By Amy Kardel, Co-Founder Clever Ducks
Even if you are just moving your business across town, your move will be much smoother with a bit of thoughtful advance planning. Moving your business can be a big disruption to the operations and growth of your company, or it can be an opportunity to make some needed changes in your physical infrastructure and the technology that supports your company. Take the opportunity to make an office move work for your business rather than be a distraction from your operations. Working closely with an IT service provider who understands your critical timelines can relieve a lot of stress. A good service provider can coordinate vendors related to your internet, phone, and computer systems and let you focus on your business.
Clever Ducks has provided leadership for many office moves over the years and prefers to be involved early in the process to plan and budget carefully for your technology service needs. We see ourselves as a key partner to your business success. We want your business computer systems to be ready and waiting for you at your new office, so you do not miss a beat before, during or after a busy office move. If you are just moving your office across town in San Luis Obispo or opening a new location from Paso Robles to Santa Maria, we hope you’ll find these tips and checklist helpful.
Office Move Tips
Start planning early, especially on IT related issues:
Before you even decide where to move we can help identify the connectivity options for your building. Don’t be like a local company that will go unnamed who signed a lease only to find there were no good options but T1’s for phone and internet, costing them hundreds per month for much slower internet than would be available in another location. A few blocks can make a big difference in your connectivity and cost. We’re happy to help you check on your options before you buy or sign a lease.
What to look for on a walk-through of a prospective facility
Some equipment needs special power. Make sure your electrical contractor talks to your IT team early. These changes take time in a tenant improvement and are easiest to build in with plenty of notice if you are doing new construction. We want to think through your conference room needs and wiring there as well so that the monitors are easy to install. Jeff Thoma of Thoma Electric says that electrical service capacity and available circuit breaker space are among the most costly electrical hurdles to overcome when businesses change their workspace. Whether it be new IT equipment, more air conditioning load, or even adding electric vehicle chargers or solar panels for your workplace, knowing how much capacity you have can be crucial to know the upper limit of growth in your new space.
Cooling, Ventilation & climate control:
Network gear, servers and communication equipment should be kept at or below 80˚F. Studies by Google, Amazon & Microsoft have shown that humidity is far more damaging than heat, operating servers at a relatively high temperature of 85˚ F had little impact on drive failure rates. Keep this in mind when planning where to put the gear that you depend on. It should be physically secure, environmentally stable (low humidity) and roomy enough so that the equipment can be serviced in a workmanlike manner and easily serviced. Too often the placement of this equipment (often single point of failure) is an afterthought. Also look to be sure that the location for your network equipment is easy to lock and alarm.
Physical Security Matters
The best network security can be defeated if a bad guy has physical access to your network equipment and computers. You can check area crime stats and talk to your police and neighbors to learn what issues affect your location. We have seen local offices here on the Central Coast where doors and windows were broken into with the “bash and dash” method using a truck to physically crush into the building. The criminals then loaded up the same truck in minutes and drove off with tech gear. Some offices are safer than others, look for easy ways to secure the building such as adding bollards in front of doors or lighting and cameras. A walk through with an alarm professional can help decide if your location is easy to secure.
Create a plan and share it
It makes sense to have a detailed list with assigned resources to each task, from putting up temporary signage at your new location to assigning new wireless passwords. Getting these tasks down on paper and brainstorming as a team will make your moving process seamless. We have a sample move checklist template here that might help you get started as you plan your move.
Step back and look at what you really need in the new office
Recycle, donate or toss items that haven’t seen use around the office for the last year. You’ll save space and moving hassles by doing this before you move.
Assign staff to work specifically on the move: Make Money, Serve Customers
Serving customers and making money is Job #1, so find a way to protect that. Go opposite of the normal weekend move: we last moved our office on a Wednesday, ensuring the best vendor support for our move. We also skipped burning out our team with a move over the weekend. Instead, we used the weekend handle last-minute issues rather than facing the hassles of the move in overtime. On move day, we scheduled our entire production team to be onsite with clients. And don’t forget to order lunch in for the move team and vendors on move day. That will help keep them happy.
Pick your vendors carefully and work closely with them
David Besse, Principal of 415ITGroup.com, moved his office earlier this year and jokes, “I didn’t just coordinate with vendors, I followed up and really almost harassed them.” You need to select your vendors carefully and then manage the process when you move so that everything comes together on time. CEO Mike Mazan of SolutionsWorx says he is often surprised to find companies continue to pay for internet services to a location they no longer occupy. Turning things on is as important as turning them off!
We work with Norcast/DigitalWest because they are results-oriented. We can get the things done right the first time . . . if problems arise, and they will, local providers are easy to get ahold of and will do whatever it takes to make the project a success. Big company X, not so much. Don’t get in a position of being helpless because you have a key vendor that is not setup to deliver like you’re their most important customer.
As an IT services provider, Clever Ducks can be your partner in coordinating with telephone and internet providers to make sure there is enough lead time to have everything running at the new office when you arrive. If you have any questions about an office move, we’d be happy to help you further.