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Action List: How to plan an office move

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This page has been archived because it is no longer current information but is still relevant, or it is current but over 12 months old
  • Publish date: 10 February 2012
  • Archived on: 10 February 2013

Moving office can severely disrupt your day-to-day business. So how can you make your move go smoothly? Martin Malcolm investigates.

Small Business Update

This update was published in Small Business Update 98 - February 2012

Small Business Update from Atom Content Marketing is a monthly magazine for people running their own business. Articles vary in length and cover 'hot topics', issues of importance, and current affairs.

  1. Start planning early. Commercial removal firms recommend that you start planning three months before your move, so you have time to think through every aspect of the process.
  2. Office move budget. Get quotes from removal firms and estimates for redirecting post and updating stationery. Check your insurance policy covers office moves. Do you need extra cover for theft or losses that occur outside the workplace? Factor in rubbish disposal, recycling, cleaning and making good the building you vacate.
  3. Office move checklist. Write a checklist of tasks to do in advance and on removal day. Advance tasks include ordering packing materials, labelling and boxing up items and shredding unwanted documents. Tasks on the day include checking inventories of items moved and placing key staff in the old and new buildings to direct operations.
  4. Office move plan. Make scale plans of the new office layout, showing where to place furniture and equipment. Assign work spaces and address any concerns with staff well before the move.
  5. Plan a skeleton operation. Organise a skeleton operation at a separate location to maintain vital functions while the move is underway. This could be just a mobile phone and laptop at home, with access to the company website. On removal day, divert calls and emails to this location.
  6. Minimise downtime. Ask staff to work from home on removal day. Schedule time off so key staff are available. During the move, other staff could contact clients with an update. A move is a good opportunity to remind customers of what you do, so make this contact part of a promotional push.
  7. Communicate your office move plan. Set up a bulletin board on your company intranet with key information, such as deadlines for packing and the new office layout. Brief staff to inform them of their duties and to answer questions. Ask staff to take personal items home for safe-keeping.
  8. Assign office move duties. Staff might clear desks, pack and label boxes, or create and check inventories of materials. Leave crating and lifting of heavy or expensive items and disassembling/reassembling furniture to the removal firm experts, who have insurance to cover breakages and who are responsible for their own health and safety.
  9. Move IT first. Back up important data. Better still, transfer your data and applications to an online ‘cloud’ so staff can access it from your skeleton operation. Plan for your IT team to go on ahead to the new office to equip each work station and get it up and running. Other staff can follow later.

Cardinal rules


  • Plan early
  • Establish a skeleton operation
  • Move IT first


  • Let staff lift crates
  • Forget to budget
  • Allow unplanned downtime

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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