If you’re planning to move your company from one office to another, you may be concerned about the stress that you will have to face in the coming months. Office relocations can be complex and challenging projects. There is a lot of pressure, and if you haven't prepared properly, it can be a very stressful experience. Costs can spiral upwards, essential equipment can get lost, and staff can oppose the change. Even worse, your business may face a significant period of downtime when it can barely operate.
However, this doesn’t mean your office move is guaranteed to be a nightmare. With careful planning and expert help, you can make your projects much less stressful and more successful. At Zentura, we’ve been helping companies in the UK move offices for nearly 15 years. As a design & build company, we have a lot of experience in seeing the areas of an office relocation that most often go wrong, and how these can be avoided. In this article, we’ll talk you through 5 essential steps you need to follow to make your office move much less stressful for you and your team.
Planning thoroughly is undoubtedly the single most important thing you can do to make your office relocation less stressful. Without the right brief, your office move will not be a success, regardless of whether it meets your budget or your timelines, or neither. Moving to a stunning new office to make it look stunning won’t matter if the new design doesn’t fix the underlying issues with your current office. As the saying goes “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
When it comes to moving office, your project plan needs to include 5 key items. These are overall workspace strategy, project objectives, key milestones, new space requirements, and commercial feasibility analysis. This should all be done before you even think about potential locations or design features. By clarifying the key reasons behind your office move, and the success criteria, you can remain focussed on these throughout the project.
To learn more about planning for your office relocation, download our office relocation guide. In there, you’ll find an entire section explaining exactly what needs to be included in your project plan, and how you can create the best office relocation plan for your project. With a comprehensive project plan, you’ve already done the most important thing to make your office relocation less stressful.
Allow Plenty of Time
One of the most common mistakes we see companies make when planning an office relocation is not allowing enough time. As a result, they have to rush subsequent stages, which hugely increases the stress and risk of the entire project. If you don’t start planning far enough ahead, you will often end up with a project that is much more expensive and stressful than it needs to be.
There is much more to moving office than many companies think. Before you can even start researching new offices and design ideas, you have to create a workspace strategy and a detailed project plan. Finding the right space and negotiating the best deal can also take more time than most companies allow.
Depending on the size of your office and the complexity of your project scope, your office relocation will probably take from 6-18 months. To find out how long you’ll need to allow for your office relocation, read “how long does it take to move office?”. There, we’ll explain what each stage of the process involves, and how long you need to allow depending on your project. We’ll then cover some common reasons projects are delayed, and how long you need to allow to relocate your company successfully.
Secure Enough Budget
Office relocations are expensive projects. Trying to run an office relocation project without enough budget will be very stressful. It is also likely to compromise the success of the project. If you don’t have enough funds, you may have to cut corners on key areas of your project, such as the quality of your new location or the specification of your fit out.
While many companies appreciate the high cost (and value) of prime location office space, few know about what office fit outs are likely to cost. The fact is, there is a lot more that goes into an office construction project than meets the eye. An office fit out requires a lot of expensive raw materials, most of which are not visible once the project is finished. Delivering an office fit out successfully also requires a lot of time and effort from highly skilled professionals.
To learn about what your office relocation might cost, check out our article on office relocation costs in 2023. There, we’ll break down each stage of the office relocation process, and what it will cost. To help you justify this expense, read our article explaining the ROI of office fit out, and how you can justify the investment to your company’s leadership. Making sure you have sufficient financial backing from your company is absolutely essential to keeping your office relocation project as hassle-free as possible.
The number of people involved in or affected by your office relocation may surprise you. In addition to your staff, you also have all the people involved in delivering the project. This includes estate agents, surveyors, designers, contractors, and potentially the local authorities. Your suppliers and customers will also need to be considered. For a 10,000 sq/ft office relocation, you may have 70 staff. However, with all the external stakeholders included, there will be up to 150 people involved. All these people need to communicate effectively for your project to be a success.
Communicating well with your staff is particularly important. While you are heavily involved in the project and know everything that is happening, such a huge change to their working lives will create a lot of uncertainty for them. If you don’t communicate effectively, your people will create a lot of stress for you with queries and concerns.
To minimise the stress caused by poor communication, make sure your design and build company have the experience necessary to effectively communicate amongst themselves and with you. For your staff, explain in good time what is changing, why it is changing, and when it is changing, so they have plenty of time to prepare. This will also give them time to raise any concerns or suggestions, which you can then work into your plan.
Rely on Experts
One of the most common mistakes we see our clients make is trying to do too much internally. In many cases, their internal project manager also doesn’t delegate enough, which creates a lot of stress for them. There is a huge amount of work that is required for a successful office relocation. Without effective delegation at both a company and a personal level, your project will become very stressful.
There are many different areas of knowledge required to manage an office fit out, from workspace strategy to contract law to IT recommissioning. It’s simply not possible to be an expert in all these areas. You’ll need to delegate responsibility to qualified third parties such as estate agents, solicitors, and interior designers.
You will also need to delegate within your team. Even making full use of third-party experts, there will be a lot of work required to brief, feedback on, and manage their work. By delegating to your internal team, you will reduce the stress and pressure you're facing.
Planning Your Office Relocation
Moving your company from one office to another is a huge project. It’s a project that will take 6-18 months, as well as being a big investment for your company. There are also hundreds of varied and important decisions to be made. However, by planning carefully, securing enough time and budget, communicating well, and delegating tasks, you will be able to make your office relocation much less stressful and more enjoyable. As a result, your project is much more likely to be a success, both for you and your company.
To learn more about planning for your office move, download our ultimate office relocation guide. There, we’ve explained everything you need to know about what office relocation involves, what it costs, and how long it will take. We’ve also included an office relocation checklist, so you can ensure you haven't missed anything important. Download your copy here.