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8 Surprising Lessons to Learn BEFORE Your Next Office Move

Moving your business to a new office is never an easy task. Finding the space itself is a tough process but that’s only half the battle. Once the lease is signed, you have to worry about:

1. Structuring the space to support your team after you move in

2. Strategizing a smooth transition so as to not hinder their performance

There’s a lot of room for error — and at this stage, even the smallest mistakes will cost you.

At PivotDesk, we spend most of our time helping businesses find and design killer office space to house dynamic teams, so it wouldn’t really be fair to leave you hanging for what comes next, would it?

That’s why we teamed up with access management experts, KISI, for a webinar on the tips and tricks you need to structure a smooth office move.

Webinar host and PivotDesk CEO, David Mandell, didn’t spare any of the gruesome details behind the lessons he’s learned — often the hard way — moving businesses from one location to another.

In case you missed the live webinar, we’re recapping some of the most surprising (and crucial!) lessons covered live right here on the blog.

Want to get the full rundown on what it takes to execute a smooth office move? Download the free webinar recording.

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8 Surprising Lessons to Learn BEFORE Your Next Office Move

Based on the webinar: Structuring a Smooth Move – The top mistakes businesses make when preparing to move offices and how to avoid them.

1. Even big-name companies make mistakes.

Webinar co-host, Alex Shamy of KISI shared a story of a big-name KISI client that learned some costly lessons the hard way after waiting until the last minute to plan out an office move. The company, which Alex did not name for confidentiality reasons, made the mistake of assuming moving day itself was all they needed to worry about, forgoing the early planning stages necessary for a successful move. The result? Utter chaos on moving day due to poorly coordinated vendor scheduling.

Alex explained that by not mapping out the order in which vendors needed access to the new space, tasks were not completed on time and services were delayed for over a week. Not only did the team lose productivity after being forced to work from home, morale was damaged due to disorganization and stress caused by constant disruption.

To learn more about best practices for coordinating vendors, watch the webinar here

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2. Building delays aren’t just possible, they’re probable…prepare accordingly

As a seasoned entrepreneur, David has seen it all when it comes to moving business. And one of the most common catastrophes he’s seen? Moving delays. No matter how generous contractors are with timelines, things almost always go wrong and move-in dates get pushed back. This becomes a major issue when you’re coming up against the end date on your current lease.

The best way to account for inevitable delays? Flexible short term office space solutions. David explained that this is the exact reason for companies like PivotDesk as well as many coworking spaces that offer flexible contracts. By hedging your bets with an interim solution, you’ll ensure your company has a working office at all phases of the office move process.

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3. Brokers are your friend…don’t treat them like the enemy

The commercial industry is an archaic institution that can be difficult to navigate, even for a seasoned entrepreneur. The key is finding a broker you can trust.

David explained that some of the most damaging mistakes people make when searching for office space involve misusing commercial real estate brokers. Brokers get a bad rap, but the truth is — brokers are your friend! But you have to be honest with them in order to get the most out of their services.

So, how do you build a great relationship with a CRE broker? Don’t undercut your budget when communicating your needs to the broker. Your broker will only show you spaces that fit your price range, and in cities like New York, you get what you pay for. Viewing a bunch of cheaper spaces that won’t work for your company will only waste your time and your brokers time.

And don’t try pitting one broker against another as a way of finding the best deal possible. All brokers have access to the same listings, so as David explained, what this will end up doing, is damaging your credibility with landlords. When landlords see multiple inquiries from the same company, they assume the company is unreliable, and thus won’t be a quality tenant. Only work with one broker at a time and don’t be afraid if a broker asks you to agree to a 24-hour opt-out agreement. This is meant to protect both you and the broker from looking foolish to landlords.

Want more best practices for working with CRE brokers? Watch our free webinar on the secrets to leasing office space

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4. Location ISN’T everything

We hear it all the time… “Location, location, location,” but as David explained, functionality and flexibility should always come before look and you guessed it — location.[Tweet “Office functionality and flexibility should always come before look and you guessed it — location.”]

Why? Because, in business, the one thing you can count on for sure is that NOTHING is for sure. Things change and baking flexibility into your business plan and your commercial real estate decisions is the best way to guard against unpredictability and protect your business.

David stressed that especially in the early stages, before you’ve had a chance to put your projections to the test, over-spending on trendy office locations can be a business killer.

Instead, he urged, you should look for an office that will work as your business grows (or doesn’t) by offsetting overhead costs with office sharing and creating task-specific work zones to allow for maximum flexibility. So, if you know you’re going to have excess space in your new office, determine which areas you want to share with another team before moving in. For example, if you have an extra conference room, consider making it a private office for another company.

Next, you can design the layout of your space with flexibility in mind. Think phone booths for private calls, lounge areas for informal meetings and standup desk pods for heads-down work. Your team will thank you for it.

Check out this post for more tips on creating a flexible work environment. 

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5. Think before you drill

Alex from KISI explained that some of the most avoidable moving mishaps spring from poor IT infrastructure planning. Rather than jumping right in and drilling up the walls in your new space, Alex advised asking yourself a set of questions to ensure you’re considering all the variables at play:

– Where are the existing hardware locations?

– Where should the phone lines be? How many do you really need?

– Do you need a server room?

– Do you need a printer? If so, what is the best location for the noisy machine?

From there, it’s all in the planning. The moving project manager should have a clear idea of what tasks need to be completed and in what order before sending contractors into the new space.

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6. The more you have, the more you have to move…

It might sound obvious to plan to clean house before you move, but even David admitted to moving boxes of junk from one office to another in his years as an entrepreneur.

But why pay to move items you don’t really need?

David explained that the key to getting your team to stay organized is by setting hard deadlines for packing and moving. It’s never easy to get a group of people to complete an undesirable task, which is why it’s so important to empower the moving project manager to make tough decisions and lead the team.

So, take a note from Marie Kondo and chuck the office items that no longer serve you. Better yet — go digital and store hard files using Dropbox or Evernote.

7. Thieves love moving day

Moving day can quickly descend into chaos, especially in major cities like New York City and San Francisco. Sadly, thieves know this too and often prey on stressful moving situations, Alex explained.

The trick to avoiding theft? Vigilance at BOTH office locations. Alex advised moving valuables first and stationing someone at both the new office and the old office at all times. That person must be well aware of who is and is not allowed in the space. Beware — skilled thieves may even don hard hats or fake uniforms to blend in with vendors.

The safest way to protect your space come moving day is to block of the time for one vendor alone — and that’s the movers. You’ll want to ensure you know exactly who belongs in your space and when. Want to take it a step further? Print colored badges or stickers for approved personnel.

For David’s most absurd moving day story, get the webinar recording here

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8. Office culture is too important to leave behind

Moving is an undeniably chaotic time, but it’s easier than you think to structure a smooth transition and keep your culture on track. Alex shared a few of his favorite culture building tools including collaborative Spotify playlists and Hooch, a service which provides members with one drink at a different bar every day.

And of course, one of the major keys to culture success (pun intended) is outfitting your office with a kick-ass office access system like KISI. In order to enjoy working in the new office, employees need to be able to get IN to the office. KISI can take care of that for you.

For a bundle of discounts to our favorite office perk providers, download the free webinar recording. 

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