1. Appoint a project champion
The responsibility of making sure your organisation’s relocation is a success rests on the shoulders of the individual(s) you appoint to coordinate the project. They must make sure the project is on budget and on time. Whoever you choose, it’s important that he or she is totally familiar with your organisation. Remember: your office relocation will be an extremely stressful event and staff may be unsettled by speculation and rumour.
2. Interview and select a professional team
If you’re going to employ a professional firm of commercial agents, start the interview process now. They will be able to help you on the selection of new premises and on the potentially fraught process of negotiating terms to occupy them. Other key members of the advice team should include a lawyer and fit-out specialist.
3. Carry out a detailed workplace audit
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your space requirements, both current and future. Interview departmental heads and key members of staff to develop an outline plan covering the allocation of workspace, storage requirements and provision of core areas such as meeting rooms, break out areas, catering, post room etc.
4. Develop a premises selection criteria
You can now prepare your premises selection criteria to help identify suitable buildings. The selection criteria will typically include: size of space; location; occupation costs (rent, business rates and service charge); the commercial terms (lease, rent free, incentives etc); building configuration; suitability for open plan or cellular offices; building specification and services.
5. Decide on a shortlist and inspect potential buildings
Armed with the project brief and the selection criteria you will now be in a position to visit and shortlist buildings. Your commercial agent should be tasked with negotiating the most favourable terms, taking into account the full costs of occupation. At the same time your fit-out partner should provide advice as to whether space can be optimised to meet your specific workplace requirements.
6. Select a building and carry out detailed building surveys
You will now be at a point to start making some decisions. Assess the condition of your chosen building and make sure it matches your brief.
7. Commence detailed space planning
The way your office plan is designed needs careful thought in order to maximise its potential to bring gains in productivity, motivation, morale as well as staff recruitment and retention.
8. Sign off the detailed specification, design, costs and programme
You’re now at a point to embark on the office fit out. You should draw a line in the sand and agree and sign off a cost plan, specification and programme of works that reflect your approved design. This is a critical point in the process and where it typically goes wrong.
9. Order items well in advance
Make sure you understand your health and safety and insurance obligations and firm up your furniture and move strategies. This is the time to sort out things such as broadband and telephone lines.
10. Plan the physical move
Schedule time in for training staff on new telephone and security systems and the booking of hot desks etc
Remember this is a briefing note and should not be regarded as a substitute for advice on how to act in a particular case.
David Roberts of Maris Interiors is fit-out consultant to commercial agents Kushner.