From reviewing your current lease to planning your new space, follow this comprehensive checklist covering every stage of your office relocation.
By Making Moves LondonDecember 21, 2022
This guide serves as the ultimate office move checklist, providing you with everything you need to know about each stage of the relocation process, from the finer details of your current lease, to preparing for the physical move, and all the relevant post-move steps.
Making the decision to relocate is a big deal, so we’ve created the ultimate checklist for office moves big or small to help guide you through the various stages of the world of office moves.
If you’re still finding the process overwhelming, our team of experts can support you through each and every stage, providing professional advice to make moving office as seamless as possible. Check out the checklist below and get in touch if you still have questions – we’re happy to help!
The very first step on your office moving checklist is finding out when your current lease expires. We recommend you begin the planning stage of the office relocation process between 12-18 months ahead of your current lease expiring to allow plenty of time for searching for a new office, legal negotiations, and any potential fit-outs.
Once you have found out the expiration date on your current lease, confirm your move date and inform all relevant parties including the landlord, your employees, and your commercial property agent. You will typically be required to serve notice at least 9 months prior to your lease expiring, so bear this in mind, but be sure to check the specifics of your existing lease.
Next on your office move checklist, you should confirm your current rent, rates, and service charge to help you determine the budget for your new office.
When reviewing your contract, you may find that you are obligated to refurbish or make repairs to the space before you leave. Dilapidations refer to the cost of this obligation and dilapidation negotiations can sometimes prove to be costly and stressful. Therefore, the sooner you are aware of your obligations and related financial implications, the better.
Next on your office relocation checklist is finding a specialist tenant’s agent to search for and secure your new office. At Making Moves, we take a positive and collaborative approach to everything we do.
You can tell us your requirements directly and we’ll get back to you with a shortlist of perfect properties. Alternatively, you can browse our selection of available office and commercial property spaces in London.
Appointing in-house stakeholders as well as an overall project manager for your office relocation is highly beneficial. Delegating specific areas of your office-move to specific people will ensure effective planning and will prevent key details and deadlines from being missed. If you have too much on your plate at once, the move is unlikely to go smoothly.
Next up on your checklist for office relocation, you should decide on one key decision maker who holds the purse strings. They will handle the budget for the office relocation and be the ultimate decision-maker on all costs. This will help to ensure that your office relocation budget is kept to.
At Making Moves, we handle any of the stresses involved in designing and building your new office. Our professional office fit-out project management team will help you finalise the vision you have for your new office space, while maximising the value of the project.
Your office fit-out checklist may include plans for growth, ways to improve the layout, and ways to improve sustainability. We will work with you to appoint a fit-out partner who will be able to assist you with any requirements that you have.
Finding a specialist property lawyer is an especially important step on your office relocation checklist. Amongst other things, they will be able to clarify any misleading legal jargon, eliminate the possibility of loopholes in your office lease, will ensure all verbal agreements with the landlord are accurately reflected in the lease, and that your commercial interests are properly protected.
Think carefully about how much office space your business will need. This will depend on several factors, such as how many employees you have, your plans for growth, whether you currently have or plan to implement, hybrid working, and how you intend for the space to be used on a day-to-day basis. The Making Moves Office Space Calculator is a great tool for helping with this consideration, plus we’re always on hand to help you determine what the correct amount of space is for your business.
Another important factor to consider is location. Bear in mind that some areas will of course be more costly than others and that some areas/buildings may incur hidden costs. You should also consider which areas will be popular with your employees and how easy an area is to commute to. An area can also conflict with, or complement, a brand’s image, so check out an area thoroughly before you commit. Making Moves Postcode Plotter is a tool we have developed to assist with calculating staff travel times to each location. This is an important point to consider if you are weighing up moving the business and team to another area.
When determining the budget for your office relocation, it can help to know the current cost of renting office space and how these costs vary between different areas. For extra help with determining rent benchmarks in different London locations, check out our 2022 market rent guide.
It is also very important to look out for and consider whether there might be any hidden costs involved with renting in a particular area.
Now on your office move checklist, it’s time to review your top priorities. What are the absolute must-haves for this move?
