Much of our time as commercial real estate brokers is spent helping companies find new locations for their businesses. Requirements for individual companies are all different and depend on a variety of factors. Every location is also unique, and it’s a challenge to make sure we guide our clients to the space that fits them best. But, finding the right space is just the beginning.
I’ve recently learned there is much more to a company’s move than picking the right location. We moved our office for Front Street recently and more than doubled the amount of space we occupy. In hindsight, it all went very smoothly, but it was an involved, time-consuming process that taught me several lessons worth sharing.
- Do a Space Plan: This is often a great place to start. A space plan shows not only the office floor plan but also the layout of all the furniture, desks and equipment. This is helpful in determining how much office furniture you’ll need, and it will help you determine locations for communications and network cabling.
- Don’t Forget Lead Times: Most vendors do not stock large quantities of materials or products. They rely on their distribution chains to deliver on an as-needed basis. This has the potential to cause significant delays if you don’t plan properly. Carpet can take two to three weeks to be delivered. Office furniture delivery, depending on the manufacturer, can take four to eight weeks. Computer equipment and other items that require installation could all cost you significant amounts of time if you do not plan ahead and order in advance.
- Have an IT Walk-Through: If your company is like ours, you have several different vendors or service providers handling your IT and communication services. I highly recommend getting all these professionals together in the new space to do a walk-through with you. They will need to coordinate together to do wiring and other infrastructure prior to the move. On or before move-in day, they will all be in the space together as they connect their equipment. Their ability to coordinate with one another is crucial. The walk-through will also allow everyone to be on the same page and fully understand who is responsible for what. Your team is dead in the water without phones, email and Internet service, so you need to take action to ensure your team is down for a minimum amount of time.
- Make it a Team Effort: Moving is fun and exciting, and it’s a great time to increase your team’s engagement. I took every opportunity I could to bring my team members by our new space when it was under construction so they could be a part of the process. We made decisions together on how to use certain spaces and how to decorate. It was a fun process that really brought our team together and made everyone feel invested in our new home.
Our move was much more involved than I could have anticipated, but all the coordination and planning paid off. We had minimal downtime, and we were settled and fully operational in a short period of time. Make sure to plan your move properly to keep your team engaged and productive. You’ll be glad you did.
Nick Banks is the managing director of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group located in Gainesville, Fla. Front Street offers brokerage, management and mortgage banking services to its commercial real estate clients. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he serves as an advisory board member to the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. He is vice chairman of the board for United Way of North Central Florida and serves on the board of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. www.FrontStreet.net