The 5 Biggest Mistakes of an Office Move – And How to Avoid Them

When mistakes are made during an office move, it usually leads to cost overruns, operational downtime and worse. Arm yourself with the right information so that this doesn’t happen to you. Following are the top mistakes that occur during an office move – and some tips on how to avoid making them.

Mistake #1

Not taking the time at the beginning to properly plan the effort.

Don’t even think about skimping on the planning phase of the move as it’s integral to a successful transition. Take time on the front-end to create a solid foundation and get off to a good start. Consider the following planning items.

  • Build an effective relocation team with a strong team leader and participants who contribute to all aspects of the transition.
  • Create a comprehensive task list of everything that needs to be accomplished. This will help you to track and monitor the team’s progress.
  • Identify vendors needed for your transition. Take the time to vet the vendors thoroughly so that you hire the right companies that will produce results.
  • Create a relocation budget to help you identify, track and contain costs.
  • Assess your move situation and create a transfer strategy for your office contents and business operating systems that will minimize downtime.
Mistake #2

Causing disruptions to business operations because you don’t know how what to do and when.

If you haven’t relocated a business before, then you couldn’t possibly know everything that needs to occur to minimize downtime. The reality is that some people learn as they go they go through the process, which puts their business at risk. The best way to avoid having a chaotic move is to understand the many elements involved in the process and to create a task list.

Take the time to really assess your relocation goals and create a list of everything you need to do before, during and after the move. You can short-cut the process by using the sample Relocation Task Checklist that’s included in the book OfficeRelocation in 7 Easy Steps: Office Moves, the Right Way. Make sure to include all tasks and subtasks that need to be accomplished for your specific move situation.

Mistake #3

Getting technology transfer wrong.

The transfer of technology equipment and services can be the most complex part of the move. It’s also the most important piece of the move if your business relies on communications to operate and serve customers. Problems with transferring technology arise when people do not fully understand their company’s technology, or don’t have a realistic plan in place for the transfer. You can avoid both of these by fully assessing your technology and communications systems, and working with your vendors to create a seamless transfer plan. Another focus area is preparing the new office space to accommodate your technology. For example, the LAN room should be designed specifically for your equipment and services, phone/data cabling should be installed to meet your business needs, and power specifications should support equipment where needed.

Mistake #4

Furniture errors that can delay a move an add unneeded expense.

Without the right furniture at the new office, staff won’t be able to be productive. That’s why it’s important to get the furniture transition right. Some common mistakes people make are:

  • Assuming you can reuse your existing furniture at the new office. This is rarely the case as furniture might not fit thenew layout, office sizes, and configurations.
  • Not having enough lead time to purchase new furniture. You would be surprised at how long it takes to make a bulk furniture purchase. Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Not understanding the expense and time involved with relocating cubicle-style furniture. Transferring cubicles can be complex and costly as it often involves redesigning the furniture, ordering new parts, obtaining special permits, and installing customized wiring and power.
Mistake #5

Not correctly preparing for the physical move.

Another common mistake is when people overlook the importance of planning for the move day. It’s not uncommon for businesses to not be finished with packing and labeling when the mover arrives, or to have forgotten to pack certain items. Other areas where people fall short is in having a labeling system to expedite the move, and having people onsite during the move who can respond quickly to mover’s questions. All these pitfalls add time and money to your move, and put your business at risk for not vacating your current space on time. Preparing for the move day involves:

Assessing your items and determining who moves what and when

  • Selecting the right move vendors, including your general mover
  • Handling some essential pre-move logistics, such as reserving the freight elevators for your move.
  • Creating a labeling system so that your items are placed in the correct location at the new office.
  • Preparing your staff for the move so that they understand their responsibilities, such as packing and labeling.


This article is compliments of the, your online move advisor and information central for the office move process.

© Office Relocation Center, 2012