How to move your office without disrupting your business

February 16, 2024

Determine Your Office Move Timeline Starting with the target move date, work backward to schedule all the steps involved in moving your office. Be sure to allocate plenty of time for each task, allowing buffer time for unexpected delays. - Set a target move date. This is ideally on a ...

Determine Your Office Move Timeline

Starting with the target move date, work backward to schedule all the steps involved in moving your office. Be sure to allocate plenty of time for each task, allowing buffer time for unexpected delays.

– Set a target move date. This is ideally on a weekend or slow business day to minimize disruption.

– Work backward 6-8 weeks and begin notifying clients, vendors, and utilities of the move.

– 4-6 weeks out, begin purging and packing non-essential items. Label boxes clearly.

– Schedule movers for the target move day. Confirm 3-4 weeks in advance.

– 2 weeks out, pack electronics and equipment carefully with packing materials.

– 1 week out, change website, stationery, and phone system address. Forward mail.  

– 2-3 days prior, clean old office space and load final boxes.

– Day before move, disconnect and prepare servers/IT equipment for transport.

– Move day – direct movers, unpack essential items first in new office.

– Following week – unpack fully and settle into new space.

– Allow 2-4 weeks buffer before move to handle any unexpected delays.

Sort Through Existing Furniture and Equipment

One of the first steps when moving offices is deciding what to do with your existing furniture and equipment. Take the time to thoroughly sort through everything and determine what can make the move to your new location.

Keep – Make a list of the furniture and equipment you plan to keep and move to the new office. This likely includes desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and other essentials. Only keep items that are in good condition, serve a purpose, and fit within your new office layout. 

Sell – Some office furniture and equipment may still be in good shape but doesn’t make sense to move. Consider having a sale for employees or listing these items online to get some extra cash. Electronics, office supplies, and modular furniture tend to sell well.

Donate – For items that are still usable but you no longer need, look into donating to local charities, schools, or non-profits. This ensures your unneeded furniture finds a new home and helps the community. Make sure to get receipts for potential tax deductions.

Recycle – Anything broken, outdated, or at the end of its lifespan should be recycled if possible. Electronics, metal furniture, and other materials often have recycling programs in your area. Look for green options to dispose of these items responsibly.

Trash– There will inevitably be some furniture, equipment, and supplies that simply need to be thrown out. Go through your office thoroughly and dispose of any absolute junk that has piled up over the years.

Being strategic about what you keep, sell, donate, recycle, or trash as you sort through your current furniture and equipment will ensure you only move essential items to your new office. This will also help eliminate clutter and waste.

Order New Furniture and Equipment 

Ordering new furniture and equipment for your new office space should be done as early as possible to avoid delays. It’s recommended to place orders at least 2-3 months in advance of your move date. This will provide enough lead time for items to be delivered and set up in your new location. 

When ordering new furniture, first take measurements of your new office layout and space. This will ensure you order the right sized furniture that fits within your floorplan. Measure wall lengths, window placements, and doorway openings. 

Next, decide what pieces you need – desks, chairs, file cabinets, bookcases etc. Consider how many employees you have and the type of work they do to determine furniture needs. Also factor in any expected growth or changes.

Once you’ve decided on furniture, choose your materials and styles. Consider durability, comfort, and aesthetics. Select pieces that match your brand identity and design aesthetic.

Shop around and get quotes from multiple office furniture companies. Negotiate discounts for bulk orders and see if there are specials on popular inventory items. Order samples to view and test furniture quality. 

For specialty or custom built items, order even earlier as these can take over 8 weeks for production. Consider built-in shelving, custom cabinetry, and modular desk systems.

Don’t wait until the last minute to order. Delays can happen due to material shortages, custom builds, or backordered inventory. Order 2-3 months out or more for a smooth office furniture transition.

Update Business Materials With New Address

As soon as you have a date set for your office move, you’ll want to update any business materials with your new address. This includes things like:

Business cards – Order new business cards with your updated company address, phone number, etc. Make sure all employees have new cards before the move.

Website – Update your website’s contact page with your new office address. Create a popup announcement about the upcoming move and include the new address. 

Email signatures – Change the address info in your email signature and let employees know to update theirs too.

Letterhead – Print new letterhead with updated address.

Online directories – Update listings on Google My Business, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc. with your new address.

Signage – If moving retail/office locations, order new exterior and interior signage for your new space.

Promotional materials – For things like brochures, flyers, etc. place a new order with the new address.

Business docs – Update company documents and templates with new address.

Let vendors, partners, and clients know about your new address at least 2-4 weeks before the move. This ensures no disruption in deliveries or communications.

Plan Your Data and Server Move

Moving your server infrastructure is one of the most complex aspects of relocating an office. Downtime can severely disrupt business operations, so you’ll need to plan the move carefully.  

First, determine the most efficient way to maintain access to critical data and systems during the transition. Develop a plan for when each server, database, and application will be taken offline for transport. Stagger the move so you don’t lose access to everything simultaneously.  

Consider setting up temporary cloud servers that can be put in place while physical servers are in transit. This provides faster access to data and applications. However, test performance first to ensure stability.

