Moving office is exciting, but it’s also one of the most stressful things you can do as a company.
But that stress doesn’t have to be entirely yours! Whether you have a Managed Service Provider or not, your IT team should handle the majority of the IT headaches.
There are a few things to consider for your office move, specifically relating to your IT – and this checklist should keep you on track and minimise any disruption.
1. Plan ahead
It can take a long time to deliver connectivity. For some specialist circuits road works may be required, which means planning permission. None of this is your problem, of course, but it all adds to the time. You need to contact your service providers as early as possible, but try and give at least three months.
2. Have a backup plan
Depending on contracts it is common for the move date to be fixed and non-negotiable. It’s crucial that your connectivity is in place before your staff move in and have to work.
Having a plan B (and C) can get you out of a hole. If you are having a shiny 1Gbps fibre link put in for the new office, consider ordering a bog standard FTTC (fibre) line as well. Often these are delivered quicker, so if there are any delays in the leased line, the broadband might bail you out.
If both of these fail, make sure you know which mobile providers offer the fastest 4G in the area – when push comes to shove you can run on mobile broadband to keep your business running.
3. Review your equipment
This is not the time to be penny pinching – you have a nice new office space, make sure your connectivity is up to scratch. If your switches, routers, firewalls or access points are ageing, now is a great time to refresh them. Aim for gigabit connections to each desktop (it’s cheap enough now), and all of your hardware on maintenance contracts.
4. Evaluate your server room requirements
If you aren’t a cloud first business yet (why not?), then you may need to move a bunch of servers. Make sure your new building has enough rack space, enough power and cooling, and enough physical security to meet your requirements.
5. Plan your Wi-Fi
Nobody likes poor Wi-Fi. As part of the prep work, make sure you have a wireless survey completed, to ascertain the optimum placement for your wireless access points.
Consider speaking to your neighbours and working out your Wi-Fi to deconflict with theirs – there are only so many channels and it’s often easier to collaborate.
6. Install your cabling
Work out how many cables you need, bearing in mind cables for things like:
- Access Points
- ID scanners and door locks
- IP cameras
Try and think forward with this – it’s easier to put a couple of extra cables in for expansion now, than try and do it later.
Also, make sure there is enough power. You don’t want extension leads everywhere.
7. Protect your data
When moving servers and bouncing them around in the back of a van, you are almost certainly going to lose a hard drive or two.
Make sure you have backups of your data in case of any problems.
Also make sure you have backups of your firewall, switch, router and other infrastructure items – it’s not just servers that lose data!
Make sure that your key data is also encrypted, in case any of it gets lost in the move.
8. Plan for a long weekend
Office moves are often done over the weekend. The majority of staff will go home from the old office on Friday, and turn up at the new one on Monday.
For your moving team, the work starts Friday. It takes longer than you think to empty the old and set up the new, so plan for some early starts and late finishes over the weekend!
Stick to the plan where possible, but don’t be afraid to improvise – the most important thing is that your users can turn up on Monday and get to work.
9. Test, test, test
Aim for the move to be finished on Sunday afternoon – so that you can be testing throughout Sunday evening.
- Verify all cabling, phones and equipment is in the right place.
- Check your phone system thoroughly
- Check your Internet works. Do some speed tests before everyone saturates the network, to get a baseline of it’s capabilities.
- Walk around and verify the Wi-Fi. Check that roaming is working properly, and you can walk from one end of the building to the other without disconnecting.
- Start all the servers, and verify all your services are working properly.
10. Be there
On the first day in the new office, make sure there are enough support staff around to make it seamless.
Don’t expect people to phone the helpdesk for issues in the first day or two after the move, have support on site getting people settled in and helping with any teething problems.
Once it’s all done, it will be a weight off your shoulders and you can enjoy your new office.
A week after the move, why not send out a survey to your users (you could use Microsoft Forms), to ask them how they are settling in. This can be a great step for employee engagement, and may give you some important feedback on how to improve the IT in the office to improve efficiency.