Earlier this year I moved my home office and that was an ordeal. I was settled rather quickly and was back up and running. However, two weeks ago my wife’s office moved and it seems that things have changed a lot since the last time I had to do an actual small business move.
In my professional career I’ve worked at two companies that moved offices, and the first time was at a very small (let’s call it a boutique) record label. With three full-time employees we had to do everything ourselves. Needless to say stuff was misplaced, broken and the results were that it took longer to unpack than it should have–especially given the size of the company.
The other move was with a medium sized public relations firm and that company had closer to 30 full-time employees, including a full-time office manager. The company was larger but the move was easier. Why? Because this was a team move.
The point is that smaller doesn’t mean easier. For one thing the head of the smaller record label wanted to cut corners. He moved his law office at the same time and because we were small time, he wanted small time prices. In my various home office and small office moves I’ve found that you can’t cut corners.
Even the medium-sized PR firm found that you get what you pay for – namely, despite my warnings not to go with a certain moving company, the rates were too good to pass up. That is until half the number of movers showed up without a truck. And rather than begin the process of actually moving things outside, they waited – in case there was a problem with the truck. This didn’t stop them from charging from the minute they arrived.
However, other than this minor mistake the larger company moved nearly seamlessly. Computers were properly packed; each employee was responsible for his/her desk and contributed to a committee-style move. So one committee packed the kitchen, another the meeting room and so on; and this was better than saying, “Peter, you know computers, pack up all the computers… and put them in that big box.”
“Oh and we’ll blame you when one gets broken during the move.” I didn’t mind being a committee of one, but the point here is that if I was responsible for the computers I should have the power to determine how they need to be broken down, transported and set up. Don’t form committees or teams and then tie the hands.
I’ve also learned a few other things from my various moves. Here are a few tips for moving your small office:
- Don’t Unpack What Can be Stored – various colleagues have asked how I can unpack my home office so quickly. But whether this is about a home office or your small office, there is one truth: things that don’t need to be unpacked shouldn’t be unpacked. Do you need to save files from last year? Well, box those up apart from the active files.
- Purge – it takes extra time, but if you haven’t used it, don’t need and won’t be using it again — donate it, recycle it or throw it away. Whether it is old files, an outdated PC or just that plastic toy on your desk, decide it you need it before you move.
- Rent a Box – this is something I had no idea about, but many moving companies are going green. You can actually rent storage/moving boxes for the big day. These plastic bins are a great alternative to cardboard because they can withstand the rain (should it rain on your parade) and they encourage unpacking. Plus at the end of the day these can be reused rather than thrown away.
- Team Play – as I mentioned if you have enough employees you should consider teams to break down certain items. And if you have an IT person or IT staff, these are the folks that should handle the break down and set up of computers (plan on outsourcing individuals to help, but look for qualified IT professionals if possible).
Do you have other tips or ideas to help make that move as seamless as possible?