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Relocating to a new office can be a highly stressful process, especially for the person that’s been asked to head-up the project!
As Miguel de Cervantes once said “To be prepared is half the victory”. With so many different tasks to remember and unforeseen issues that will inevitably arise, it’s essential to use as many helpful resources as you can to ensure your office move goes smoothly.
When it comes to relocating your office IT equipment, there is absolutely no margin for error. IT is the lifeblood of any modern Business. If your IT and Communications systems are not working correctly from day-one, then your productivity and profitability will suffer.
Plan in advance or expect to FAIL.
Many office moves fail because essential tasks are left until the last minute. Forward planning is essential for your office relocation to be successful, that’s why we’ve created the below helpful checklist that will make your life easier by proving you with a list of tasks that you need to complete, in addition to other considerations that you may have forgotten about.
Essential Initial Tasks.
- Assign a Manager – Assign a member of staff the responsibility of overseeing the office IT Relocation and give them all the support you can!
- Inform your IT Services Provider – Inform your IT Services provider of the moving date as early as possible so they can schedule their resources accordingly.
- Arrange a site visit – Visit the new office location with your existing IT Services Provider.
- Inform other Service Providers – If you are retaining your ISP and Telecoms services, then inform them of the moving date and the new office location address.
Equipment and Services Audit.
- Obtain an equipment Inventory list – Ensure your IT Services Company provides you with an up-to-date inventory record of your IT equipment (they should have these details saved in their Helpdesk Application).
- Identify upgrades – Create a list of any existing IT hardware that needs replacing or upgrading before moving to the new office. Make sure that any new equipment is tested and working before the move.
- Do some Housekeeping – Use this audit as an opportunity to confirm what existing IT equipment is required in the new office and then dispose of or donate your unwanted IT equipment.
- Create a Services inventory list – Document all ISP and Telecoms Service Contracts that are currently active.
- Terminate unwanted Service Contracts – If you intend to cancel any existing ISP and Telecoms service contracts, then give your notice ASAP.
New site visit.
- Assess the existing Network – Assess the existing Network and Telephony ports and power outlets. Identify what ones can remain, what needs to be moved and any locations in the office that require additional ports and power outlets. NOTE – Make sure that you plan and implement your cabling infrastructure well in advance of your moving day. DON’T’ leave any networking requirements to the last minute!
- Confirm Server room requirements – If you have one or more on-premise servers, then confirm that the new office location has an existing server room and with sufficient space for your servers, Electric, Air Conditioning and Security.
- Confirm equipment location – Identify the best locations for your Computers and Peripherals. Make sure the location of your equipment matches the location of any new or existing Network and Telephony ports and power outlets.
- Create a configuration plan – Once the above checks have been completed, ask your IT Services Provider to create a detailed configuration plan that will be used to complete all essential tasks on and before the moving day.
Telephony and Connectivity.
- Review your Telephony requirements – An office move is a great time to review your Telephony requirements. If you are expanding then you may need to consider moving away from a traditional phone line to an IP-based Telephony solution. If you already use VoIP, then it’s essential to ensure that your Internet connection speed will accommodate your Bandwidth requirements.
- Consider installation times (IMPORTANT) – Installing and activating an Internet and/or phone line can take weeks. Because of this, you MUST allow sufficient time for any new lines to be installed. The consequences of not having an Internet connection can be terminal for your Business, so avoid any nasty surprises and ensure that your Internet Connection is installed, tested and working well in advance of your moving day!
- Backup your data – If you are using a Cloud-based backup solution then make sure that ALL your business-critical data is being backed up to schedule. If you use a local backup device (i.e. a backup tape drive or external hard drive) then make sure that you take duplicate copies of your data and arrange for a copy of your data to be stored in a secure off-site location.
- Implement a Disaster Recovery solution – As part of a Business Continuity plan, it is advisable to have a Disaster Recovery (DR) solution in place before the office move commences. The most affordable Disaster Recovery solution on the market is Cloud-based Disaster Recovery ‘as a service’ (or DRaaS). Put simply, a Cloud Disaster Recovery solution will allow you to replicate your data and systems at a secondary site in the Cloud. This site can be configured to failover automatically, mitigating downtime and ensuring Business Continuity in the event of an outage.
