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London Office Relocation Dos and Don'ts

Moving Office In London

If you're one of the 414 companies planning to move office in central London this year, you probably have these 3 thoughts:

- I hope this works out well

- I hope this doesn’t go too far over budget

- I hope it's finished in time

Moving office is a huge investment of time, money, and effort. You need to make sure those investments are worthwhile.


Hope is no guarantee of a successful project. For your project to succeed, you need to get the key things right and avoid damaging common mistakes. That way, you can ensure that your London office relocation is completed on scope, on time, and on budget.


This article outlines 8 critical dos and don'ts to ensure your office move is smooth, efficient, and successful. By the end, you'll know the key steps to take and pitfalls to avoid for your London office relocation to be the success you need it to be.


Relocating Office in London: 4 Things You Must Do

1) Plan Carefully

The most important thing to do to make your office relocation successful is to plan carefully. An office move is a complex project with a lot of decisions to make. By planning carefully, you can set a good framework for later decisions, giving you the best possible chance of success.


A good relocation plan includes scope building, workspace strategy, brief creation, and team selection. It also covers key specifics such as timescales and budgets. To learn more, read Step by Step: The Office Relocation Process.


2) Work with Experts

Choosing a suitable fit out company to design and build your new office is crucial. Given that so much is at stake, you need to be confident you are working with an expert in London office relocation who understands your constraints and goals.


Not every design and build company will be right for you. Some won't have the right expertise, be too expensive, or simply take too long. To learn how to choose a fit out company that's right for you, read this article.  


If you choose Zentura to assist with your office relocation and fit out, we can also help you build your brief, find a new space, and relocate into that space. Learn more about our 4-dimensional process here.


3) Communicate Well

Keeping your staff involved and informed throughout the project is crucial. Clear communication reduces anxiety, maintains morale, and ensures everyone is prepared for the change. Your staff are the people who will be affected most by your proejct, so it has to work for them.


Getting staff input in the early stages of your project is crucial. This will help your office move fulfil their needs and reduce any resistance to change. Throughout the project delivery, you should also update your people informed as to what is going on and how it affects them. 6 Steps to Successful Change Management will help you learn more.


4) Budget Realistically

Another key thing to do ahead of your office move is to set a realistic budget. This should account for all expenses, both one-off and ongoing. While it's important to keep costs as low as possible, unexpected costs can derail your relocation plan and strain finances.


To set a realistic budget, research industry benchmarks for your office lease and associated legal & agent costs, as well as the office fit out and the relocation itself. You should also include a contingency of 5-10% for any unforeseen circumstances. For more help setting a budget, read Cost of London Office Relocation in 2024.


Relocating Office in London: 4 Things You Mustn’t Do

1) Set Unrealistic Timescales

The most common companies make with their London office relocation is that they leave it too late. They then have to rush the entire project - especially the project planning and office selection phases. This increased time pressure increases the chances of mistakes and poor decision-making, which could derail your project.


To avoid this in your project, start the process in plenty of time - at least 12-18 months before your lease ends. If you have less than 12 months on your lease, you may want to sign a short-term (6-12 month) lease extension to give you more time.


2) Create a Vague Brief

Another thing many companies do that you mustn't do is to create a vague brief for your office fit out company. A vague brief means that your fit out company will probably create a package that doesn’t meet your needs & constraints. This either takes a lot of time to your correct, or your company will end up with an unsuitable office.


To ensure that you don't have this situation, create a comprehensive and well-founded project brief. This should include 3 key elements: workspace strategy, project constraints, and requirements & information. To learn more, read How to Create an Office Fit Out Brief.


3) Neglect Alignment

There are a lot of different people involved when you're managing an office move. All these people have different perspectives and objectives. However, ensuring all stakeholders are aligned is crucial. Otherwise, people will be working towards different goals, causing conflict and delay. This will make your role a lot more stressful and difficult.


You can prevent this by building a small but diverse project team that represents all departments without being too large or slow. An effective communication plan will then keep other staff responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed as appropriate. To learn more, read Who Should I Involve in My Office Fit Out?


4) Over-Prioritise Cost

The most damaging mistake many companies make when moving their office in London is an excessive focus on reducing the initial project costs. In London, real estate costs are among the highest in the world, so your project is a big investment. However, focussing too much on reducing the initial cost of your project can lead to higher costs elsewhere. This includes associated costs (eg legal fees), ongoing costs (eg office operational costs) and opportunity costs (eg reduced staff productivity).


To avoid this damaging mindset, first build a business case for your project based on long-term ROI, not short-term cost minimisation. By focussing on overall business benefits, beyond the initial investment, you can maximise the impact and returns of your London relocation.


Moving Your London Office

Having read this article, you now know the key steps to take and pitfalls to avoid for your office relocation to be the success you need it to be. Moving office in central London is a big project - exciting and stressful in equal measure. If you're moving office, don’t just rush in and start looking for new offices. Plan carefully and build alignment to lay good foundations for your project.


Almost every week, we speak to people scarred by their experiences of office moves that went way over budget, way over schedule, and didn’t even deliver on their original project brief. Avoid their harrowing experiences by implementing what you've learned today.


To take the next step, download your copy of The Ultimate Office Relocation Guide. You'll get one comprehensive guide that will help you understand everything that goes into an office relocation, what it costs, and how long it will take. Get your guide here.



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