Moving to a new office space? Whether your business is headed down the block or across town, a poorly managed office relocation can quickly spiral into a huge headache for employees and clients alike. Worse, when you’re knee-deep in boxes and bubble wrap, it’s easy to overlook important details, like updating your business’s address online. NAP inconsistencies in Google local search can create a search nightmare and send would-be customers and clients to the wrong address.
From the physical move to the digital move, these six tips will help your business avoid the most common moving pitfalls:
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1. Start the Planning Process Early
Moving in September? Then start planning now! Give yourself at least three months of time to put together a clear plan. Evaluate what needs to be moved and decide what should be donated or securely eliminated. While many charities do accept old office furniture, you can’t assume the charity will be able to coordinate a last-minute pick up to coincide with your move. The same goes for the secure disposal of electronic equipment. Advanced planning will help streamline these logistics and eliminate unnecessary hiccups. Finally, don’t keep employees in the dark about moving plans! Keep employees in the loop as your plans unfold so they can manage workflow appropriately and support a smooth transition process.
2. Purge Old Data and Recycle Electronics
Still have old employee laptops or phones lying around? (Let’s face it, no one is going to fire up that BlackBerry from 2010 again!) From old office phones to computers, it’s essential to dispose safely of these products both to protect your company’s security and prevent harmful environmental damage for e-waste. Removing personal data from devices isn’t as simple as just deleting your old files. Do not trade, sell, donate or recycle old electronics until you’ve wiped them clean. Consumer Electronics offers a detailed guide for erasing personal data from computers, tablets and even old BlackBerry phones. Once the data is fully purged, disposal options include community recycling programs and donation programs (like Dell Reconnect and World Computer Exchange). Some electronic companies like Best Buy and Amazon also offer disposal and buy-back programs.
3. Plan for Coverage During the Move
For most small businesses, it’s simply not practical to completely shut down for an extended move. At the most, you may be able to close your doors for one business day and one weekend. If you primarily service clients remotely, let customers know that you may be a bit slower returning emails or answering phones during the moving period. If your employees are helping out during the transition period with moving-related duties, consider designating one employee as the emergency client contact. This ensures uninterrupted client support without moving distractions.
4. Move the Non-essentials First
Conduct a thorough analysis of all parts of your office and divide items between “essentials” and “non-essentials”. Reduce downtime by moving non-essential items first to your new office space. Carefully label all boxes and bins to minimize unpacking hassles. Equipment that’s necessary for day-to-day operations should stay in place until moving day.
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5. Reduce Square Footage by Optimizing Storage
Is your company downsizing to a smaller space? Opting to put rarely used documents and files in storage — rather than taking up space in your office — will minimize your real estate footprint and help cut down on overhead costs. When selecting a storage unit, remember that price is just one consideration. Additional consideration factors include whether the unit is climate controlled, the type of security offered and whether there is a password protected entry.
6. Change Your Digital Address
In addition to updating vendors and clients about your new address, don’t forget to change your NAP information with Google. Simply updating address information in your Google My Business listing won’t be sufficient. Google pulls information from a nearly infinite number of sources, including Yelp, Yellow Pages, City Search, Local.com and Acxiom. In addition to fixing your data with Google, you’ll need to fix your data on sites that supply directories with this data. Moz recommends visiting Infogroup, Localeze and Acxiom to check for out-of-date information as well as creating accounts on all major search engines to update your old listings. You can also use Google Map Maker to directly edit Google’s maps. Once your edit is approved, the new information will show up on all Google map searches.
No one ever said moving was fun or easy, but with sufficient advanced planning, you can minimize logistical hassles without client disruption.
Office Moving Photo via Shutterstock