Relocating offices is like moving into a new home – there are parts to it which are both lovable and hateable. Things people love include the new office itself, the smell of newness in the environment and excitement in the atmosphere. When it comes to hate, there’s a lot of things but nothing is worse than being unable to fully operate for a couple of days and in some situations, weeks.
Over the years, iQuest has been involved in many relocations with our clients. The clients who involved us in the beginning and took our honest advice had better success with their relocation, with most of their IT fully operational the very next business day!
Here is a list of common mistakes iQuest has seen companies make in their office relocation project:
1. Paying for Expensive Internet Connection
Companies often pay cheap rent but excess for their internet connection. This often happens because companies haven’t spoken to their IT or internet providers prior to signing the lease agreement. A quick street address check will reveal the types of internet options (NBN, Fibre, ADSL etc) available in the area.
2. Potential Delays on Completion
It’s common for businesses to underestimate potential delays caused by council, landlord, agreements, fit out contractors, materials, approval and even the weather.
3. Getting It Right, The First Time
In recent years, one of iQuest’s clients refused to sign off for an additional $5,000 for extra electrical and cabling work whilst in the construction stage. During the relocation, there were insufficient power and network points for the workstations. Several small network switches and 6 outlet power boards had to be purchased. This not only caused a significant delay in getting the workstation ready for use but also presented a work hazard. In addition to the disruption caused to the business’ operations, the extra cabling work was carried out after the relocation and was double the original quote.
4. Project Manager
We’ve seen many too businesses let down by all parties involving in the project. From the fitout company, their sub-contractors, IT provider, 3rd party vendors to the removalist. Everyone’s schedule has a direct impact on the timeline of completion. To minimise the blame game, a good project manager is crucial in ensuring parties are working together and sticking to the timeline.
5. Lack of Logistic Planning
Similarly, many companies have made the mistake of underestimating the logistic schedule: its tasks, prioritisation and such as allowing 2 to 3 weeks grace on its current lease period. For instance, it’s not uncommon for removalist to take too long to move plants and equipment. Not only does this result in a tighter schedule but also expensive overtime costs.
In hopes of making your office relocation more successful, here are 5 general points of advice from iQuest:
1. Get IT RIGHT From the Start
a) Call your IT provider prior to signing the lease so they can check the internet connection available in the area. This is extremely important because the quality of connection affects costs. It’s also crucial to see if the existing contract can be transferred to the new location.
b) Ask your IT provider to physically walk through the “potential” new office with you. During this, they will be able to advise whether or not there are sufficient infrastructures.
c) Inform your telecommunications provider about your intention to move as it can take up to 6 weeks. Ask them if the main numbers can be transferred to the new office. Alternatively, inform your phone system provider and ask them to work with the telco.
d) Introduce your IT provider to the fitout company as soon as you can. Both companies can work together on the new office layout and detail what equipment goes where.
e) Ask your IT provider to plan out how and where to relocate all the IT services and equipment.
f) Lastly ask your IT provider for a Plan B, in case something goes wrong. It’s crucial that a contingency plan is in place.
2. Fitout Schedule
a) Discuss the comms/server room first! If there is anything to go wrong with office relocations, this is it… The most common mistakes we see poorly designed comms/server room without proper calculation of cabling and equipment needed to be installed. This may cause potential issues such as heat and air flow.
b) Hand over a “clean and dust free” server room to the IT provider. Truth be told, we’re rather surprised by how few people think about cleaning their comms/server room during an office relocation process. Trust us, it’s unnecessarily hard to clean dirt, dust and other matters off, after the equipment is installed. Furthermore, there’s a high possibility that dirt and dust can damage the equipment.
3. Parallel Run For a Few Days
a) One week before relocating, make sure the internet connection is up and running. Ensure that your telecommunications are ready to cutover.
b) Try to cutover on Thursday rather than Friday. By doing this, Friday provides your business with a buffer to reach service providers should anything go wrong or be delayed.
c) Run test, test and more tests. The more testing on the new office before relocations, the better.
d) Have a Plan B, in case something goes wrong.
4. Relocation of Technology Infrastructure
a) Set a time to shut the system and networks down (the earlier the better), save all the configurations and multiple copies of backups.
b) Make sure all equipment is labelled including its intended location in the new office.
c) Seek professional help to relocate infrastructure when necessary. Usually an IT provider is all that you need.
d) Whenever possible move the IT equipment into the new location first.
5. Setting Up and Ready for Business Operation
a) Clearly label (where it belongs and whom it belongs to) every piece of equipment including keyboard and mouse.
b) Ensuring work desk are clean and ready to be powered.