Congratulations on finding another home for your office! Making a move of any kind is a little daunting, but moving offices is even scarier; you have files, documents, and things that you want to ensure are kept safe and don’t get lost in transit. Understandable. Follow some of the best tips for moving your office to make the transition as clean and pain-free as possible.
When moving offices, it’s a good idea to have a comprehensive inventory of your things. An asset tag system, which contains an ID number and barcode, works beautifully for expensive items like tech equipment. If you don’t have a working asset tag system, that’s okay; a regular old spreadsheet will do. Create columns with headers like “item type,” “serial number,” and “location” to help smooth the process along. Add whatever other columns you think would help during your inventory.
If you’re not completely sure what you should be including in an inventory (do pens count? What about the stapler?), here are some suggestions:
- Furniture: Desks, bookcases, file cabinets, chairs, trash cans, sofas
- Office Supplies: Anything on or in desks or in cabinets, including bulk supplies like paper and cleaning products
- Documents and Files: Anything inside of file cabinets or boxes, anything left in storage or closets
- Technology: Printers, monitors, computers, laptops, keyboards and mice, ethernet and power cables
An inventory doesn’t only make it easier to see what you have and what needs to be moved, but it can also help you when the move is over. If something is lost then you’ll know immediately, and you can update your inventory list as time goes on. In the event of moving offices in the future, that’s a huge chunk you won’t need to worry about.
Have you ever had to move offices before? Interestingly, it’s different from moving homes in terms of packing. Packing for an office move forces you to use another side of your noggin, since the inventory is not all of your personal belongings. For example, you probably know a bunch of fantastic ways to store Grandma’s china, but how on earth does one pack a standing fax machine? What about keyboards and mice, how do you manage their cables?
Here are some tips for you if you feel out of your element:
- Pallets, forklifts, and shrink wrap are some of the best tools for moving office supplies. Furniture, tech equipment, and boxes are perfect for this sort of treatment because they stack nicely and can be tightly bunched together.
- Cables, cords, and surge strips are best when coiled up and secured with a rubber band or twist tie. A gallon-sized Ziploc bag is perfect for storage, and you can make note of the item and its location with a permanent marker.
- Drop cloths and moving blankets should be used over furniture, especially wooden or cloth items, to protect them during the move. These can be secured with ratchet straps or bungee cords to prevent them from sliding around in transit.
As you load items in the moving truck, this is another place where your inventory list will come in handy. Check off each item you see as it comes in, and add missing ones. This way you and your moving team all know that yes, the item at least made it to the moving truck.
In the same vein as packing thoughtfully, make sure that you think about the layout of your new office space so that you can also unpack thoughtfully. Measure any furniture that you’re unsure about fitting through the doors in case it needs to be taken apart to make it through, and measure spaces where you intend to place said furniture. Think about the day-to-day flow of your office and consider how your furniture placement can improve the flow.
Remember that you sometimes need to “live” in a space before you can really know what works best. You might need to do some rearranging to find a setup that works best for everyone. Ask your staff for feedback and work together to figure out what works; you might be presented with a solution you never considered before.
Don’t forget also, when you move in, to be mindful of how shared space will impact electricity. Consider the number of electrical outlets your normal personal desk setup uses:
- Computer or laptop
- Cell phone charger
At a minimum, that’s about four outlets per person. If the new office doesn’t have enough outlets, do you have a solution? Do you have extension cables or battery-operated power sources? Can you rely on USB charging for some of these things? Considering all of the technology we rely on today, it would be a shame to move into a new space to find it unsuited to your needs.
If changing office space is in your immediate future, make sure you go in prepared. Take time to create an inventory and assess all of your office’s needs before moving in. A moment of preparation is priceless in a busy situation.