Moving your company’s office is a big project. Successful office relocation requires months of careful planning, searching, designing, and building before you can actually move into your new office. This is a big investment for your company. It can have a huge impact on the performance of your staff, so you need to get it right.
The consequences of a poorly planned office relocation can be severe. The construction industry is notorious for cost overruns and delays. 69% of construction projects exceed their original budget. And only 25% of construction projects are completed within 10% of their original deadlines. Office relocations are no different. All too often we hear of companies that have exceeded their original office fit out budget by 30% or more. In many cases, these projects also run over schedule by months. Some of these companies still don’t get everything included in their initial brief!
In addition to all the complexities of an office fit out, you also have to consider the pitfalls and disruptions of moving your people from your existing office to your new one. Moving all your equipment and furniture between locations could take some time, which will reduce the productivity of your staff. It will also take staff time to settle into their new office, further reducing their output.
Every week, we speak to companies planning their office relocation. Many have not fully understood all the planning that needs to be done, decisions that need to be made, and risks that need to minimised. Every company and project is different, but there are several common themes that companies often underestimate when planning to move office.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 6 crucial considerations you need to take into account when planning your office relocation. By ensuring you have covered all of these 6 factors, you will go a long way to making sure your office move is a success.
1) Detailed Planning
Detailed planning is absolutely essential to making your office refurbishment a success. You need to create a documented office relocation plan, covering the overall workspace strategy, project objectives, key deadlines, new space requirements, and budget. This plan will be your go-to guide throughout your project, keeping it on track and making sure it is a success.
A workspace strategy details what your office needs to achieve for your company. This includes how your office will support the productivity, wellbeing, and collaboration of your staff. It also covers how your office can reflect and enhance your company culture. Project objectives take the overall strategy and distill it into key deliverables for this project. This can be both financial (e.g., reducing real estate costs) and operational (e.g., enabling hybrid working). New space requirements are the headline features that your new office will have to have. This includes location, size, and amenities.
Deadlines and budgeting are so important that we’ll cover them in more detail later on. It's important that you dedicate sufficient time and resources to planning your office move. While a good plan doesn’t guarantee a successful relocation, poor planning does make project success impossible.
2) Setting Deadlines
Without clear and agreed-upon deadlines, your project will take a lot longer and become much more expensive. Key deadlines are the milestones that you have to hit for your project to be a success. The obvious starting point is your current lease expiry. Other major points are selecting a design & build company, starting the works, and the final relocation.
The expiry date for your current lease is the most important deadline because this is the date by which you have to have moved your office. The start date of your new lease is also important, as you will need to allow sufficient time to fit out the new space and move your staff and equipment. Based on these two key dates, all other deadlines can be set.
Though you want to complete your office move as quickly as possible, you need to make sure the timelines are realistic. Otherwise, you are setting your project up for failure. It is also wise to allow plenty of time for the planning and design phase, as getting this right will make your project quicker overall.
After timelines, the biggest constraint of every project is budget. When considering such a big cost, it’s tempting to reduce it as much as possible. However, it’s important to consider an office relocation as an investment in your people. Whilst it’s important to keep costs low, you need to focus on maximising the performance of your staff first and foremost.
There is much more to office relocation costs than the lease agreement. Other costs you will incur include finding a new space, survey & legal costs, dilapidations, office fit out, and relocation. The two most important are lease costs and fit out costs, as these are not only the biggest costs but also have an ongoing impact.
There are so many variables, and each company’s situation is different. With such a complex process, it can be difficult to gauge what kind of monetary commitment you’re making. To learn more about what your office relocation may cost, read our article “Cost of London Office Relocation in 2022”.
4) Performance Design
Even if you’re only moving office because of a lease expiry, it’s important to consider how your workspace can improve the performance of your staff, both individually and collectively. Your office is much more than a place for your people to work. When designed and managed well, your office can be a productive and collaborative place that brings your brand to life and maximises the performance of your company.
To make sure you are maximising the performance of your office design, you need to make sure it engages your people. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, an engaged employee is 45% more productive than a merely satisfied worker. It is crucial that your office is a welcoming, enjoyable place to be. Collaboration is also important to getting the most out of your office. In the age of hybrid working, the role of the workplace has shifted to a collaboration hub. Collaboration is not one size fits all. It happens in a wide variety of ways, with different numbers of people.
To cater for this, you need to make sure your space is as adaptable as possible. Your people need an easy way to congregate and share ideas, so every collaboration space looks different. To learn more about how you can maximise the performance of your company through workspace, read “3 Ways Office Design Can Improve Staff Productivity”.
5) Change Management
Office relocation involves a lot of change for your people. Not only are they working in a new location, but the design of their new office will likely be very different too. Depending on your workspace strategy, your office relocation may also completely change the way they work.
Careful planning and good communication are essential to ensure your people support the change and make the most of the opportunity that your office relocation provides. Informing staff at short notice that you are moving office and expecting them to come to the new office and work flawlessly will likely end in failure. You need to explain exactly what will change in the new office, as well as the reasons for the changes. Listening to and addressing staff concerns is also essential.
Moving office will be a significant change in the working lives of your people, so it's essential that you support them through it. By planning and communicating well, you can ensure your people understand the reasons for the change. By providing them with a workspace that matches the way they work, you can eliminate the risk of reduced performance in your new office.
6) Minimising Downtime
While office relocation projects inevitably take some time, it’s imperative that it causes as little disruption as possible to your company. If your office relocation is not well organised it could take days to transfer between locations. Existing and new offices could be disorganised for weeks. This would severely reduce the productivity of your staff, and cause serious issues for your business.
To minimise the disruption caused by your office move, you need to work with an experienced design & build company that can manage as much of the process as possible. As they do this professionally, they are a lot more efficient and reduce the time needed to manage the project from your side.
It’s also important to have a detailed plan for moving your staff, furniture, and equipment from your existing to your new office. Ensuring you are well prepared will mean the time your people can’t work will be minimised, and your business will suffer as little disruption as possible.
Planning Your Office Relocation
There is a lot to think about when planning your office relocation. By considering and managing these 6 key factors, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Careful planning and setting deadlines will provide you with the groundwork to deliver a successful project. Creating a design that maximises the performance of your people at a cost right for your business will ensure your office move improves the performance of your company. Finally, supporting your people through the change and minimising downtime will make the move to your new office as seamless as possible.
To learn more about what you need to prepare for as you plan your office move, download our office relocation guide. Relocating your company to a new location can feel overwhelming. And there is a lot to do - everything has to be thought of and prepared for, from the budget to the IT assets. This is your comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to plan for as you relocate your office, including exit strategy, space planning, cabling adaptions, and much more. Download it here.