Moving offices requires significant preparation and planning. There are so many IT requirements for a new office, and it can be a stressful, complex and costly process. Without a detailed IT relocation project plan, this exciting time for growth in your company could have negative impacts on both staff and business costs.
Defining the IT Requirements for a New Office
When it comes to planning an office move without disrupting your business, Karren Skillings, Principle at Skillings Education, offers the following tips:
- A successful relocation is 90% planning and 10% delivery.
- Every successful project needs a process plan.
- Managing large office moves is challenging.
- Clients are always surprised at how much planning is really required to pull off a relocation.
- Don’t let anyone understate what you need to know or plan for during this time.
Malcolm Joosse, Director at Hotline IT, understands the importance of starting early when planning an office move. “When a client advises us they plan to relocate, we request a shortlist of prospective locations. We then carry out a Tech survey of each site and rank them based on the sites tech readiness. Sometimes this process takes months, as clients are looking at locations that would be costly to provision their requirements in and many sites are unsuitable due to their lack of tech infrastructure.”
Putting Together a Robust IT Relocation Project Plan
Paul J. Lange, Owner of www.paullange.com.au, adds: “I previously held roles leading network and telecoms teams, including for AEGON Insurance, the largest insurance company in the Netherlands. I’ve also had businesses in disaster recovery and business continuity, including physical facilities as temporary workspaces. Thus means I’ve overseen several office migrations in Europe and Australia.
“No business should suffer disruption due to office moves, irrespective of industry or size of company. Size impacts the amount of time required for planning, and the actual logistics respective of employee communication and engagement. Internet/network and telecoms should be a non-event. Precisely what you need to look out for depends on the size of the company.”
However, Tina Chou, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Ellyot, says: “I feel that having the right digital architecture in place to combat complex office moves is the first starting point. It’s my POV that if companies start adopting smart-working and using digital tools and platforms that help to manage remote working, office moves will be made easier.”
To begin your new chapter with confidence, take a look at our guide to make sure everything is in place in plenty of time.
Before you choose a new site
When choosing a new location for your business activities, the new site should not only accommodate your growing workforce but also provide the foundations you need for a smooth transition. Some considerations to make before selecting a new site include:
Is there sufficient cell service?
What sort of connectivity is available? Some services can be unavailable or extremely costly and time consuming to install?
Ryan Jones, Junior Sales & Marketing Associate at ACI Inspired Workspaces, says: “one of my best tips for before you even start choosing a site is to ensure you have a great office fit-out provider in place. Some of the best office fit-out companies will also offer free space planning and office relocation services, allowing you to choose the best office for your needs even before you start laying out large amounts of money to buy an office building.”
12 – 6 months before the move
When you have chosen the location, identifying the IT requirements for a new office and the biggest challenges you will face due to the move is the next step. If you can reduce the complexity of the office move, you reduce the chance of things going wrong. For example:
If you have legacy onsite servers, can they be virtualized well ahead of the move date?
If you have an On-Premises PBX, why not consider moving to a new VoIP system. These can be bedded in before the move takes place.
Solutions for the above initial findings should be considered carefully before committing. Delays and further problems could be costly for the business.
6 months before the move
If you’re moving to a location requiring a total refit, allowing sufficient time for installing cabling and connectivity is vital. If the new building already has other business working from there it is likely that some providers will already have connectivity available. Take a look at the below lead times for connectivity installation to schedule in sufficient time.
- Ethernet cable installation: 6 – 18 weeks
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network connection: 4 – 16 weeks
- DSL connectivity: 2 – 3 weeks
- T1 line – can vary dependent on your provider
Aaron Fisher, CEO of My Infotech Partner, adds: “Depending on the size of your business and the type of internet connection (or if you have other data services in place), it can take 3 months or more to get services activated. Before moving your people and equipment make sure your in-house or outsourced IT team confirms that all 3 services are active at your new location.
“Time and time again I’ve seen missed deadlines and people moving into with no phones and no internet. In such circumstances they’re essentially unable to do business.”
3 months before the move
As you get closer to the move, backing up essential data is essential to ensure a smooth transition. At this stage, the details of how the move will be implemented will need to be planned and finalized.
When developing an IT relocation project plan, it’s critical to consider whether it will happen in one effort or over a staged period. You will also need to ensure that you communicate to all staff when the date of the move will take place and prepare everyone for potential disruption.
Philip Brookes, Founder of Aktiv Digital, says: “I recommend that all businesses do at least preliminary investigations at least 3 months before they intend to move, and longer if they are a large organisation or have complex environments. The most frequent surprises come when businesses discover the new location lacks access to the same quality internet. Alternatively, they may discover that there will be an extended delay until new connections are installed. You need to research these things critical aspects as early as possible.”
1 month until the move
As the time draws closer, preparing your teams is essential for a smooth moving day. At this point is also a great idea to get everyone to do some housekeeping, not just for their desk and filing systems, but also their computer. This will help clear out any unnecessary files on the server, so backing up is easier to implement.
2 weeks until the move
With only a few weeks to go, everything should be on schedule for the final move date. It is important to check everything is set up in the new office to provide a smooth transition. Make backups of all data to ensure you safely store everything for access in the new location.
Big office moves can prove a stressful period for any business. With so many IT requirements for a new office, it can pose real challenges to any organisation. However, with effective planning, you’ll reap the rewards of a growing team.