Moving to new office in London might feel like an exciting prospect – but in reality, quickly re-establishing your business in one of the world’s busiest and most costly cities is likely to represent a challenge.
The good news is, you don’t have to learn from your mistakes. Setting up premises in London is something done by thousands of companies every year – so following some tried and tested rules will means business interruptions are kept to a minimum.
Find the right place
This first pointer might seem obvious – but the right place; with the right tenancy start date is trickier to find than you might initially think.
Generally, there are more people looking for the coming 1-3 months than people who are planning well into the future – and commercial estate agents will sometimes take advantage of that by offering more prompt move-in dates than are actually likely. Check and double check availability dates for the space you’ve got your eye on, and don’t start planning your move or taking any decisive action until you’ve got confirmations of availability dates.
To many small businesses have put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to moving – only to see goalposts move and find themselves without a business home for weeks at a time…
Plan your IT
Virtually every business has an IT backbone that they cannot function without. If your company revolves around the internet and email, then you need to know what that’s going to look like before you start setting up furniture.
If possible, take the person who’s responsible for your IT infrastructure to every viewing – even if that means paying your managed service provider an additional fee for a few days of dedicated consultancy. It’s absolutely vital that your chosen space is feasible for your network requirements if you want to hit the ground running – if it’s not, you’re potentially looking at significant alterations; either to your building (which takes a lot of time and landlord discussion) or to your systems (which is likely to cost a lot of money).
Have an internet circuit backup plan
While we’re on the topic of IT; one of the very first things you’re going to need to do is to plan your business internet circuit connection. Lead times for establishing fibre or ethernet lines can top 3 months – and that’s before the frequent delays that London businesses often see.
While it’s important to have plans for your line in place as quickly as possible, it’s also vital that you have a backup plan if things don’t play out as you expect.
If you simply cannot operate without an internet connection, a 4G WAN solution might stop your gears grinding to a halt. Essentially, 4G WAN is an internet connection in a box – with a series of high-speed 4G SIMs bonded together to make a business grade connection. Unlike traditional physical lines, it can be set up and onsite in a matter of days – helping you to get moving in your new office ASAP.
Make online collaboration easy
Depending on your current office/staffing arrangements, expecting everyone to miraculously be at their desk on the Monday morning after your move might be a little too much to hope for – so put plans in place that’ll make collaboration simple, even if your first few days or weeks are more of a long-distance relationship.
Consider moving vital documents and resources to an online, shared service. Think about giving people remote access to CRM, accounting, project management and other important online tools. It might take a little planning from an IT point of view – but it’s far better than paying people to sit an rearrange their desktop when they can’t access the programs they need or communicate with team mates.
Create a floor plan
While it’s a romantic idea to consider ‘getting a feel’ for the new space and planning working areas accordingly – it’s likely to take a few days, and if time is of the essence, that’s a few days that can’t be wasted.
When you’re looking at your new premises, do some measuring and create a reasonably detailed floorplan. When you’re back at your office, look at what will fit, who needs to be close to one-another, who needs power, IT requirements and any other considerations that relate to location within your building.
Creating a floorplan might take a couple of hours, but it’s infinitely less time consuming than finding your desks don’t fit in the area you’ve got planned.
Pre-empt your inventory
Knowing what you’ll need prior to getting into your new London space is a lot quicker than getting offices set up and limited productivity because you’re finding short-comings with the furniture, equipment or accessories you’ve got to hand.
A business/IT inventory is as unique as your organisation, so there are no hard and fast rules – just make sure you’ve considered every function, every device and every job role within your business. If in doubt, this is a good time to get your team together and talk to them about what they’re going to need to get working as quickly as is possible.
There are some good old-fashioned tips that’ll keep you on track for an efficient move to new London premises – and while they might seem simple, when time is money, it literally pays to make the minutes and hours count.
If possible, plan for a few days of overlap. If someone runs into a problem at their new location, it’s better to have them pick a laptop up, jump in a cab and retreat back to your old offices and continue work, rather than twiddle-thumbs until the new office is exactly right.
Get your employees to pack down their own desks. Make sure they’re packing into boxes that are clearly marked for them – with department or area colour codes clearly defined. This will help with efficiency of unpacking at the other end.
If possible, give your IT team or managed service provider access to the new premises a week or so in advance. Once again, making sure your infrastructure is in place doesn’t always go smoothly – and it’s always better to plan properly, then rush – and end up with problems that need solving.