It’s no secret that proper office relocation planning can make the difference between a seamless transition and a big, expensive disruption for your business. Not to mention all that egg on your face when things don’t go as expected due to lack of preparation. Yet getting a handle on what that planning should entail may seem like an overwhelming prospect. Where do you start, and how can you be sure you have covered all the bases?

Over the next several weeks, we’re publishing a series of blog posts on office relocation planning that you can use as a guidebook for your next move.

Last week, we discussed the initial planning phase of your relocation project, when you’ll make the critical office relocation planning decisions, enlist the help of stakeholders, gather the essential data to drive your plan, and create the right plan to accomplish your goal. If you missed last week’s article, see Office Relocation Planning: The Key To Keeping Your Move On Track, Part 1.

This week, we’ll help you prepare for the pre-implementation phase of your office relocation planning and your move project. At this point, you’ll be gathering and training your team, fine tuning the details of your delivery plan, engaging outside vendors and communicating information to all involved parties.

Office Relocation Planning: The Pre-Implementation Phase

At this stage, you’ve made a firm decision about WHAT you need to accomplish and you are refining the plans for HOW to meet your relocation goals. Now, it’s time to put the team and the office relocation planning tasks in motion that will lead to a problem-free experience on move day.

Engage and train your team. To begin implementing your plan, it’s time to gather all your office relocation planning stakeholders including Property, IT, Facilities, Movers, Security, Concierge and lines of business. You need to get everyone up to speed on the details of the plan and train them on their specific roles and responsibilities.

Kick-off plans and processes for sub-teams. Each functional area will need to begin working on their own assigned processes in preparation for move day. For example, IT will need to complete audits, make system changes, and prepare new facilities.

Implement a move lock-down. At some point in advance of move day, it’s in everyone’s best interest to implement a freeze on any other smaller moves. That allows you to be sure that your data about who-sits-where as well as any vacancies is accurate on move day. Without drawing a line in the sand, you’re taking a risk of moving someone into an occupied space, or failing to account for a team. However, it can be hard to enforce this move ban, so make sure you know about any changes that do happen so you can document any changes to your office relocation planning documents.

Continue to validate data. Keep the lines of communication open with your business champions during the pre-implementation phase of office relocation planning so you do find out about any shifting teams, new hires, or layoffs that occur in advance of move day. Make sure to keep your workplace management system updated with real-time data. Best of all: provide access to your system so your champions can update and validate their own data.

If you are in the process of trying to decide on a workplace management system, you probably realize that it’s tough to compare the wide range of available options on the market. Which are the truly essential features and functions that you must have? (HINT: one of them is a business unit portal that allows your LOBs to easily validate their own data.) To find out, take a look at this helpful guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.

Engage third party service providers. Hiring movers? Buying new computer equipment? Using outside IT consultants, workplace strategy consultants or service providers for installing telephony or other technology? Engage these third-party providers early and make sure they are aware of and committed to your schedule.

Get final approvals. If your office relocation planning and budgets had preliminary approvals from senior management up to this point, now is the time to lock down all details and get those final approvals in place.

Finalize your runsheet. For a very large office relocation planning project that involves several move phases, it’s especially important to document all move dependencies and the logical sequence of events. You’ll also want to include all assigned tasks and deadlines in your runsheet: the WHO does WHAT and WHEN.

Document plans for exceptions. Make sure you know about and plan for any contingencies, such as no moves on a floor until after close of business, or the opposite: no access to a site after hours. When you have restrictions you’ll need to create alternate plans to avoid delays on move day.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! This is one of the most important aspects of your office relocation planning. You can’t give people too much information: it goes a long way to smoothing the process as well as those anxieties your business teams will have about moving. Now is the time to execute your comm plan and send out those emails to all involved parties detailing what’s going to happen, when and why.

Here’s what they will want and need to know:

  • What to expect throughout the process
  • Instructions for packing
  • How to find their new space
  • What to do on move day
  • How to get help if a problem arises
  • How to use features of a new agile work environment, such as wayfinding systems

Related article: 10 Keys to Success With the Agile Work Environment

What’s Next: All Systems Go for Move Day

At the completion of your pre-implementation office relocation planning activities, you’ll be as ready as you can possibly be for move day. Or are you? Join us again next week when we’ll publish an office relocation checklist that details everything you need to know and do to deliver a successful outcome on move day and beyond.

And that’s not all: stay tuned in the coming weeks for a useful list of tips and guidelines for optimizing your churn management process.

Download 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.