Also evaluate the option to keep less critical servers in the old location temporarily if bandwidth allows access from the new office. This prevents having to move everything all at once. Just be sure performance remains fast enough to avoid productivity lags.

Proper planning and staging will allow you to move critical infrastructure smoothly and avoid costly downtime when relocating your office. Carefully manage server access throughout the transition to keep your business up and running.

Schedule Movers and Coordinate Logistics

Moving an office requires careful coordination of movers, parking, elevators, timing, and logistics. Here are some tips for scheduling your office move:

– Get quotes from at least 3 reputable office moving companies. Be sure to get an in-person estimate so they can see the scope of the move. Compare prices and reviews.

– Book your movers as soon as possible. Good movers get booked up. Reserve them for both the move-out day from your old office and move-in day to the new one.

– Confirm if the movers will bring dollies, ramps, and other moving equipment or if you need to provide.

– Reserve parking and loading zones near both office buildings. You may need to get permits or pay meters.

– Notify the building manager about using elevators and identify any restrictions on hours or capacity. 

– Ask about reserving an elevator or having an operator assist during the heaviest moving times.

– Schedule deliveries of new furniture and equipment on your move-in day after the movers have left. 

– Take pictures and measurements of doorways, stairways, elevators and other spaces along the moving route. Identify any potential bottlenecks.

– Create a detailed move schedule identifying times for packing, loading, transport and unpacking. Build in some buffer room.

– Communicate the move plan far in advance to your team, building contacts, IT vendors, clients and others impacted.

Careful coordination is key for keeping your office move on track and minimizing disruptions to your business.

Pack and Label Efficiently

The key to keeping your business running smoothly during an office move is organization. Start by sorting through all paperwork and purging any unnecessary documents and files. Have your team go through their desk drawers, cabinets, and bookshelves to determine what can be donated, recycled, or shredded. This will help minimize the number of boxes you need to move.

Next, organize your remaining files and documents by department or individual staff member. Pack them into file boxes and label the outside of each box clearly with the destination location in the new office. For example, “John Smith Office Files.” Use colored labels, markers, or a color coding system to indicate which room or area each box should go in the new space. This will make unpacking quicker and ensure items end up in the right place.  

When packing up desks, label each box with the staff member’s name and mark it as either “Desk” or “Office.” Use file cabinets as moving boxes themselves whenever possible. For electronics and sensitive equipment, use original manufacturers boxes and packaging if you still have them. Otherwise, securely wrap and pad items with bubble wrap or foam to prevent damage. Mark all boxes containing computers, servers, printers, etc. as “fragile.”

Having an organized labeling system will keep your moving day straightforward and make it simple for movers to know where to place boxes and furniture at the new office. Taking time upfront to thoughtfully pack and label will help your business resume operations quickly after relocating.


Also, read : The Dos and Don’ts of Labeling Boxes for an Interstate Move


Clean Out Old Office Location

Be sure to leave your old office space clean and tidy for the next tenants. This includes removing all trash and belongings, doing a thorough cleaning, and repairing any damages caused during the move.

– Throw away any trash, unwanted furniture, or equipment left behind. Don’t leave anything you don’t want behind.

– Do a walkthrough looking for damages. Patch holes in walls, touch up paint, replace stained/damaged carpet squares, etc. 

– Clean all surfaces thoroughly – wipe desks, shelves, baseboards, windows, and other areas.

– Vacuum carpet and mop hard floors.

– Clean inside kitchen cabinets, appliances, sinks, etc.

– Clean bathroom sinks, toilets, mirrors, floors, etc.

– Dust vents, light fixtures, ceiling fans.

– Ensure the space looks clean and welcoming for the next occupants.

Leaving behind a clean office space shows respect for the property owner and makes the process easier for the next tenants moving in. Doing repairs and touching up paint also protects you from losing your security deposit. The cleaner you leave it, the smoother the move-out process will be.

Unpack and Set Up New Office

The first priority when unpacking your new office is to set up critical workstations so your team can get back to work as quickly as possible. 

– Unpack computers, monitors, phones, and other essential tech first. Your IT staff should install and test all devices to ensure they are functioning properly after the move.

– Next, unpack office supplies like pens, paper, staplers, etc. and set up common areas like the kitchen, lounge, conference rooms. This allows employees to work even if their personal workspace isn’t fully unpacked yet.

– Unpack and assemble employee workstations starting with leadership and working down. Focus on setting up desks, chairs, and any essential personal items first. Decor and non-essential items can wait.

– As each workspace is assembled, have the corresponding employee test and organize their new desk to their preferences. This allows them to dive back into work rather than dealing with a messy new area.

– Unpack shared office equipment like printers, scanners, shredders and make sure they are plugged in, powered on, loaded with paper and toner. 

– Set up WiFi routers and ensure the network is tested for speed and connectivity across the entire office space.

By methodically unpacking critical infrastructure first, you’ll enable your team to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible in your new office environment. Non-essential unpacking can then continue in the background with minimal disruption.

Lastly, bring everyone together to thank the internal move team for their efforts. Moving an office requires extensive planning, coordination and hard work. Take time to recognize everyone who helped make it happen. Celebrating and properly welcoming your team into the new space starts your business off on the right foot.