Moving office in 2020
Planning an office move in 2020 will be a totally new experience for any business. Whilst you may not be considering an office move until next year, you should be prepared for what to expect so you can start planning now.
Over lockdown, offices were forced to shut their doors and employees were instructed to work from home where possible, making office spaces somewhat useless. This transition has opened up a number of challenges and opportunities for office-based businesses when it comes to the future of modern working. When planning an office move in 2020, business owners need to consider how working life has changed and what makes sense for the future of their business.
As such, we’ve put together 10 expert tips to help you plan what’s best for your business when it comes to moving offices.
1. Identify your new office
Perhaps the most important step in moving offices in 2020, is working out what type of office space is right for your business, as there are now so many more options available. We’ve included below some suggestions for how office-based work has changed and how this fits into an office move.
- Remote working – Over lockdown, many workforces have proven that working from home can be equally as productive and effective as working in the office. As such, you need to consider to what extent you want your staff to work remotely or in the office, as this may involve needing to downsize or upsize.
- Downsizing – If you’re planning on enabling staff to work flexibly, sometimes office-based and sometimes from home, it might be worth downsizing to a smaller office. Having staff working in the office on a rota system will reduce the need for individual desks, equipment and overall office space. Therefore, it might make sense for you to downsize in order to cut back on rental costs and free up money to invest elsewhere.
- Upsizing – Whilst downsizing might make sense for your business, you need to also consider whether employees will be able to socially distance in the workplace. If you’re planning on bringing all employees into the office on certain days, you need to ensure that you can accommodate them safely, which may involve upsizing.
- Working from anywhere – It’s predicted that businesses will begin to adopt working from anywhere policies. Whereby, they allow employees to work from anywhere suitable, provided they have the right equipment to do so. You can find out more about what a working from anywhere policy is and how to create one, here.
- Coworking spaces – Coworking spaces, like WeWork, are becoming increasingly popular in major UK cities, such as London and Manchester. WeWork gives businesses the flexibility to rent an office space that works for them, including large office spaces for the whole team, singular desks, memberships to coworking spaces and more. This can help to reintroduce your team to an office-based environment, helping to boost collaboration and company culture, without having to commit financially to renting an entire office.
- Office hubs – In response to the pandemic, some businesses are beginning to establish office ‘hubs’ based just outside of the major cities that their old offices were in. Being a commutable distance from the city, but outside of the city, helps businesses to save on rent and provides a place where colleagues can collaborate and interact when necessary. These ‘hubs’ are a good idea for businesses who plan to allow employees to work from home normally, only commuting outside of the city on an occasional basis.
2. Appoint a project manager
This could be one of your employees or someone external. If you appoint one of your employees, it’s important that they’re well respected by all members of staff and knowledgeable enough to know what the best solution for your business is, with significant experience of successfully leading projects. If you appoint someone externally, ensure they have run similar projects previously. Meet with them and ensure they’re meticulous, authoritative and methodical.
3. Plan early
Plan early and thoroughly to limit disruption to business as much as possible. If remote working has worked well for you during the pandemic, it might make sense to delay an office move in favour of saving money and allowing more time to plan.
When planning, you should also ensure that you speak to your staff and keep them updated throughout the process. For example, if you decide to work remotely forever and never look to move to an office space again, your staff may become disengaged and unsatisfied. Therefore, you need to consult and ask for feedback from employees at every stage of the process to make sure that their mental health and wellbeing won’t suffer as a result of office locations and working practices.
We’ve outlined some basic things to consider when planning moving offices in 2020:
- What is the reason for the office move?
- When do you need to move offices by? Is this flexible?
- What does your business need to function successfully?
- How important is location?
- Do you need to reduce costs? Or, are you looking to upsize?
- What do your staff require for a productive working day?
- What are your staff’s preferences?
- How does your company culture tie into your office space?
- What size does the space need to be?
- Does it adhere to social distancing measures?
- Is it easy for all staff to commute to?
4. Read up on Health & Safety regulations
This is especially important when moving offices in 2020. With the pandemic still posing a threat to national health, businesses need to prioritise the safety of their staff. Professional office relocation companies can provide insight into the standard and coronavirus-specific Health & Safety measures that you need to be aware of.
5. Consult a professional IT Company
Your IT systems are crucial to the running of your business. Your in-house IT department may not have the skills or the experience to carry out a complex relocation of your IT infrastructure, which is why it’s worth consulting a professional IT support provider. For example, server relocation can be risky and trying to do this yourself can be disastrous. Setting up new networks, firewalls, network printers, shared drives and email servers is complex. It is best to let the professionals handle this. If you do choose to go with a professional, make sure they conduct a testing phase after installation to ensure everything is working, and that they re-establish your backup and disaster recovery solution.
To find out more about how Netstar can help with moving offices in 2020, click here.
6. Ensure you have a business continuity plan in place to protect you from potential disasters or delays
In most cases, this won’t be necessary. But it’s important to be prepared regardless. In our experience, office moves are generally problem-free, and businesses can continue to function as normal, with little disturbance or interruption.
However, disasters are never completely preventable. For example, imagine if the vehicle containing all of your IT equipment was stolen or involved in an accident? You’d need a plan in place to ensure that this affected business operations as little as possible.
You can find out more about establishing an effective business continuity plan here.
7. Make sure all of your data is backed up
All of your data should be accessible and backed up in two separate locations to ensure your files are safe, even in the event of a disaster. If you’re unsure whether your data is backed up or not, you should speak to your IT support provider immediately. IT companies with good backup and disaster recovery plans will store all of your data in a secure datacentre or the cloud.
During the pandemic, many professionals struggled to access the data they needed when using different devices at home. But, for companies that use cloud computing to store their data, the transition to remote working was simple. When data is stored on the cloud, professionals can access it securely from anywhere, at any time, from any device. This makes it an essential tool for businesses planning on incorporating flexible working in the future.
8. Speak to your phone and internet providers
When moving offices in 2020, you need to ensure your IT equipment, telecommunications and internet connectivity all align. If you work with an IT support partner, they should cover this for you when helping to plan and facilitate your office move. But you should make sure that all of your service providers know about the move ahead of time and that they can ensure everything will be working for you when you move in.
9. Discuss your new IT layout with your chosen IT Support Company
Your IT support provider needs to know your layout plan for your new office, so that they can ensure that technology is set up in the right places. They will likely discuss this with you, but you need to make sure your wishes are outlined clearly ahead of time so that they can predict and rectify any potential issues.
Having a comprehensive plan for your office layout is especially key in 2020. With social distancing measures in place, you need to know where exactly everything in the office will go and how people will fit into the space safely. Prior to renting an office, make sure that the space can safely accommodate your staff and equipment in line with government health & safety requirements.
10. Think about what you might like to get rid of
Moving office can be the perfect time to change your office furniture. Doing this would normally cause disruption, but with many professionals still working from home, you can take the opportunity to introduce new equipment and layouts that better accommodate your staff.
If you’re planning on introducing a rota system for employees working inside and outside of the office, you need to make sure you have the right equipment in place to accommodate desk sharing safely. This will likely involve getting rid of old office furniture and making improvements to your IT systems. As everything will have to be disconnected and re-setup anyway, this is a great time to modernise the technology you’re using and implement IT solutions that will boost productivity, efficiency and security for your business.
Click here for advice on how to access expert Technology Consulting services and recommendations on how to upgrade your IT systems to best suit your business.
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