Moving to a new space is a pain.
While I have only had to endure a few of these projects personally, I’ve worked with dozens upon dozens of businesses as they’ve moved into, across, or out of the DC Metro area.
And there’s one huge, expensive, stressful mistake that I’ve seen organizations make over and over again: not keeping their IT team in the loop.
What’s the big deal?
There’s no shortage of balls to juggle when it comes to coordinating an office move; from finding the real estate all the way down to choosing what sort of chairs and pencil holders you’ll have at your desks, these projects are highly complex.
So what makes the technology aspect so important?
Here’s the thing: your plumbing and electricity can be up and running without a hitch. Your construction can be finished, your walls painted, your floors carpeted. Your kitchen can be stocked with the healthiest goodies, your coffee pot percolating, and your furniture delivered and arranged with flawless feng shui.
But if you don’t have access to your files, your email, or your company database, your team will be dead in the water. And your clients will notice.
Rather than considering your technology as an afterthought, it needs to be at the core of your move project so that your needs can inform decisions you make as far as construction, cabling, layout, furniture, and setup. Things like:
- Where to build out your server room so that is away from water sources but within cabling constraints.
- How to design your server room so your equipment has proper power, temperature control, and physical security.
- Where you’ll need power outlets, wall jacks, and wireless access points to make sure your team can connect to your network and work effectively.
- What sort of furniture you will need to support your workstation setup, including any ergonomic solutions you may want to offer your team.
- How you’ll disassemble and reassemble all user workstations, while keeping track of what belongs to whom, and where and how it needs to be set up.
- How to coordinate with vendors for your phones, AV, and printers so that all “talks” to your network the way it needs to.
- Testing all equipment prior to your move-in.
- How to properly wipe and recycle/destroy any old equipment you aren’t moving over.
Any missed step can lead you to stumble, back-track, undo, redo, force-fit, and rush your way to your deadline. This will drive both your costs and your frustrations through the roof.
When to involve your IT team
Ideally, you’ll clue your IT team in as soon as you are considering a move. You definitely want to have them take a walk-through before you begin your build-out.
Some standard timeframes to keep in mind:
- Most Internet Service Providers take 60-120 days to have their service installed and ready in your new space.
- Most phone vendors take 30-90 days for their part, especially if they need to install their own circuit.
- Ideally, furniture should be delivered and set up in your space a week prior to move-in to allow ample time for workstation setup.
In other words, if you’re less than 4 months away from your move date and you haven’t taken a look at Internet providers, it’s time to pick up the phone and pick up the pace.
These projects are complicated, but they don’t have to be a nightmare; with enough lead time and with the right point-person at the helm, your move can absolutely go smoothly, and your team can be up and running without major disruption on Day 1.
Just don’t forget to keep your tech folks in the know.
As originally published in the American City Business Journals.