Moving is never easy. Add in moving your home office — especially if it is your primary work location — and it can border on a nightmare. While movers are good about getting things from point A to point B, you’ll have to deal with getting settled and connected after the boxes are unloaded, particularly when you’re talking about technology.
Most home office workers don’t have the support of a large or mid-size organization to help them move. Worst of all, no one will likely be at your new home office setting up a home network, getting the computers up and running, and making sure you’re back to business as quickly as possible. Here are a few hacks and tips to help make the move more efficient, so you can get back to work in a snap.
Color-code your boxes. While it’s easy enough with moving boxes to write “office, den, and living room,” for very important boxes, consider spending a few dollars on colored duct tape. This isn’t exactly the cheapest option, as colored duct tape can be $10 a roll or more, but it’s a great way to color-code boxes. Use the tape to seal a box, with red indicating office equipment, yellow indicating files, and blue indicating stuff that can wait a while but still goes in the office, for example.
Recycle your shredded files. Before you pack up the paper shredder, consider using the shredded paper to help provide cushioning. While the super micro-shredded bits are probably too small (and can get in to your electronics), the basic shredded paper makes a good, free packing material for other household items.
Save the boxes for your electronic devices. Having the original boxes for your hardware makes packing these devices easier and also helps ensure that nothing gets broken. The packages are designed to be shipped and can handle spills and small drops a bit better, too. Of course, most people don’t save the boxes as these take up a great deal of room. In this case, try to pack up the equipment with plenty of bubble cushioning or, if possible, have the movers pack these items. It will cost extra for the latter, but professional movers tend to go overboard to make sure they don’t have to pay for anything that breaks.
Back up everything prior to moving. Whether you’re going a few blocks or across the country, back up your important files. You can’t control everything, and should the movers damage a computer, or worse, lose a computer, you can get back on track if you have a copy of its files. Better still, make a couple of backups so that you’re really covered. You can back up very important digital files on a portable drive to take with you, and you can mail a copy to your final destination. Multiple backups take time and the drives cost a few dollars, but it’s worth it to ensure that you’re not scrambling if disaster strikes. And once you’re settled, try to stick with a regular backup schedule.
Plan your network ahead of time. If you have deadlines coming up right after a move, consider getting your Internet ready before you relocate. This is obviously something you can’t do until you’ve closed on your new house or have signed a lease. If you can’t have the Internet ready to go when you walk in the door, you can schedule to have the Internet provider show up to meet your schedule. If possible, try to arrange this the day before the movers arrive so they’re not fighting for space and can each have your undivided attention. Likewise, if you need to set up any sort of house network, try to do it before the furniture is in. It’s easier to drill through walls and/or floors before boxes and wall units are in place when wiring is necessary.
Take power. Many older houses lack three-prong outlets and may have substandard power capabilities for all of today’s high-tech devices. Check out the outlet situation prior to the move if possible, and bring ground lifts, those handy rubber things that go on the end of a three-prong cord to allow it to fit into a two-prong wall socket. Buy these ahead of time and pack them with your electronics. While some would suggest breaking off the third prong on a power strip in a pinch if you don’t have a ground lift, this isn’t safe.