Moving an office is never an easy process.
And if you’re the person in charge of coordinating the effort, it can be extremely stressful.
During my career, I’ve organized multiple office moves. I’ve also worked with several talented assistants who made office moves look simple…even when they weren’t. Through these experiences, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make an office move a success. Here are some of my favorite tips for making the process as organized and hassle-free as possible!
- Use Your Project Management Skills. Admins are often the ones charged with coordinating an office move. So if you find yourself in this situation, treat the move like you would any other big project – map out a plan, identify deliverables, track progress, and give regular status updates. Make sure to keep all the details in one place by using a project management tool, Outlook Tasks, digital notebooks, or spreadsheets and documents in a three-ring binder. Avery binders and tabbed dividers are perfect to keep your plans and documents organized during your office move.
- Keep Everyone Informed. Whether you’re moving this month or next year, you need to set a realistic timeline and communicate it to everyone in your office.My friend Penny Sailer, the executive assistant to the president and CEO of ImOn Communications, shared this piece of advice: “Send a weekly status to the group to keep everyone updated on construction. We sent ours on Friday afternoons and did a week-by-week countdown to the move, adding photos for everyone to see the progress that was made. It made for less questions.”
Another option for communicating deadlines, tasks, and progress is to create a shared OneNote notebook. OneNote is a great place to store checklists, information, and photos of the move!
- Take Lots of Pictures. Take pictures of every stage of the move, so you can track and share progress and have photos to refer to later. And when the move is complete, you can also include these photos in your professional portfolio.
- Get Rid of the Clutter. A move is a great time to get rid of all the “junk” in your desk or workspace, as well as any unused items around the office. (That fake plant in the break room that’s collecting dust might be a prime candidate!) As you’re packing, think about the purpose of each item before you put it in a box. If it has no use, toss it! As you’re sorting through the “junk” on your desk, take the time to file away any important documents, create project binders/reference binders. You can also use Avery Ultra Tabs to quickly file or mark different documents to organize later.
Penny also recommends ordering extra shredding bins for the weeks before the move and reminding employees about the company’s records retention policy. This will help them keep what they need and ditch the excess.
- Label, Label, Label! When it comes to an office move, packing is only half the battle. Unpacking is the other half…and it’s a lot easier if you label! Make sure every box is marked and be specific about what’s inside. For instance, instead of writing “office supplies,” label the box with “printer paper, ink cartridges.” When it comes time to unpack, you’ll be able to easily find what you need – even if you haven’t opened the box yet.
Color-coding your boxes and labels based on the contents can also be helpful. Use different colors for files, supplies, computer components, etc. If you’re coordinating a bigger move, you may want to code by specific departments. For instance, one color for accounting, one color for customer service, one color for legal.
- Figure Out These Moving Day Logistics. If you’re not on the first floor of your building, find out if you can reserve an elevator (or freight elevator) for the day of the move. Figure out where moving trucks/vehicles can legally park. You also may want to give neighboring offices notice about the move, so they know that people will be in the hallways making noise.
- Welcome Your Team “Home.” After a stressful move, it’s nice to come in and find a “housewarming” present. Penny’s company gave their employees coffee mugs or water jugs filled with treats, along with a “welcome to your new home” sign on everyone’s desk. Gift certificates to a restaurant or coffee shop, or an office-wide lunch or breakfast are also great options.
Once everyone is settled, check in with each team member to make sure that their computers are working properly, their workstations are in order, and they have all the office supplies they need. You may also want to send an email reminding everyone where the supplies are located to cut down on frantic “I-can’t-find-the-file-folders!” emails.
Office moves are an excellent opportunity for you to develop your project management skills, get organized, and connect with employees you don’t normally interact with. So try to make the most of the experience! Document what worked well and what could’ve gone better so you can improve future moves.
No two moves will be the same, but when you approach it with an open mind, communicate regularly, and follow these tips, you can get through any move with your sanity intact!
© 2018 Julie Perrine International, LLC
Julie Perrine is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career, The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.
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