There is one major reason it is so important to me to get in on my client’s moving project early. Someone has to stick up for moving.
Tenant improvements and furniture deliveries can take months. Delays can push the project later and later. Moving seems like one of those things in life that can just be done faster to make up for lost time.
Most professionals and trades not familiar with commercial moving don’t have a way to determine how much can be moved in a certain amount of time in a particular building. There are some hard and fast things like building restrictions, elevator size, dock space that go into move scheduling. Then there are the details of furniture, panels, cubicles, computers, and equipment. We have ways to get a lot done in a very short time, the question is just how long is the very short time.
An unrealistic schedule means things don’t get done or don’t get done on time. A realistic schedule puts everyone -you, the moving company, the vendor team, your employees – in position for a successful move.
Here are the things to consider in developing a moving schedule.
What kind of a schedule works best for an office relocation?
Professional project scheduling software or gantt charts works if your team members are used to working with them. If not, I recommend a schedule written in plain English showing dates, times, and what is happening when. This allows department managers, IT staff, vendors, and everyone else to see exactly where they fit in.
With each change, the schedule needs updated.
Whether it is in an email or shared software, everyone involved needs to get the latest.
Here are 6 of the questions I will ask to help develop a schedule for your move:
1. When would your regular business be affected the least?
We move a lot of businesses on weekends and evenings. This keeps your operation going as normally as possible with the least downtime. If a weekend, holiday, or slow period would work for your business, you can schedule the heart of the move during the slack time.
2. Can you get the employees off site during the move?
It is faster and safer to move furniture and equipment without the users present. My labeling system will answer all our questions without them being there. Is there somewhere else for them to work or do a training during the move?
3. What tasks can be scheduled at another time?
You can only focus on one task at a time. Moving the office will take your full attention.
For example, let’s say you have a room of files, legal records, or medical charts. Usually we work with your employees to correctly transfer the files to your new location. Scheduling it for a separate day gives you and your staff the ability to focus on it instead of trying to do it while moving a floor of furniture.
4. What can be done before the move begins?
Areas that people are not working in, new furniture installation, moves to and from storage are tasks that can be scheduled before (or after) the main move.
What can you schedule during daylight and regular business hours?
When you have a choice, I recommend scheduling moving services during normal business times. It is tempting to think going around the clock would get the most done the fastest. It’s not necessarily true.
Moving in Washington can be tricky. When it’s already raining, and then gets dark in the late afternoon, moving gets more difficult. We do it all the time, but if you don’t have to it’s safer not to.
5. What tasks have to be done at a specific time?
A computer server room might have to move at an exact time. I can have a dedicated crew ready to move it the minute it is disconnected. The crew assigned to it does nothing else until the servers are done. Your IT staff gets what they need and can get back to work as quickly as possible.
6. What tasks are flexible with time?
A realistic schedule finds the balance between specific times and keeping things flexible enough to account for operational issues. For example, to schedule moving Accounting at 9am, Sales at 11, and Service at 1pm looks good on paper. But it is usually better to say we’re starting with Accounting at 9am and then moving on to Sales and then Service, finishing everyone by the end of the day.
7 Guidelines for the Best Moving Schedule
1. Build In Time To Deal With Issues.
Although something normally takes an hour, it sometimes takes more. If the scheduling is so tight that everything has to go perfectly to work, then the schedule is too tight.
2. Get everyone who is involved in the move to agree to the schedule.
One vendor or department that appears at the last moment and needs everything changed makes it difficult for everyone.
3. Nail down everything you can before the move so you can deal with the strange things that pop up during the move.
I work hard to make sure the main plan of the move is set in stone. Then, when the little problems appear, we are all in a position to take care of them.
It doesn’t take massive meetings of everyone involved week after week to plan a relocation.
A written schedule allows every contractor, trade, department, and supervisor to see how they fit into the plan. If the topic of a meeting is IT, only the people involved need to be there.
4. Look for scheduling conflicts.
We want to know if something won’t work. For example, in preparing for a move, the IT department was planning on installing new computers in the cubicles on a certain day. It was clear from the schedule that the cubicles would not be installed at that point so we made other plans.
5. Firm up the schedule as the move gets closer.
The closer it gets to the move date the firmer the schedule gets. It is reasonable to have cut offs to changes. At some point there are too many people, vendors, and orders involved to make major changes.
6. Trust the power of your schedule.
I listened as an administrator told a senior partner of a large law firm that, no matter how much he begged, we wouldn’t move his office right then because it was on the schedule for the next day. A good schedule really can keep everyone on track.
7. Be flexible.
Things happen. Things have to change. Changing them causes the move to succeed.
In the end, everything will work because you started with a good schedule.
What is a realistic schedule for your move?
I can help you put together a preliminary schedule for your move based on your timing, business flow, building, and furniture requirements. Schedule a time to meet at your convenience.
Article by Don Warner
I love to plan and coordinate moving, especially for critical or complex moves. My clients are busy organized people who want their moves to go smoothly. Let’s talk about your moving plans.