There are many reasons a company may decide to move—expired lease, expansion, consolidation. But before visions of moving boxes and migraines dance in your head, lay a solid foundation of planning and clear expectations with a good Project Manager to pave the way for a much smoother move.
Know your Options
Deciding to move presupposes that you’ve thoroughly evaluated your options, which are typically staying put and reconfiguring or relocating. “This assessment happens in the pre-planning stage,” says Gina Caruso, President of Relocation Connections in San Ramon. “It should include your architect, a commercial real estate broker, and a project manager.” Once relocation gets the green light, multiple processes are put into simultaneous motion. The conductor of all this activity is the Project Manager.
Project Manager: Inside or Out?
Companies can decide to either appoint a project manager internally, or they may outsource this to a professional project management firm. The biggest benefit of using an internal employee is the cost savings. The upside of outsourcing this role includes moving experience, focus, objectivity, and preventing employee burn-out.
A good Project Manager (PM) will quickly assemble the team. An architect is key in the process: one who relates well to the client and understands their needs, goals and objectives. The appointment of a general contractor (GC) is followed by the selection of other vendors, including furniture, telecommunications, IT, security and AV services, which all have a significant impact on your new space.
Once the key players are on board, the PM defines the tasks and sets timelines. Caruso describes this as “weaving all those responsibilities together into a seamless fabric that works.” PMs are also responsible for tracking budget, creating schedules, and defining tasks throughout the life of the project.
From Design to Build
While the architect is developing conceptual designs, the PM is coordinating all the required administrative documents—things such as electrical loads, cooling requirements, and even furniture placement. Once the architect gets client approval on the final design, the major focus shifts to the GC. Once permits have been obtained, the PM coordinates weekly construction meetings between the GC, the architect, the electricians, drywall installers along with other key vendors. While the demo crews are beginning, the PM is ordering furniture, telecommunications, and security systems. There are inevitable complications and delays throughout this phase, all of which the PM must address.
The PM is responsible for interviewing moving companies, assessing space need for individual employees, and preparing employees via all-employee meetings. PMs work closely with the client and the moving company to make the actual move itself go as smoothly as possible.
“Companies who think it’s better to keep their employees in the dark about a move make a big mistake,” says Caruso. Good communication goes a long way toward improved employee cooperation and overall organization.
Relocating is a significant event for an organization and it all boils down to minimizing lost productivity in the end. “Essentially, every employee leaves their old space Friday with packed boxes, a dial tone, and a blinking cursor. On Monday, their new space has to be waiting for them with the same things.”