A mountain or a molehill: the essential office relocation checklist for IT departments

3 April 2017 by Mark Williams

Office relocations are never simple. There are so many issues that need dealing with that it’s not surprising if you let a couple of things slide.

But IT is one area of business where you can’t afford any error in relocating. You’ll want to make sure that the move goes smoothly so that you can be productive in your new space from day one.

You can reduce the difficulty of any move by the way you carry it out, and you don’t have to make a mountain out of a molehill. Make life easier for yourself (while keeping costs low) with our essential office relocation checklist for IT.

Build your team and plan ahead

Planning and preparedness can make or break a relocation.

Realistically, you should start planning a relocation ideally 6 months in advance, or at least 3 months. The first step to take is to create a timetable of deadlines. This should include:

  • business critical commitments;
  • dates of site surveys; and
  • the date when your current lease or rental agreement(s) end, and when new ones commence

You should also ask your IT service provider to help you compile an inventory of all items such as:

  • personal computers and devices
  • servers and;
  • any other business critical technology.

Ensure that you inform all your suppliers of your move and your new address. That way, there will be no interruption in deliveries, reducing the chance of shortage of stock or supplies.

If required, hire an IT relocation firm to safely transport your equipment. They can take down and pack your equipment and all associated cabling, reducing the likelihood equipment being left behind or worse, damaged. This gives you a bit of extra peace of mind when carrying out the high risk, complex task of relocation.

Review the new site

Before signing any agreement and beginning a move, you need to know everything about your new office space. If possible you should know your new location inside-out at least three months in advance. This way, you know exactly what to expect when you get there.

Review the floorplans and make sure that:

  • you’ve got a cabling strategy and a plan that covers cable installation, network cabling and maintenance for the long-term;
  • there are the requisite number of plug points available; and
  • your printers, scanners, desk phones and other devices are put in the most optimal places.

You can do this by having the place pre-assessed. This allows you to know whether a space is fit for your purposes.

Technical specifications

Think about the reason that you are moving. Are you expanding, or planning to expand? Hiring new staff, or getting more equipment? You should plan all technical requirements for the new location and make sure it meets the demands and future requirements of your business.

  • Staff numbers – if you anticipate hiring more people, there are certain steps you must take. More people mean more workstations which require more cables, desktops and other hardware. Employees need the tools of their trade to work, so make sure they have what they need.
  • Communication requirements – You don’t want to relocate only to discover that you can’t use your phones. Communication is vital in business, so make sure you are not left lacking and that you have all the phone lines you need.

Another vital set of requirements are for the server room. Your servers contain all the information needed for your business to operate, so take some time to confirm all requirements for effective server storage. This includes having the required:

  • Electrical capabilities – do your servers and vital network equipment have enough power to run?
  • Security – servers contain business sensitive information. You don’t want it to get into the wrong hands.
  • Cooling – machines can overheat, make sure you can keep them cool
  • Room dimensions – make sure there is enough physical space for your servers and vital network equipment
  • Backup – with the information stored on servers being so valuable, ensure that you fully backup before you move. What’s more, make sure that adequate new backup arrangements are made for the new office.

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Create a continuity plan

When making a move, it is vital that you keep the amount of downtime to a minimum. After all, every minute you’re unable to trade is a hit on your profitability and productivity.

Clear communication between all participants in the move is one way to minimise costly downtime; it will make sure that everyone knows exactly what their responsibilities are for shut down and start up.  Other things to consider include:

  • Scheduling the move for the weekend
  • Allowing people to work from home on move day
  • Notifying clients of the move and updating your contact information on your website so that people know where to find you in your new office

Another best practice is to back up your data. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this; the loss of data can result in a massive business expense. In the UK alone, data loss and the resulting downtime costs £10.5 billion each year. Don’t risk it.

Relocating doesn’t need to be stressful

It’s understandable if the thought of office relocation keeps you up at night. It’s not a simple task. However, with preparation and this office relocation checklist for IT, you can be sure that you’re moving to a suitable, well-equipped site all while minimising business downtime. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t have to be stressful – and if you need extra help, you can enlist an IT partner.

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