Lessons Learned



Hear from others who have been through the move process and want to share their experiences. Their valuable input could make a difference in the success of your office relocation.




“The biggest surprise about the office move was the amount and level of coordination and communication that needs to take place on a daily basis and the sheer level of detail in many aspects. And the amount of time it takes to do it right.  The level of interaction is especially significant if you’re not only moving your office but doing a construction build-out of the new space.”

Amy Patterson, Asthma and Allergy Association of America


In the beginning, I didn’t know what was involved in the process and didn’t know what I needed.

I thought that moving an office was like moving my home. But it’s definitely not. It’s much more detailed and involved. The process is much more involved and complex and combines so many different entities, such as construction, electrical work, furniture installation and cabling. It’s also having a labeling system and informing staff along the way and helping them feel comfortable with the move even when there are a million balls up in the air at one time.

I couldn’t believe how many details are involved in the office relocation process and how much time I had to spend every day coordinating those details. It felt like a full-time job in itself on top of everything else I have to do on a daily basis as office manager.

Cynthia Cook, American Planning Association


Determine furniture placement carefully. Be thorough and accurate. Your movers will count on your final floor plans as they bring everything in. They move fast, and you need to be ready to answer their questions quickly, so you’ll be referring to your plans constantly during in the inbound part of the move, which is why they need to be accurate, which is why you’ve taken the time to do all your own measurements.

Stay hydrated. Eat. Breathe deeply. Don’t take your frustrations out on your coworkers or your vendors. You’re all in this together, and you’ll need to ask for favors along the way. Be cool.

Being organized is essential. Assign management of the move to a very organized member of your staff.

Working with excellent vendors is important. Your sales/account reps need to know their business inside and out, so when seeking bids from vendors, ask for their ideas on making the move as streamlined as possible. They should be able to offer numerous suggestions related to their areas of expertise. If they don’t, you may want to keep looking for other vendors. Once you’ve settled on a vendor, use their experience to your advantage. They’ve been through the process numerous times and their input will definitely be of help.”

Ann Checkley, AIDS Foundation


Transferring technology services and equipment is complex and often involves multiple vendors. This process can lead to various problems, which may add time and intricacies that can hamper a smooth transition.  It is imperative that your IT department or vendor is heavily involved in pertinent aspects of transitioning and that they communicate with you regularly. Coordinated time frames are critical. Plan as specifically as possible what needs to happen and when. For example, telephone and IT staff or vendors will need a floor plan containing telephone and data ports to complete requisite work. If this is not available from the building (which it should be), it will have to be created—an extremely time-consuming task.

Transferring communications lines alone is challenging because there is much involved, there are different types of lines and uses for them, and often different vendors handle different types of lines. We had a mixture of old POTS lines and general phone lines . . . it’s important to know which lines are used for what purpose. This is an important detail to nail down early in the process, so you know what equipment and services run off of each line. If you have an older phone system (as we did) that needs to be synced with the transfer of telecommunications services, this information is even more essential.

It’s important to be sure you know the quantity and types of telephone lines, and exactly what their use is. For example, an analog line would go to a fax machine, which could reside in a copier, copier/scanner, or a stand-alone fax machine; an ISBN line would be used for older videoconferencing machines, a postage machine could possibly use both analog and data lines, depending on the use of the machine. Another technology detail that is very important if you have an older telephone system is to track where each telephone handset and extension will be located—in offices, kitchens and conferences rooms—and to obtain the correct phone numbers right for each location. It can become very confusing and time consuming if you don’t have this information straight. This process is not necessary, of course, for newer, state-of-the-art telephone systems.

Marsha Hawkins, The Carmen Group