For example, if sustainability is one of your key business values, you will want to ensure your new office embodies this by being based in an energy-efficient building and utilising eco-friendly materials and technologies during the fit-out.
If hybrid working is important to your business, what does your new office space need to facilitate this?
The look and feel of your new office are undoubtedly important. Consider what your employees need from the space to do their best work, how you will reflect your brand in the new space, and how much you can realistically afford to spend on the fit-out. There’s no set fit-out, it can cost as little or as much as you’re able or willing to spend.
At this stage in your office relocation process, it’s advisable to engage all employees to ensure that they feel involved in the process and that their opinions are being listened to. Our resource on questions to ask employees before beginning the office search progress is really useful. You should consider which locations work best for your employees, what working environment your they favour, and what amenities they require.
Finding an office space that meets your needs can be highly time-consuming if undertaken single-handedly. Instructing an agent to provide you with a shortlist will save you a huge amount of time and stress. At Making Moves, our extensive knowledge of the market means we can provide a bespoke shortlist tailored to the needs of your company.
This is potentially the most exciting step on your office move checklist! It’s time to view office spaces in person, alongside your agent. Viewing potential office spaces in person is essential as it gives you a true feel for the size, lighting, location, general atmosphere, and whether there’d be any need for modifications to the space.
Make your agent aware of the budget for your office relocation so they can curate a shortlist that works for you financially. Bear in mind that, although an office space may initially seem to be within your budget, the need for numerous modifications or a substantial fit-out could make it too costly.
After viewing several properties with your agent, refine the list down to the top three, taking into consideration all of the above.
If you find yourself struggling with this step on this office moving checklist, get a second opinion from your agent or from a trusted team member. You could also look into arranging second viewings of your favourite office spaces.
You should aim to have several options drawn up for potential layouts. This will help you visualise the desk space available, what meeting space you have, what collaboration space you have, and the different ways you can configure everything together so you get the best end result. Your fit out company can help you get creative with different layout options and may suggest options you hadn’t yet considered.
Next on your office fit out checklist, you should research what is feasible within your budget and confirm the cost of fitting out your new office space. Request material swatches and samples to get a good idea of the look and feel of the space you’re trying to create, and look online for inspiration.
IT and phone installation can take several months to get sorted and may also be tied to a wayleave agreement. This is an agreement between three parties – the landlord, the tenant and the telecoms provider – which allows internet and telecom providers to install and manage equipment within an office premises. Companies can provide lead-in times of around 90 days for installation, so you mustn’t leave this to the last minute.
You should now consider and confirm your furniture requirements and the costs involved. Consider whether you’re able to save money by repurposing or upcycling some of the old furniture for your old space, and/or sourcing furniture second-hand. You should consider what your budget is for high-end fittings, such as video conferencing booths.
Heads of terms – also known as letters of intent, memoranda of understanding, or a notice of sale and term sheets – will set out an agreement in principle between your business and the landlord of your preferred office for lease terms. Although this is not legally binding, it is nonetheless a very important step on the office relocation checklist, helping everything to run smoothly.
At this stage in your office relocation, it’s highly important to involve a legal expert. They will go over the finer details of the new lease, such as specific exit options and any legal jargon that could potentially catch you out.
Furthermore, failing to verify the legal status of the leased premises or set forth precise party duties and rights could potentially lead to substantial legal and financial consequences.
Before you sign your new lease, it is highly important that you have a building surveyor assess the condition of your new office space. They will check for any document defects, liabilities, repair or maintenance recommendations, in turn protecting you from potential emotional and financial stress further down the line.
Office relocation can be daunting for all involved, including your staff members. Begin to get your team excited about the move and engaged in the process by providing them with regular updates and arranging a tour of the new space. This will help them to feel more at ease as it presents them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new space and its location prior to working there.
Post-move, you should look to prepare your snagging list and ensure all IT and communications equipment is working as planned.
And that’s it! The ultimate office checklist designed to make the moving process stress free! Get in touch today if you still have questions about the various stages of an office move. Our team of experts can offer comprehensive support and advise throughout the whole process – making your move easier.
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