When you start your own business, few milestones compared with opening a new office or a second branch. That feeling that you have really arrived — that your company isn’t just growing on paper, but actually requires more physical space and a larger team — is intoxicating.
But sooner or later the anxiety and elation inevitably give way to the practical problems involved in opening a new office. How much space will you need? Where is the ideal location?
How will you find commercial office furniture, and how much of it do you require? Perhaps most importantly, how can you design this new space so that it communicates to future clients and customers what kind of a company you are trying to build?
These are all challenging questions, and there is no single right answer to any of them. But here are five key things every company should take into consideration when opening or moving to a new office.
Communication may be the single most important part of opening or moving offices. Staff need to know what to expect, and they need to have a timeline for how the process is going to unfold.
Once you make the initial decision to open a new office, you should put together a planning team that will provide clear messaging and delegation to your entire staff so that everyone knows how the process will unfold and how they can expect it to impact their work.
This team should provide clear guidelines around:
- The duties of each employee over the course of the process
- Who they should contact with concerns or questions
- Contingency plans
The team should also build excitement around the move, and give each employee a sense of ownership over the process. Your workers are much more likely to participate enthusiastically if they can see how it will benefit them personally.
A lot of infrastructure is needed to keep the modern office functioning, from structured cabling for landlines and computers, wi-fi hotspots for guests, and whatever other utilities your company might use over the course of its regular business.
Your particular infrastructure needs will depend at least in part on what kind of building or space you are renting (if you’re simply taking up a couple of floors in a large office tower, infrastructure may be easier to manage than if you’re setting up shop in a charming but unrenovated old warehouse space), but you should determine far in advance what will need to be done so you can ensure a practical installation timeline.
3. Commercial Office Furniture
Of course, you can’t open a new office without new commercial office furniture. Whether you opt for open office workstations or modular office workstations, you’re going to need enough furniture to provide your staff with the kind of workspaces they need.
There are a variety of options in terms of design and materials, but the bulk nature of commercial furniture orders means that most high end suppliers require you to order quite far in advance, while entry-level suppliers tend not to provide installation support.
Traditionally, if you needed a quick turn around on your furniture order but you also wanted turnkey service, there weren’t many companies that would be able to deliver high quality furniture on the required timetable. Fortunately, this has started to change, and companies like branchfurniture.com are starting to approach the contract furniture market with principles drawn from the fast-furniture world.
Whatever your commercial office furniture needs are, however, you should be sure to create a detailed plan for the number and dimensions of the pieces you will need, and will also need to ensure that what you select meets the insurance and landlord requirements of your building (some turnkey services will take care of this on your behalf).
4. Your Customers and Clients
One of the things that makes opening a new office so stressful is the fact that even in the midst of setting everything up and putting everything in place, the day-to-day business of running the company still needs to be taken care of.
Your clients won’t care that you’ve got a lot on your plate during this period, and nor should they — after all, they’ve presumably chosen to work with you because you constantly put their needs and concerns first.
That being said, you should be clear and upfront with the people you serve about what is happening and how it will or will not impact the services they rely on you for. Even if you are able to pull off a seamless transition, the transparency will almost certainly be appreciated!
If you are setting up a completely new branch or secondary office location, hiring movers may not be a big part of the process. But if you’re planning on moving to a new space, you’ll need to make sure to hire a moving company that can deliver what you need.
While most commercial movers over reliable service at fixed rates, there are a few things to watch out for if you want to ensure the best possible service:
- Do they offer transparent rates?
- Do they have the proper license?
- Are they insured?
- Do they have a successful track record with commercial office furniture and large-scale moving projects?
It’s always a good idea to do extensive research before hiring a particular moving company. Check online sources like Yelp to find the most highly rated moving companies in your area, and see what you can learn from the experiences other businesses have had working with them. With such a critical part of your move, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
While each of these steps can help you make your move a success, perhaps the most important thing to take into consideration is that even the best moves rarely go as smoothly as might be desired.
No matter how carefully you prepare, some things are bound to go wrong, and the difference between a smooth move and stressful one often comes down to how extensive your contingency plan is. One of the best things to do if you want to leave as little to chance as possible, however, is to work with companies you trust.
Whether that means ordering high end commercial office from a company you know can deliver what you need, or finding movers that you have solid reputation for timeliness and professionalism, making sure you have the right people in your corner is the best way to achieve this exciting milestone in the life of your business.