You’ve either come to a place in your business that requires you move into a new office space or you are ready to open your first store front. Both moves are exciting and represent one of the most stressful situations for a company. Each can distract from day-to-day business and play a huge role in influencing your company culture and your employee attitudes.
Successfully moving your space requires input and communication from all areas of your company. The scope of the move has the potential to overwhelm even the most experienced of teams. Most companies have little experience managing a project of this scale so we have put together some best practices in this blog post that will help make sure that your IT infrastructure remains as disruption free as possible.
- Engage Your IT Team Early: These services are critical to productivity and keeping all of your systems running smoothly. Transitioning these services to a new site requires thorough planning. Make this portion of your relocation a primary area of focus for your plan. Engage the IT team early and work with them closely to make sure that your business-critical systems are timed appropriately. Then work with your IT and telecommunication vendors to strategize the move. These vendors will act as your allies throughout the move and can help you save time, money, and avoid additional stress. Seventy-five days prior to move is the minimum amount of time you want to begin working with these vendors.
- Develop Checklists: Once you have identified the phases of your move, develop comprehensive checklists showing ALL of the details to be tracked and confirmed. Coordinate each phase of this checklist with the schedule and ask your team members to contribute to ensure a comprehensive checklist. Review frequently to confirm that your timeline is being followed at each phase and to add new issues or items as they arise.
- Focus on the Plan: The amount of time required to relocate is almost always underestimated. Remember, you are most likely going to have to continue balancing your existing workload on top of the move-in responsibilities. Make sure that all team members are aware of this and that extra time is built into your plan. When things get hectic or you feel things are out of control, refer back to your checklists to keep yourself, and others, on track.
- Establish Technology Requirements for the New Office: Know what your IT requirements will be for the new site. This information is critical. Once a site has been chosen, obtain a detailed copy of the preliminary floor plan and take a field trip with your move team to review the location and floor plan. Look over the current cabling and infrastructure. Decide if the current wiring and electrical capacities of the new site will work with your new requirements. Determine the best locations for shared office equipment such as copiers and confirm that the existing server room will fit with what you are looking for. These are all decisions that will need to be made and accounted for prior to the move.
- Assess Existing Infrastructure and Technology Solutions: Have you been keeping pace with recent technology advances? Is there new technology needs to support any new IT initiatives? Do you have enough bandwidth to support your office demands? What services can you renew, eliminate, or consolidate? This is the time to possibly rethink your current IT strategy and develop a plan that will address your future needs.
- Identify Upgrades and Replacements: Inventory all of your equipment to assess whether it is adequate for your needs and suitable for the new environment. Is now the time to replace the old copier that works only when it wants to? Clean out those closets of old or broken equipment.
- Develop Test Plans: New systems and equipment are exciting, but making sure that there is enough time for installation AND testing is crucial to make sure it all works on the first day. Work closely with your providers to detail that there is a build out and installation schedule. Keep their schedules updated and communicate with them regularly. Make sure to add testing and readiness milestones to your timeline as well.
- Confirm Your Business Continuity Plan: Now is the time to make sure proper backups for all of your systems and your data is both local and at offsite. You will want to perform data recovery testing to ensure that you can, indeed, recover that data, as well. Test the phone and data lines at the new office to avoid any delays during the move – even after the vendors have gone through and certified that they have done testing. Create a detailed test plan that will ensure your network is up and running after the relocation is complete before you open your doors.
- Detail the Transitions: To keep the disruptions to your business at a minimum, the move team must manage the details of the transition closely. Reduce impacts by mapping the transitions from the old and new systems and communicate any changes in advance.
- Communicate Logistics to Employees: Your employees must be kept in the loop regarding the move. Specific communications must be sent to them providing information on what is needed from them for a successful move. This could include packing and labeling instructions and information on what to expect at the new site. Thorough communication to employees helps determine their satisfaction with the process and the new site. These steps will also help avoid lost and broken items that may ruin the first day for some.
- Enlist Extra Resources for Move-In Day: Your plan should include an issue resolution process for the first day. Schedule your service providers and technical resources to be on site on move-in day to help quickly resolve issues. Make sure that you have plenty of man-power to move those computers, printers, cubicles, and water coolers.
With planning and an attention to detail, your move to a new office can be a great success. A new space can improve morale, productivity, collaboration, and impacts overall business performance.
Stewart and Son Computer Services can be your team to help ensure a smooth relocation for you and your employees. Let us take the IT project planning off of your plate so you can focus on your business!
Stewart and Son in University Place, WA is a leader in technical expertise and customer service in the South Sound. Over 60 years combined experience in delivering quality IT support to professional services firms makes Stewart & Son is the hands-down best choice.
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