Are you planning an office relocation, but don’t know where to start? Do you feel there are so many questions, possibilities and risks to consider that you feel a bit overwhelmed? Moving office can be daunting at first, but there’s no reason for it to stay that way. By educating yourself and planning well, you can make sure your project is as smooth and successful as possible.
Today, we’ll go through some of the most common questions we get asked by prospective clients about their office move when they first reach out to us. By the end of this article, you’ll have a basic understanding of the work and cost involved in moving office, as well as what the process looks like. We’ll also include links to other resources that will help you research each question in more detail.
What is Office Relocation?
Many people think office relocation is simply choosing a new office and arranging for a removal company to transfer your furniture and equipment from your current office to your new one. However, there is far more to a well-managed office move.
Office relocation starts with creating a clear relocation plan. This includes strategy, objectives, deadlines, space requirements, and feasibility analysis. You then have to research potential new offices, shortlist the best options, conduct due diligence, and negotiate with the landlord for your chosen space.
Once that is complete, you then have to design your new workspace, right from initial concepts to finalised layouts and finishes schedules. You’ll also need to ensure you have all the necessary permissions and approvals before work can begin. The next stage is to actually fit out the space as per your designs, from adapting the systems to installing the furniture. Only then can you transfer all your equipment and staff to your new location.
This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. However, there is no need to feel overwhelmed by such a huge task. You can lean on the expertise of workspace consultants, real estate agents, and design & build companies to guide you through this entire process. They’ll be able to help you avoid damaging mistakes and maximise the success of your project.
How Much Will My Office Relocation Cost?
This is the first question that almost every company we speak to wants to know. That’s understandable, because moving office is a big project, and comes with a substantial price tag. However, the unfortunate answer is “it depends”. No two projects are the same, so office relocation costs differ for every project. While we may not be able to give you an exact cost here, we can give you an understanding of what affects the cost of your project.
If managed internally, planning an office relocation may not have any direct costs apart from the time of certain staff. However, if you do engage a workspace consultant to help plan your project, this will likely cost between £1000 and £5000. The thing to remember with planning is that it is always a good investment. The saying that “every minute you spend planning saves 10 in execution” certainly applies to office relocation.
Finding and leasing a new space will certainly be the largest cost component of your entire office relocation project. The cost of the lease will vary hugely depending on the size and quality of the space, as well as the location. For most offices in London, we see costs of £75 to £150 per square foot per year. For more detail on office lease costs and affecting factors, read this article.
Many estate agents will take a % fee of the overall lease or negotiated savings. Due diligence by surveyors and designers may cost £750 to £5,500. Legal costs for negotiating and ratifying the lease contract on your behalf will normally cost between £3000 and £10,000. You also need to consider the dilapidations costs of your existing space. These will probably be £10 to £20 per sq/ft (unless you negotiate a settlement with the landlord).
The costs associated with designing your space will vary a lot depending on the type and expertise of your designer, and the size of your space. If you use a pitch-to-win model, there will be no direct costs, as they will be rolled into the fit out contract. However, depending on the complexity of the design concept and optional extras, a paid design package will generally cost £5,000 - £20,000.
The fit out component of your relocation cost is very variable. However, there are 5 major factors that will control your office fit out costs: size, specification, state, and services. Most fit outs will cost between £50 and £100 per sq/ft. To find out more about what your project will cost, download your office fit out costs guide.
How Long Does Office Relocation Take?
This is the second question we get asked when talking to companies about their office move – straight after the cost question. Unfortunately, this is even more variable than the cost. A lot of these stages overlap, so the total time is shorter than it might seem at first.
Creating a comprehensive and strategic project plan will generally take somewhere between 4 and 12 weeks of concerted effort. Researching, shortlisting, and choosing a new office will typically take 8-16 weeks. The negotiations may take several weeks longer depending on the complexity of the contract. Designing the space will take around 6-12 weeks, though large or complex projects may take longer. Required approvals may also slow this process down.
The timeframe for the actual fit out of the space will vary depending on the size of the space. You can expect this phase to take 4-20 weeks. For projects over 30,000 square foot, this may take longer. Finally, the relocation and setup of the space should take around 1-3 weeks. Overall, office relocations tend to take 6-18 months depending on the size of your space and the complexity of your brief.
Should I Relocate or Refurbish Office?
Almost every company planning to move office first explores if they can instead refurbish their existing space. It’s an option that is well worth considering. When helping our clients make the best decision for them, we walk them through 3 key aspects: cost, space, and disruption.
Cost is exactly what it sounds like: what are the cost implications of each option? It will almost always be cheaper to stay in your existing office, even if it requires extensive refurbishment. However, there are some things an office refurbishment can’t change, such as the size of your office. If your office is too small, you definitely need to expand or relocate. If it is too large, you either need to relocate, or sublet part of your space. To learn more about your space requirements, read how much office space do I need?
Disruption is a key concern, as this might affect the performance levels of your staff during the project. An office relocation will often be more disruptive, though not always. Cost is a crucial part of any stay vs go discussion. As well as the upfront costs of each option, you should also consider the ROI. To learn more, read office refurbishment v office relocation: which is best for me?
How Do I Plan an Office Move?
A few times in this article, we’ve emphasised the importance of planning when moving office. But what exactly does this include? A good project plan will be your go-to guide over the next 12 months, keeping your project on track. It needs to include 5 key items: overall workspace strategy, project objectives, key milestones, new space requirements, and commercial feasibility analysis.
A workplace strategy details how your company's work environment will help the business achieve its goals. Project objectives take your workspace strategy and distill it into a few key deliverables for this project. Key deadlines are the milestones that you have to hit for your project to be a success. New space requirements are the headline features that your new office will have to have. Finally, an ROI study is necessary to determine if your proposed office relocation is a worthwhile investment.
It may seem time-consuming and difficult to create an office relocation plan so comprehensive. However, it is a worthwhile investment in the overall success of your project. This plan will establish exactly what your move needs to achieve, and the criteria for success. It will also help get everyone aligned and make staying on track much easier.
There you have it, our answers to some of the most common questions companies ask us when they're in the same position as you: planning an office relocation. Hopefully, you now feel more informed about some of your most pressing questions about moving office. We kept our answers high-level and brief, but you can explore more detailed answers about each in our insights centre.
If you’re ready to take the next step on your office moving journey, download our ultimate guide to office relocation. There, 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. Download it here.
If you have any other questions about office relocation, explore our insights centre for more educational content. Check out our latest articles, most popular articles, and free guides. Alternatively, feel free to reach out with any more specific questions you have or detailed answers you need. We’d love to help you.