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Get a move on – our top tips for moving offices

You’ll know from our recent blog that we’re planning a move to a new UK HQ. Moving an entire team of people to a new building is no walk in the park. And getting an office space upgraded, refitted and ready to roll is a big job that requires a whole lot of planning, organisation and hard work. So, how do you make sure it all runs smoothly?

Planning your move

What are the secrets to a successful office move? I sat down with our UK Facilities Manager, Christine Prince, to hear her top tips for making sure everything runs like clockwork.

Christine Prince, UK Facilities Manager, Xero UK

Christine Prince, our UK Facilities Manager for Xero UK

Get the size right

“It may sound obvious, but make sure the building you’re moving to is the right size. You need enough space for the current size of your team, but you also need it to be scaleable so there’s room as you grow. Equally, don’t go too big – you don’t want desks sitting idle. Work out how big the company will be in five or ten year’s time and plan around these numbers if you’re intending to stay in the building long term.”

Find the right fit-out company

“Once you’ve decided on the right building, you need to find the right company to work with on the fit-out. Be very clear on the spec that’s required and make sure the fit-out company has the right experience and capabilities to do the work and deliver it on time. And this isn’t just about the service they deliver, but also about what they’re like as people. A good working relationship with the project manager and the site manager is essential – you’ll be working very closely with both of them for long periods of time, so getting along will make for a much happier and more productive site.”

Have a clear project plan

“Timing is everything, so make sure you agree on a very clear project plan with set deadlines and milestones. Work out the timings for each stage of the fit-out – flood wiring of electrical, comms and broadband cabling, fitting of air conditioning and plumbing etc. – and set up a clear schedule that everyone works from. Also, make sure you have a contingency plan if any areas run behind schedule. Have a Plan B ready and waiting if needed.”

Have weekly meetings

“You’ll need to be on site a fair amount, but you also need to have formal meetings in the diary so you can catch up with the project manager, the site manager and your main stakeholders within the business. Have a recap of what’s been achieved, what’s on time, what’s running late and any issues that need urgently resolving. If you do this on a weekly basis, you’re on top of any problems and you’ll be able to solve them more easily.”

Think about communications and internal marketing

“If you’re relocating an existing team to a nearby location, they’ll probably want to keep their existing phone numbers. Make sure you speak to the telecoms provider to get the right numbers ported over. And make sure things like telephone lines, broadband connections and wi-fi networks are up and running well before people move into the new office. You also need to think about how you communicate the move internally to everyone in the company. Keep them up to date and involved on a regular basis so they feel in the loop – if you lose engagement, it’s very hard to get it back.

Tell your customers you’re moving

“It can be very easy to get distracted by the project management of the relocation and fit-out and to forget about telling your customers and suppliers about the move. Make sure you have change of address emails and website content ready to roll as soon as they’re needed. Don’t forget to get your address amended on business cards, stationery and any marketing materials. Add an email footer to your company emails telling people that you’re on the move. Anything that keeps people up-to-date and in the know.”

Tell us about your office move experiences

Thanks very much to Christine for those insights – we hope they’re useful if you’re planning your own move in the near future. We’ll certainly be listening to our own advice and keeping on top of the project management of our own move in a few months time. Look out for the next blog in our office move series soon.

Have you had any interesting experiences when moving offices? We’d love to hear what happened. Send us your comments below.

 

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