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COMMERCIAL RELOCATION

I know as well as any other entrepreneur that when you are trying to get your business off the ground, the focus is on winning clients, negotiating with suppliers and meeting deadlines.

For the first few years you need to be a jack of all trades, keeping track of finances, sending out invoices, interviewing and hiring staff, meeting clients and managing IT.

At this stage, creating an office space that works for your company is a task that generally gets relegated to the bottom of the pile.

But when your business has grown sufficiently to make your current office space feel like a matchbox, it’s time to relocate, and it’s a good idea to give this process your full attention for a while. A strategic relocation plan will result in a smooth move and other, perhaps less obvious, business benefits.

Your Relocation Needs

The first step in your relocation strategy should be to establish your top three relocation needs. These should inform the rest of the process and could include:

  • The need for more space to accommodate expansion.

  • A more staff-friendly environment.

  • The desire to be closer to clients.

  • The need to reduce costs.

  • An expired lease on your current premises.

After outlining your requirements, you will need to decide who will be managing the move – will this be your office manager, an assistant or an external hire? This relocation manager will need to take full responsibility for coordinating your move, and will be the main point of contact for all parties involved, from your design and build company, to staff and customers.

Make sure they are organised and committed as they will also need to ensure that timeframes and budgets are adhered to.

Staff Input

The next step is to get input from staff. Let’s face it – one of the main reasons behind starting your own business was probably that you didn’t want to have a boss who made decisions over your head – even when those decisions affected you! There’s no reason why your staff should feel any differently. Inform them and keep them involved: let them know to what extent this will affect the structure of the company and hence their job security, whether they will have to increase their commute to work, or even if the cost of a move will affect their year-end bonus.

To keep staff anxieties to a minimum, make sure that they are involved at every level of decision-making. Send out questionnaires, hold votes on big decisions, invite them to brainstorms, listen and respond to their concerns, and let them meet your design agency.

Your Office Requirements

Before you even start viewing potential offices, you need to prioritise your requirements. Office space is expensive, and bigger is not necessarily better. You need to think about both your current and future requirements, and also take into account changing working trends. For example, consider a flexible working policy – obviously the feasibility of this depends on the nature of your business, but perhaps you don’t need one workstation per employee - maybe a hot-desking system would work better.

Additionally, consider the benefits of break-out area at which employees can relax and drink a cup of coffee or read the newspaper – it may seem unnecessary, but you would be amazed at what a ‘chill-out’ space can do for staff morale.

How do you establish who is going to design your new work space? Thanks to modern-day home makeover programmes, we all fancy ourselves amateur interior designers. But while you might have excellent creative brainpower already on the payroll who could produce some outstanding ideas, they probably won’t think of things such as electrical capacity, health and safety and compliance with the Disability Act.

By all means, get their input, but let them work alongside office interiors professionals who will ensure that your move is by the book, hence avoiding any future headaches. Of course, choosing the right design and build company is key – do you like the people? What do their previous clients say about them? Will the provide after-contract service? And is their quote competitive?

Moving Office

Now’s the time to start looking for a new office – you have collected all the relevant information so this process should be relative hassle-free. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to think ahead – how fast is your business expanding, and is the new office space able to accommodate future growth?

Moving business isn’t as straightforward as moving house – you need to ensure that customer relationships aren’t affected, and that staff downtime is kept to a minimum. Devise a relocation policy which will give the move structure and allocate responsibility to staff and movers. Decide how and when to inform clients and make the moving day as easy and fun for staff as possible.

Once you’re settled in to your new premises, you can breathe a sigh of relief – and now’s a good time to celebrate – throw an office-warming party at which you can thank staff for their help and patience and invite clients to view your new space.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
 
             
 
             
 
 
 
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