Mother Nature notwithstanding, you should do as much as possible ahead of time to prepare your new location. "Think of every piece of equipment in your office, its role in your business, where it will go in your new office, and when it needs to get there," Economaki advises.
Making sure the new office site is completely ready on moving day is also crucial. If contractors are still getting the space ready when the movers arrive, you'll be paying your movers just to stand around. The move coordinator should also make sure parking spaces are clear for the mover's trucks and that elevators are available, if needed.
Properly packing and tagging all items is probably your employees' most important duty, according to Wayne Cotton, president of Cotton Moving and Storage Inc. in Houston. Each employee and each office should have a designated number that will be placed on all boxes, files, furniture and equipment. "And, to our movers, no tag means `no move,'--they might assume you meant to leave it behind as junk," Cotton says, so be sure all necessary labels are in place.
Cotton's company breaks the office floor plan into a grid and designates color-coded tags to correspond to specific areas. Moving things according to their colors helps focus efforts on one area at a time, thus making the move more efficient.
In addition to using color-coded labels and numbers, Alexander's Moving and Storage provides "Hot Box" labels that employees use to designate the items they need immediately to get up and running in their new office. Accordingly, ARB's employees were able to set up their desks, phones and vital files and get to work first thing Monday morning after the monsoon-like move.
Remember that your company's relocation is about more than just moving boxes and office equipment. You are moving people, too--uprooting lives and separating families from their homes and friends. Because the move can unsettle so many lives, be as flexible as possible to ease the transition. Warns Mumma, "A poorly planned move that stresses out employees could be costly to a [business] in terms of productivity."