If you've got an office move planned, your job is twofold: to make sure everything gets from A to B in one piece and to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. But from desktop monitors and paper files, right through to the artwork in reception, an office move can involve having to move a surprisingly wide range of items, each with their own vulnerabilities and packing considerations. With this in mind, here are our essential tips for a stress-free, breakage-free move.
Should it stay or should it go?
First things first, you need to decide what you're taking with you. Those rickety office chairs that your customer service team has been complaining about for months: are they really worthy of lorry space? An early physical asset audit is a handy starting point for any move.
Go through the different departments and rooms, draw up a list of precisely what you need to take with you and what can be disposed of. To avoid doubling up on equipment, especially if you're moving into serviced office accommodation, you should also check the service agreement to see what's included in the package. After all, you don't want an excess number of chairs! Depending on the spec list, this may include storage and filing fixtures, furniture, telephony and kitchen/hospitality items.
As well as reducing the volume of items you need to relocate, this also provides the ideal opportunity to rethink ways of streamlining your business processes. For instance, instead of recreating your current server room setup in new premises, could this be the time to shift to cloud storage? And rather than it taking up valuable premium floor space, could some of your physical records be transferred to a separate archive facility? Taking these steps should leave you with a full inventory of the items you want to retain and those that you can send off for disposal, recycling, external storage or even resale. After you've done all this, you can then start thinking about the best, safest options for packing and transporting those items that are making the move with you.
Choosing the right removals firm
If you want the fastest move possible, it might be worth investing in a moving specialist. From the choice of packing materials to any necessary refittings of the new space, you tell them what you want to move and they take care of everything else. This isn't the best option though if you don't want to deal with a big price tag, and if you want to stay in control of the process. After all, you know the business better than anyone and can deal with problems quickly. Many firms instead opt to take DIY approaches to packing and boxing, while getting outside assistance for the actual moving part.
With safety in mind, whatever type of service you end up going for, have a think about the following points when choosing a company to work with: Reputation: take some time to search for and go through independent reviews from other businesses. Credentials: look for a company that's a member of the British Association of Removals' Commercial Moving Group (BAR CMG). This means their processes and service quality have been checked by an independent auditor.
Specific expertise: if you're planning on moving specialist (and valuable) equipment such as 3D printers, media and in-house production facilities, then you may well need special handling, packing and transportation requirements that both you and the removals company need to be aware of.
Packing for safety: essential considerations
When you've packed everything up, put it in the lorry and head off, the last thing you want to happen is to arrive at the new office with a cracked computer screen or a broken chair. Stuffing your items into a battered old printer feed box can be a pretty reliable way of racking up your accidental damage bill, so to avoid mishaps, here are a few ways of protecting them:
Use multiple, smaller boxes where possible
Sometimes it can be better to avoid putting everything into one large box and instead spread it out. Consider having a separate box for the contents of each filing cabinet drawer, for instance. This can be especially useful and efficient if staff are going to be doing some of the packing and lifting work themselves especially from a health and safety point of view. Smaller boxes are easier to grasp, lighter and safer to move around with.
Classify your packages
To make sure that your kit swiftly gets to where it needs to be on arrival, think about colour-coding your boxes for each room or department. This can be useful not only in the packing process, but also for when you unpack it all. It'll be a lot easier to find the IT equipment amongst the pile of boxes if the colour green is plastered all over it.
Wrap your items up
To add some extra protection to your items during the move, it's worth wrapping them up and filling any void space. How you do this is up to you, but it's best to avoid plastics and choose an eco-friendly and plastic-free alternative. Void-fill paper or shredded cardboard, for example, can be perfect here as both provide great protection and are biodegradable.