After almost 20 years in the same office, we decided to move. You would think such a move takes months of preparation and planning…..but the HR Divas made the decision and then just did it… in 5 weeks. Yes, 5 weeks from the initial decision, to finding a new space and completing the move. Oh what a joy it is, NOW!
How did the HR Diva’s accomplish this?
We realized as we were negotiating a lease renewal that we were not willing to sign another 4 or 5 year lease, so we decided immediately we needed to move. One fortunate thing for us was that we found a new office very fast. We went right to the most beautiful business center in our area and found possible spaces on their website, looked at several available ones and found the right one in just 2 days. The property owner had an existing business already interested in the space we wanted, so we made a market price offer immediately to lock up the space and we got it. No wasting time trying to negotiate against another tenant and possibly losing the best space we could find!
There is more to a move than just the operational side of moving desks, filing cabinets, copy machines, phone systems, servers and computers.
Prepare a checklist of everything that has to be done, identifying who does each task and when. Update it regularly and follow this roadmap to keep on track. Since we remodeled our previous office just 2 years ago, we had a foundation to start with and just added all the extra things involved in actually moving.
The actual move was scheduled over a 3-day weekend, so we had extra time to ensure phones, internet and computers were operational without impacting our business. We had one minor glitch with our internet connection that was fixed in less than a day! Despite the best of plans, something always has to go wrong, doesn’t it?
Finding the right partners to help:
Charter Brokerage: Mark & Burt Fugate and their staff were amazing to work with, consistent with lots of feedback we heard from other people who have rented from them. We had our lease negotiated in 2 business days, which was pretty astounding!
Furniture Installation Team (FIT): Mike, Chris, Tracy and their team are the most amazing group of people for an office move. They designed our office areas with our existing Haworth desk systems and then handled the entire move and installation at the new space in less than 2 days.
Golden State Phone & Wireless: Glen, Lance and the team at Phone & Wireless are incredible. They are competitive with their pricing and offer a superior product with their featured brand of Panasonic phone systems.
Coast Networx: Bob McKee has been our IT consultant for years and he spent a weekend making sure our systems were up and working. This included setting up all the new computers we bought our staff! They are experts at what they do and more importantly they listened to our needs and exceeded our expectations for service and delivery.
The Diva’s met and discussed any potential concerns that staff may address.
As with all companies, YPP has staff who need to feel engaged and involved in the process, and others who just want to know what they need to do.
Once we finalized the new lease and had the office layout finalized, we had our employees join us for pizza – sitting on the floor! – so they could see the new space and where they would be. This got everyone excited about the move and enthusiastic about the work it would involve. Some of the new office features that everyone loved are that it’s a much newer building with our own kitchen and patio, there’s lots of windows that can be opened, and everyone has their own space yet can easily talk to others. Our staff literally couldn’t wait to move their own desks, and did so even though the afternoon scheduled for that it was pouring rain!
We did find that some employees can adapt to a major change like this very easily, and for others change is very difficult and they need more coaching through the process. Some employees volunteered to help with any tasks, like packing up office supplies, while others needed to be asked. However, in the end everyone pulled together and did a really remarkable job so we didn’t miss a single business day servicing our clients.
Were there Challenges?
Of course! However, with the amount of planning and organization, those were pretty negligible.
Our biggest challenge was moving from a space where we had more square footage than we’d needed, including an abundance of storage space. We made the decision that we were not going to fill up our new space with filing cabinets and other storage pieces, forcing everyone to finish our project of going as paperless as possible. However, when you’re in the HR business, your world is paper, and LOTS of it. This meant ramping up our scanning project to convert from paper files and binder to electronic storage. We still have temporary employees scanning hours every week to finish this process, but we made huge progress through the move. We sold lots of cabinets and bookcases, keeping far fewer than we had before.
What the HR Divas learned from this experience….
One of the lessons we learned from this experience is how important your office and environment can be for employees. Our last office was an award-winning and architecturally special building in our community. However, the owner had not been maintaining it to the same standards as it was originally, and new tenants in the last few years made a substantial difference in the atmosphere (that wasn’t positive!). We recognized these issues, but had underestimated the impact of them on our staff and clients; we had far more comments after our move about the previous space than we expected and realized we perhaps waited a little too long to make a move. In the end, everyone at YPP has been thrilled with our new space, and we’re happy we moved!