How to plan and manage an office move

To Start

Once a company has determined that it is going to relocate or renovate its facilities, a great deal of planning must go on. Specialists, such as Owners Rep, Architect, General contractor, Furniture Company, Specialized Consultants, and a Mover become key members of the relocation project team.

After a project team has been formed there are several important steps that must be taken prior to the start of an actual move. Design and Construction plans must be completed, furniture and carpet selections must be made and phone and information systems issues must be addressed. The relocating company must also determine where common area printers and fax machines will be located and what amenities will be available. Security systems and facility access are usually determined at this time.

Ultimately, the success of the move is determined by how well the project team utilizes its resources. Careful planning and proper use of personnel, research and analysis of every detail provide the best framework for a move that is completed on-time and within budget.

Communication is essential during the planning and execution stages of a move. In most cases department heads are assigned the task of gathering important information within their own department. They usually delegate authority to an assistant, referred to as a Move Coordinator, who follows through on the company’s move strategy within the department. Depending on the size and scheduling of a particular move, Move Coordinators will meet with the mover or relocation consultant as necessary in order to learn about what his/her department’s personnel are responsible for during the move process.

The mover plays a critical role…

The mover plays a critical role in this process. Once the space is designed and the furniture plan is completed, he works with the client and other vendors on developing a complete plan for the physical move.

Although most companies that are relocating into new facilities purchase new furniture, they also must determine which furniture is going to be reused and which furniture is going to be surplussed. This step is referred to as organizing the architectural plan. In this process, the mover can assist in disposing of the obsolete furniture in one of three ways:

  • 1 As a charitable donation
  • 2 having it carted away
  • 3 selling it to a used furniture dealer.

In addition to assisting with the furniture disposition, Sher-Del Transfer can also accept delivery of new and refurbished furniture in our fully staffed warehouse and store it until the scheduled installation dates.

Another important step

Another important step in the move process is analyzing the common area files. This is accomplished by measuring the existing departmental file area and making certain that proper file space is allocated in the new location.

The relocating company identifies the exact area in which the files will be located in the new facilities and Sher-Del Transfer determines which equipment will be utilized during the relocation of the files. The mover should be notified of which files are most critical and must be kept available for the relocating company during the course of the move. Essential files will be marked and tagged accordingly.

Libraries and large active file rooms should be analyzed by the move team. The relocating company is always advised to analyze their active file needs and to determine if some off-site storage is desirable or practical. The mover will usually be able to provide off site record storage options that are far less costly than expensive commercial office space. Purging old, unnecessary business records can also result in considerable savings. It can significantly reduce costs for packing, handling and space rental.

Working with the mover or relocating consultant, the file room manager or librarian is advised to determine what files can be pre-moved (packed, transported and unpacked) prior to the main relocation. Thus, file room access can be prioritized and managed separately from other office furniture and equipment.

Another aspect of moving a file room is mechanical. Usually the mover must disconnect and disassemble the shelving assembly in the correct sequence so that the files can be resituated according to plan. Because of the importance of the company’s business records, it is essential that the mover be experienced in file room transfers.

The move coordinator will learn how to purge materials and supplies that should not be moved to the new location because they have lost their utility.

Within the last decade

Within the last decade one of the most important parts of a move has become the handling and transportation of a company’s computers and information systems. As a result, the MIS department is looked upon as an important focus of the move team. MIS will usually determine who will connect and disconnect company computers and peripherals. They must also determine whether their existing service contract requires them to use a different mover to transport and handle their computers and peripherals, or whether they can use the same mover for the computers that the company has selected for the overall move.


Ultimately, the physical move is handled by the moving company. Several tasks must be completed to ensure that the move progresses smoothly. First, Sher-Del Transfer will work from the furniture plan to develop a color coded marking and tagging system. This system will identify every item being relocated and assign a color and number to it based on where the item will be placed at the new facility. By tagging furniture and cartons and placarding rooms at the new location, the possibility for confusion and lost productivity on move day are eliminated. The mover’s crews are guided by the color placards on the walls in the offices and halls and by the tags on the furniture and cartons.

Once an actual move date or dates have been determined, elevators and building services in both the old and new facilities must be reserved. Most companies experiencing a large relocation over a weekend period should entertain the option of reserving an on-site or an on-call elevator mechanic(s) in the event of an elevator failure on move day. Ultimately, it is less costly to pay for mechanics available than to pay the movers crews while they wait for a mechanic to be dispatched in the event of an elevator breakdown.

Sher-Del Transfer will also investigate means of access and egress from both sites as well as facilities for their trucks. He will also estimate the capacity of elevators to move furniture and allocate manpower. The mover’s goal will be to optimize productivity during the move. If it appears that there will be considerable waiting time because of limited capacity to move furniture on the elevators, smaller crews will be assigned to the job, keeping costs in line. Because elevators are so important to the move, it is crucial to obtain elevator reservations well in advance and receive written confirmation from the building managers that are involved.

Post move services are usually ordered immediately after the completion of a move phase to adjust furniture locations and to knock down and dispose of moving cartons.

Having a help-desk/hotline available during and right after a large move can be very useful. If any company employee has a request or a problem immediately after a move phase, there is a line of communication set up to prioritize and address the situation.

In summary…

In summary, completing a move on time and within budget is a team effort. Each member of the team has a valuable contribution to make within the specialized areas. Communication, management resources and proper planning result in a successful relocation.