- Test your Data Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions – Before the office move, ask your IT Services provider to run a series of restore exercises to make sure that your data is being backup up correctly. In addition, test your Disaster Recovery process to make sure that your Disaster Recovery plan is fully up-to-date and all participating staff understand their roles in the Disaster Recovery process. Lastly, make sure that you take a backup of your data the day before your office move.
- Create an emergency contact list – This list will contain contact details for all of your service providers, including your IT function, ISP and Telecoms Companies.
- Plan to switch Telephony lines – Speak to your IT Services Provider or your Telecoms vendor and create a plan for forwarding inbound calls to your Company mobile devices during the office move, or in the event of an outage. Ensure this forwarding is tested and working before the move.
- Implement a Disaster Recovery workspace – If your staff cannot work remotely then arrange for co-working office space facilities that can be used if your office move is delayed. Many Disaster Recovery Companies and IT Services providers will be able to source these facilities for you.
- Create a Business Continuity plan! – Make sure that all the above processes are listed in a Business Continuity plan of action. Make sure this list is kept in a shared location that’s accessible to others within your Organisation (in SharePoint 365 for example) in case you become unavailable on the moving day.
Preparation for moving equipment.
- Source an IT Hardware Relocation Logistics service – Obtain quotes from local Removal Companies that specialise in the transportation of IT equipment and provide these Companies with a copy of your inventory list, so they can give you accurate pricing. Make sure they provide a service that includes any packaging required to safely transport your IT equipment. Also, make sure they have good in transit insurance cover that includes cover for all your equipment.
- Arrange for your hardware to be decommissioned/recommissioned – Ask your IT Services Provider to decommission all of the existing IT equipment the night before the office move, leaving all equipment ready for the removal Company to pack. Then, arrange for them to attend the new premises on moving day to setup and configure (recommission) the IT Systems. If you don’t have an IT Company or IT Expert, then you may wish to source an IT Hardware Relocation Company that provides a Fully Managed service.
- Consider Multi-floor logistics – If you are moving to a multi-floor building and you are not based on the ground floor then 1) Make sure there is a lift and 2) speak to the landlord and obtain details of the Company that maintains the lift and ensure they are available on the day – in case there is a lift malfunction. This may sound excessive, but a broken lift can severely impede the progress of your office move, especially if you have equipment that cannot be carried up a flight of stairs. REMEMBER – You also need to consider your Health and Safety obligations.
- Label everything! – Make sure that all your IT equipment is labelled correctly. Detail who the equipment belongs to and where it should be going when it arrives at the new office. Make sure that your inventory list also contains this information.
- Ask your staff to prepare for the move – Contact your staff by email and ask them to make sure they save ALL their work and shut down their Computers on the final day at your office. Also, ask your staff to take home any personal belongings and provide each of them with a labelled container to pack any desk and draw items for transportation.
Pre-move Office Facility Testing.
- Ask your IT Services provider to attend the new office site with you at least a week before the office move commences to complete the following tasks:
- Check Network ports and power outlets – Refer to the configuration plan created by your IT Services provider. Make sure that any new Network ports and power outlets are in the correct location. Check each port and outlet to make sure it is working correctly.
- Check the Internet line – If you’ve requested a new Internet line then check that the line is active and run a Broadband speed test to ensure that the download and upload speeds are both correct and consistent.
- Check the comms cabinet, patch panels and Network switch – If you have organised for this equipment to be installed then check to make sure that it has been installed in the correct location. Ask your IT Services provider to check that everything has been installed correctly.
- Check the phone line– If you’ve requested a traditional phone line to be installed then check the line to make sure that it is working correctly.
Day one at the new office.
Request an Engineer to attend site on day one – Make sure that your IT Services Provider has an IT Engineer onsite on the first day in your new office, so they can attend to any post-configuration issues.
Good luck with your office relocation!
Although this list is quite lengthy, all the above points should ALL be taken into consideration when planning your office move. You can NEVER start planning your office move too early. The earlier you start to put plans in place, the better chance you have of it being a complete success.
The second-best piece of advice we can give you is to NEVER presume anything! For example, ISP’s and Telecoms Companies cannot be relied upon to provide accurate install and go live dates, so always keep on top of things, schedule follow-up calls in your calendar and be sure to test your lines and connections as soon as possible to avoid any disruption to your move.