees have access to the new office.
- Back up all important documents and data. When moving your office, back up your data to protect it from damage or loss. Make sure to test your backups regularly and store them in a safe place. Here are some additional tips:
- Involve your IT team.
- Use a cloud storage service.
- Label your backups.
- Store your backups off-site.
On office moving day
- Meet the office movers at the old office. As your office moving company, JK coordinates with the company to create a moving plan and arranges for permits and licenses. We will provide professional movers to pack and move the company’s belongings to the new office. Your office mover will also offer packing, unpacking, disassembly, reassembly, technology relocation, and cleaning services.JK Moving communicates with the company throughout the move and is flexible and adaptable to unexpected changes.
By offering a variety of services and ensuring that the move is well-planned and executed, JK Moving can help businesses relocate their offices smoothly and efficiently.
While office moves can be challenging, having a comprehensive office relocation checklist will greatly minimize stress and ensure a smoother transition. To access a complete office move checklist, including tasks for one month, fifteen days, one week, the day before, and the day of the move, download our comprehensive guide.
With these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle your office relocation and create a seamless moving experience for your entire team.
Lisa Picozzi is a freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering a broad range of topics and industries.