Seven ways to make your office move a success

by Richard Dunn, head of office agency at Sanderson Weatherall

Moving office can be a challenging and complex process. From pulling together your relocation plan, to finding the right property and negotiating your lease, there are many elements to an office move that need managing.

Here are seven tips from Richard Dunn, head of office agency at Sanderson Weatherall, on how to handle the entire process.

1. Evaluate

Make sure you understand why you want to move. Whether its size, location, cost or just wanting a new environment, evaluate why you want to move and set some objectives. It will help you think clearly throughout the relocation process, especially when choosing the building and space that’s right for you.
It’s also important to understand what you’re leaving behind. You may need to save some of your relocation budget for costs associated to your current office. Understand your current lease and identify any costs you may incur when you leave. You should also assess if there are any post tenancy building repairs you need to pay for.

2. Communicate

Talk to people within your business and get the right people on board from the outset. By listening to your colleagues’ opinions and working them into your relocation plan, you’ll reduce the chances of facing internal barriers.
Make sure the relocation, budget and objectives for the move have been agreed by your stakeholders. This will help you during the process, and help speed negotiations up when you find the space you want.

3. Analyse

Understand the market and analyse how the new location will impact on your business, and on your staff. Make sure you have a vision of what sort of space you want. Be confident that any potential space is the right size by having space plans drawn up. Consider what sort of interior you want, and identify the budget you will need for the fit-out.
Competition for space means you might need to move quickly when you find somewhere you like. Be clear on your timescales for the move, and factor potential overlaps into your budget.

4. Identify

When you’ve found a space you like, identify any potential issues with the building by undertaking a due diligence survey. Check the space can safely fit the number of people in your business, and that it complies with health and safety regulations.
Be aware of the service charge and check over previous budgets. This will help you understand how the building is managed and see if any expensive repairs have been undertaken, and charged back to the tenants.
Get to know who your potential neighbours might be. Surrounding occupiers can tell you a lot about a location, and also any potential for new business opportunities.

5. Negotiate

With a competitive market, landlords are unlikely to wait around, so once you’ve chosen your space, you’ll need to move at a good pace to secure it.

With increasing demand for space and rising rents, the landlord may be bullish with negotiations. Understand the market to help you with your negotiations, but accept you may need to pay above market level if the space is in high demand. Check the paper work and make sure you understand the terms of your lease, and make sure it doesn’t have any unreasonable clauses.

6. Create

Think about what sort of environment you want to create for your staff, and how to integrate technology and changes in the way people work into your new space. Create a space to inspire and engage staff, encourage a better sense of culture and community, and boost productivity. A well designed fit out can also ensure you use your new space efficiently, and contribute to the day to day smooth running of your business.

7. Manage

Once you’ve settled into your new office, keep an eye on your occupational costs and identify where you may be able to make ongoing cost reductions. Understanding your business rates, rent reviews and setting up maintenance and repair management will help you to avoid any sudden costs during your tenancy.