The move is on. You’ve identified a shiny new office and the next stage of your growth is about to happen. Exciting times – but the reality is that this is where things can get a little complex.
An office move requires advance planning and even overlooking the smallest of things can cause unwelcome delay. You’ll want to be productive right from the start without teething issues. That’s where Stellarise come in.
We are massively experienced at helping organisations move to new offices – and we don’t just move your IT, we help you think strategically about the kit you need for today’s highly mobile and cloud-based workforce.
So, if you are thinking about an office move, this checklist will help you think ahead. Let’s get started…
1) Internet connectivity and wireless/wired networking
We always start by looking at the connectivity available in your proposed building. You will need this functioning properly the day that the office is going to be live. But there are lead times to consider so there can be a real risk of it not happening i.e no phones or internet.
Of course, in order to achieve this you will need to migrate your systems to the cloud but this is a one-off task that, once completed, means you can start to take full advantage of mobility.
What’s the top priority here?
Check out the connectivity options to get a good idea of how long it will take to install and the costs and options involved.
How long does this take?
Typically you’re fine if you’ve got 3 months until the day of occupation (though things can take longer) and in many cases we can get things in much quicker, particularly in London – we’ve turned things round for clients in weeks.
When do you suggest we start?
Sometimes it makes sense to start installing connectivity even before the lease is signed – this may be the best option if there is a short fit-out planned. Sometimes the small risk/cost (there is also a small window when there is no cost) of having to cancel a contract in the early stages of an office move make this worthwhile when working to very tight timescales.
Consider backup options
What is your backup connectivity going to be at the new office? It’s likely that both data (email, all your cloud services…) and voice are going to go down with the same connection – if that breaks you’re cut off from the outside world.
2) Consider the needs of a mobile workforce
The next thing you want to think about is what is the impact in the building of having a much more mobile workforce.
Does hot desking make sense?
If everyone is working off laptops/tablets – then hot desking is much easier. You can design an office with lots of breakout spaces/meeting rooms for collaboration, and because everyone can move around and work anywhere, in-office collaboration / teamwork is much improved.
What should we include in our meeting rooms?
You need to think carefully about your meeting rooms. They won’t just be for people who are physically present, you’ll be talking a lot via video. So, they need big TVs (touch panel potentially) and video conferencing equipment. Think about how users connect to these screens with their laptops/phones/tablets – and how will you handle guests coming in? We can advise you how to make the most of video conferencing solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and so on.
And what about phones in the meeting rooms?
Well, you could think about having them on laptops. We are talking about a mobile workforce here. This would help to keep everyone mobile and your phone system could be a cloud based service (available from anywhere in the world).
Won’t all of this need good connectivity?
Yes it will. That’s why we always start our process by looking at connectivity. You can’t have all the best kit if you don’t have the best connectivity and WiFi to run it.
You can design an office with lots of breakout spaces/meeting rooms for collaboration, and because everyone can move around and work anywhere, in-office collaboration / teamwork is much improved.
3) Plan your workstations
No matter how mobile your workforce, you’ll still need workstations. But the choice is wide – sit stand desks? Normal desks?
What should be we considering?
Make sure your workstations have good cable management for the kit and monitors that will be on them.
A new office is a great opportunity to avoid that massive mess of spaghetti wiring underneath the desks where things are unplugged, not plugged in properly and things stop working. The right cable management solves this.
Plan for the right number of power sockets per desk. It can be 4 to 6 outlets per seat (unless it’s a hotdesk area in which case just power). You’ll need to ensure this is factored into the power load for the office floor – we can help advise on what is required.
And what about future plans? Additional hires will need the same equipment so will you easily be able to add more workstations and cabling?
4) Don’t forget your comms room/area
An office move isn’t just about the workstations and meeting rooms, you’ll still need somewhere to keep all your networking equipment.
With cloud computing you might not have on-premise servers, but you will need a comms rack with your networking equipment and this needs to be secured and cooled properly (so need to take into account the power output of the rack equipment).
And what are you going to do if cooling fails – leave the door open? Install secondary cooling? Some customers make this a feature and put them behind glass doors – like Stellarise. We like looking at the kit we’ve installed. But then we are an IT company!
5) Some points about wiring/cabling
Once you know the layout of the office you can plan the fixed wiring. Even with the advent of modern WiFi we’d still recommend this for the best reliability and performance.
Make sure you have a wiring/cabling plan for installation and consider the maintenance of these. Is there a support package available?
When the wireless/networking and internet is all setup – test the network and confirm it works as expected. Test that internet failover works too.
6) Managing the actual move – and a communication plan
You’ve come this far in the checklist and still haven’t moved. We told you there was a lot of advance planning. But the big day is fast approaching. Here are a few things to consider…
When should we move?
It’s usually best to do this over a weekend. This will consist of packing up the kit in your old office, moving across to the new one and assembling and checking that everything works.
What will we be moving?
This will include your printers, video conferencing equipment, probably servers (very few offices are completely server-less) and monitors / laptops / workstations / phones. You should take an inventory before you move – we can help you with this.
The setup needs to coordinate around desk builds. We would take responsibility from power up. Plug in data, power, test each workstation/tv/printer.
What about communication?
Good communication is key to a successfuloffice move. You’ll need to advise your suppliers and clients/customers of your new address so that they know where to deliver any goods and how to contact you. And don’t forget to update your website and email signatures.
There should also be a communication plan between all parties involved in the move – so that everyone understands their role in the shut down, move and start up.
7) The first day of operations in the office
You’ll need on-site tech presence to ensure any gremlins are ironed out. If you’ve got an office of 100 people and lose a morning because of teething issues, that’s a staff cost of £15,000 let alone the lost opportunity cost!
Glitches can be things like monitors reversed (left/right) but can be more serious – power issues (all users come in and turn everything on and the floor trips.) This doesn’t get picked up necessarily when testing machines one by one.
Based in London and Budapest, Stellarise specialise in the IT project management of office moves. There’s a lot to consider – but with experienced support at the planning stage and throughout the move, it doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right planning and testing your move stands a much higher chance of seamless success.
Case study: Work.Life – how Stellarise brought IT scalability and confidence to a rapidly expanding co-working workspace.
Read about our strategic IT plan that has helped this fast-growing organisation move into a number of new offices. We delivered a number of office building technology fit-outs of over 10,000 square foot, providing Work.Life with a tested and reliable service bringing a consistent process to future locations. This includes A/V (audio/video) systems, telephony, comms rooms and meeting room installation and patching services.
A wider strategic conversation?
An office move is a big commitment, but have you considered all the IT issues? Not just for the move itself but the future needs of the business?
Is your current technology delivering the growth you want? Our Strategic IT Audit starts with understanding your business. If you are going to be moving, you might as well move with the technology you’ll actually need.