Office Relocations – It’s All About Communications, Baby!
If you’ve ever been involved with organizing the relocation of a company office, you know that it’s not the most pleasant task in the world. The super positive emotions conjured by thoughts of the shiny new workspace, new office layouts, and hopefully a new coffee machine, can quickly be destroyed by the Earth shattering realization that you could be in for a world of stress, pressure, and logistics nightmares, with usually a hard deadline that can’t be budged.
That is of course… if you try and do it all by yourself.
If you’re not a seasoned relocation pro, we have some super useful information that will make your job far easier, and help maintain smooth business operations leading up to and directly after the relocation. After all, no one wants to be in a new office where nothing works! Especially the coffee machine.
Communications are key!
The best advice possible, leave yourself plenty of time to get everything done, and start talking to your key suppliers before you sign a lease or purchase a building. Moving is expensive and time consuming, so you need to talk to electricians, removalists, IT specialists, telecommunications specialists,
There’s nothing worse than a dodgy internet connection slowing you down. With the NBN roll out across Australia, most small businesses will be fine with the FTTN, FTTP, FTTC, HFC, and potentially fixed wireless internet options that NBNCo are providing.
When you’re assessing potential locations, ask your IT provider to find out what internet connections are available in the area, and what the lead time for connections are. Many of our clients have chosen one office over another, purely because the internet and comms options are better at one location.
Just like “oils ain’t oils”, all internet connections aren’t made equal. If your business needs a true commercial grade connection, with higher speed and reliability, traditional fibre optic solutions are a far better choice. Not all premises are “lit” for fibre, but usually fibre optic can be deployed out to buildings with an upfront or amortized build cost. They cost a few dollars more, but if it is a vital requirement that you have reliable internet, you can’t go wrong.
You can check out general NBN availability here: https://www.finder.com.au/nbn-tracker but if in doubt, check with your IT support team and get them to assist, because poor internet equals poor communications ability, equals lost business opportunities.
What about your phone system?
If you’re running a traditional wall mounted PBX, how are you going to move this quickly without it disrupting voice communications with clients and suppliers? Can it be upgraded to support NBN-activated offices, or is it time to go fresh with a new system all together?
Quite often you can’t quickly unbolt an existing wall based phone system, plug it back in on the other side, and expect it to magically work. There’s far more to it, and experts are required to assist.
Common strategies to keep communications running during a relocation are to:
- turn the phone off and have everything go to voicemail, advising that you’re moving office,
- redirect all calls to a mobile phone,
- install a new phone system in the new premises ready for use before staff arrive,
- move to 100% cloud based telephony such as VOIP with a cloud based PBX prior to moving, which lets you take handsets anywhere that has an internet connection, or use a softphone app on your mobile phone
There are plenty of options in the telephony space, with every man and his dog offering something that is the “best deal ever” .. but, consult with your IT service provider as these days phone systems tie heavily into IT, and a wrong decision – usually on a 36 month term – could be very costly.
Structured network cabling within the office
Does your new office have structured network cabling in place? Is it in good condition?
It might sound great that the office is already cabled by a former tenant, but, tread carefully. Similar to having a termite inspection done prior to purchasing a new home – bad network cabling is hidden from view until something big breaks, and costs you a packet to fix. It pays big time to test it before you move in, or even submit a lease offer “subject to network cabling meeting CAT6 certified specifications”.
The quality of network cabling within an office plays a HUGE role in productivity, because if data errors are flowing across shonky network cables, it can cause problems that are often extremely difficult to pinpoint. Getting your structured cabling right involves having a qualified and ACMA registered technician visit, test each and every network outlet and the cables connected with some very expensive equipment, to give it the green light that it meets required standards.
This is akin to having a termite inspection done prior to purchasing a new home – bad network cabling is hidden from view until something big breaks, and costs you a packet to fix.
Staying online during the move
Does your business need to remain operational during a relocation? Weekend relocations are easier on business productivity, but, come at a higher cost. With the advent of newer cloud services, many businesses are able to relocate during the week but at a reduced operational capacity for a couple of days.
Open communication with your clients and suppliers is vital leading up to this stage, so that they’re all aware of what is going on and that you may be at reduced capacity for a few days.
One of the very common issues we encounter during a relocation, is that a business wants to have a few people up and running at the new premises well in advance of the rest of the team, so that they can keep operations ticking over. We call these the “early movers”, and it is a great idea to minimize the impact to operations.
However, and, believe it or not… it is quite difficult for IT to re-instate computer workstations on desks for the early movers, when all of the desks and chairs were the first things loaded onto a removalist truck, and the last items unloaded. Oftentimes we’re waiting half a day or more for furniture to be ready to reinstate computer systems onto. Good planning means less lost time, and less cost.
There are a LOT of really simple strategies to avoid this scenario, so have a chat with us if you need a hand.
Are you ready to get started with planning your office move? Download your FREE complete office relocation checklist by clicking on the image below!