The office move – hell, or heaven?

Most people will tell you that they hate office moves (with a passion). Moves are always hard work and often very disruptive. However, with a bit of planning they can be made easier. Over the years IT Engine has done more office moves for our clients than we would care to count. We now have it down to a fine art. We have also had to put our experience into practice for our own move recently.
Before we go further I would just like to do a wee shout out to Apex Electrical, Telesmart and the Office Relocation Company for their efforts when we moved – they were all awesome and made our lives so much easier.
I don’t like to write with a negative tone but there is a fair amount that can go wrong with moves as there are many parties involved. So I am going to list what can go wrong – get it out of the way – then we can move into the positive stuff.

  1. Number 1, and it is the number 1 thing that can go wrong, is the internet connection. You would be amazed at how often a client goes to move into their new premises only to find that the internet connection they were promised is either not there or not working.
  2. Phone lines not being connected.
  3. Contractors not completing the fit out on time.
  4. Cabling not being put in the correct areas for the desks.
  5. Power not being put in the correct areas for the desks.

Right, so now we have that list out of the way … what can we do to combat it?


The best laid plans can go astray with your internet connection. The best thing to do for your internet connection is to book the install at the new site a least two weeks before you need it – don’t transfer your connection. Start a new one and then arrange for the old one to be cut after you have moved out. Give yourself a good couple of weeks leeway at each end. Even if it means you are paying for two internet connections at the same time, it’s worth it.

  • Give your ISP at least 6 weeks’ notice of a move.
  • If you are moving in the December/January period be aware of the brown out. This is where there is no work done (ie, new connections put in) from the middle of December to the middle of January.
  • When you put the connection in … TEST it … don’t take the word of the ISP that it is installed. Get your IT provider to check it before the move and make sure all is OK. You don’t want a mad rush on the day.

Phone lines not being connected

VOIP – if you have VOIP system and you can just plug in your phones and they go – then you are OK. Move to the next topic (and refer back to the one above, the internet connection). If you don’t have VOIP I would love to say that I have the magic bullet here, but I don’t. Unfortunately, if you’re moving a physical phone system, then you’re not going to know if it’s all connected until you plug it in. We had a physical phone system, so what we did was divert the phones to a mobile (via our phone provider). Then once we knew everything was OK we diverted them back. This worked well. There was an issue between Vodafone and Chorus which took several hours to get sorted, so having diverts and a backup plan was very helpful.

Contractors not completing fit out on time

Again, you are dealing with humans and humans are fallible. You can tell someone your move date and be assured that everything is going according to plan. But then the movers tell you that there is stuff all over the floor in the new building and they are still cleaning everything (yes this happened on our move date).
In hindsight, and next time, I will ensure all the dates are in writing. However, we have an awesome team – Roland just shot down to Hirepool, got an industrial vacuum cleaner and sorted it out. Rock on, team!
Best thing to do here is be flexible and allow a bit of time for potentially shifting dates.

Cabling and power

Happens to the best of us – you think you have all the points you need then someone moves the desk plan around and whoops! Try and include your IT team as much as possible in these discussions – you will find you have a much better outcome. Also, be aware when moving into older buildings with pre-existing cabling – it’s often damaged or, in our case, it was Cat5 and super slow. So we had to rip it out and re-do it. If you are not sure before you sign the lease, get your favourite cabling person to come in and give it a wee check for you. Then if it needs to be replaced this can often be worked in with the lease.

Other tips

  • It’s best if you can move during the week. That’s because if there are issues with connections (phone or otherwise) these are hard to sort at the weekend when everyone is at home. We did our move over a Thursday afternoon/Friday morning, which made sorting out the phone issue much easier.
  • Prepare your clients. You will find that everyone is very understanding about services not running at 100% if you give them plenty of notice. A really good way to let everyone know is by putting a note at the bottom of all outgoing emails. You can do this by adding it to the signatures – that’s quick easy and efficient.
  • Don’t forget to put a notice up at the old premises telling people you have moved. You never know who might have missed your emails.
  • When packing up your computers cables etc – make sure you get the staff to bag theirs separately and mark the bags. That way you don’t end up with cables everywhere and not knowing what goes where. If you are using professional movers then you will get labels for the boxes. Clearly define every area and desk beforehand so that items can be put in the right place from the outset. It makes it so much easier when unpacking.
  • Consider what you will need and when. When we packed we sorted items into three piles:
  1. can be packed now (won’t need before move)
  2. to be packed one week out (might need before we go)
  3. to be packed the day before.
  • If you have a lot of breakable gear, like we do, you may want to do your own packing rather than risk packers.
  • Have cut-off times, like no coffee machine after a certain time.
  • Thank your team – moving is really hard work – you are packing and cleaning up for weeks! Some pizza and a wine or beer goes a long way. 😊

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