Sooner or later, you’re going to have to move, whether it’s your office or home. Cross town, cross country, or maybe just within the same building, you’ll need to pack everything up and relocate. It’s an inevitable fact of business and life. Businesses grow, they need more space; business isn’t great so the company needs to downsize; you haven’t been working and finally found a new job but it’s location is beyond a reasonable commuting distance, you have a child due and realize your current residence isn’t big enough. The Covid-19 Pandemic has also instigated office and people moves as workers return to their offices, need to be spaced further apart or have relocated to find new opportunities.
The “why” of the move is far less important than the actual physical aspects of your relocation. Whether or not you’ll have a lot of advance notice will be determined by the particular circumstances of the move, but it is extremely important that you face the challenges of the relocation with patience, fortitude and strong organizational skills.
In general, your biggest hurdle will be figuring out what needs to be moved and where it will go in its new location. You may not always have the option, but if possible try to get a look at the new location before the move in an effort to visualize where you will put things, where your work space will be in relationship to necessary equipment, exits, storage and others from your workgroup. If you can’t do a physical walk-through, perhaps someone can shoot a video of the space. While not optimal, it’s better than nothing as a reference.
The most important aspect of the process is knowing that when the move is complete you’ll be able to find everything. Unfortunately, it is rare that a moving company will put everything back in the same way you had it before the move, so it is that much more important that you personally see to as much preparation of your work space as possible before the move. In particular, this means taking an inventory of everything from your desk and work area so that you know what you already have, and what you expect to find when the move is complete. You can take pictures or a video with your phone, or you can make lists, whichever works best for you.
In many situations you will be responsible for packing up everything from your work area – files, phones, contents of desks, bulletin boards, supplies, etc., so that if you can’t find anything in the new location, it will likely be your own fault. As you box things up, make clear, legible and detailed notes on the outside of the cartons as to their contents so that you can quickly identify what goes where. It may also be beneficial to create a separate list that identifies what is in each box so that you have a cross reference to know if everything you boxed up arrived to its intended location.
While many moving companies have the capability to move large objects like file cabinets and desks, they frequently prefer that these things are empty before they are moved, making it all that much more critical for you to carefully and completely box up and properly identify what you have packed.
When you get to the new location, try to make any minor adjustments that are needed to your desk, chair, file cabinets, etc, such as their exact location, spacing, and other details that affect your proximity to needed resources, comfort level and productivity before you start putting things back into the file cabinets and desks making them harder to move. While we may be working with more and more digital files, in most businesses there is still a lot of paper being used that needs to be kept in the right place and the right order, so don’t lose your focus on the organizational part of the move. Take the time to make the new space work for you so that everything gets put away accessibly and you can find whatever you’re looking for.
Let me add that regardless of all your planning and organization there will likely be hiccups along the way. More than likely the problems that will crop up will be technical; things like phone and computer lines not getting properly activated or connected, phone extensions improperly routed, and other telecom and programming details that are typically out of your hands. This is where that patience and fortitude come into play. If your company is lucky enough to have an adept and skilled office manager who knows and understands the systems being used and has lined up the appropriate technical assistance, things could go rather smoothly. If not, things will get bogged down until those details are worked out.
Take a deep breath and practice some deep breathing through all the frustrating moments of the move. If all goes well, you should be back up and running at close to full productivity in a relatively short amount of time – a few days at most. If not, keep breathing, remain patient and vigilant. You will get through this. Let’s hope it’s a smooth move!