1) Choose a ‘move’ champion About 12 months before a move is planned decide who’s going to be involved and start to outline key requirements. Select the team and assign clear roles and responsibilities. Look for people who know the business inside-out, are great communicators, motivators and are highly organised.
2) Communicate!In some cases, involving staff is the law. The Information & Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 state any changes directly affecting staff should be discussed with them. Unions should be engaged as soon as possible.
3) Location Location LocationThe perfect office could be on the horizon, but if the location isn’t right, it won’t work for the company. Think about good public transportation links, parking facilities, a realistic commute for existing employees, proximity to local amenities, parking, the ability to tap into a ‘talent pool’ of potential employees and access to major airports.
4) Set a budgetA relocation project can be one of the most expensive events in the life of a business. Get quotes for everything and draw up a full budget for the whole project. Talk to a financial expert – the expense might present plenty of opportunities for tax breaks.
5) Call a commercial property agentTalk to the best in the business, with quality references, a good grasp of the technical side, enough time to devote to the project, knowledge of the local area, national reach and transparent fees and charges.
6) What about feasibility studies? A well-researched feasibility study will save thousands of pounds. It will determine how much space is needed, how to accommodate people and help plan for future growth. It also avoids the need for an unplanned, costly expansion or move.
7) Room to breatheOften overlooked, storage can make the difference between happy staff and grumbling workers. Think about off-site storage. Why pay the full commercial rate within an office for an area which will be used to keep little-used items and equipment. Move it to low-cost space and free up the office for productive use.
8) Go green Good for people and the planet. Improve working conditions and cut energy bills by making the most of natural light. Choose paints with low toxins, use timber certified by the FSC, build in recycling units and specifiy furniture, fittings and fixtures with a high content of recycled materials, which can be recycled in the future.
9) The legal bit Get a solicitor to look for unusual lease term clauses, seek out incentives from landlords, negotiate a rent-free period and consider future levels for service charges.
10) Finally, de-clutter Clear out old files, scan documents no longer needed in hard copy, dispose of information securely and donate any unwanted computers, appliances, etc to charity. Move on to the new location with a clear head, ready for business.
To help businesses get on the right track, Morgan Lovell has developed an office relocation checklist available for free download here.
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