Last year, thousands of Americans uprooted their lives and relocated to new neighborhoods, cities, and states. The rise of remote work gave people the freedom to live and work from anywhere; many chose to leave dense city centers for the spacious splendor of the suburbs.
Businesses are following their employees and relocating offices and headquarters to be closer to their staff. Some are also choosing to turn their offices into hybrid workspaces to host creative meetings, celebrate milestones and participate in immersive learning sessions.
For businesses thinking about relocating, this article will provide tips on successfully making a move, whether it’s across the country or just to a different building in town.
1. Work with a realtor.
Realtors aren’t just an excellent resource for residential property; they can also help with office relocations. A knowledgeable commercial real estate agent can help you find an office within a location and budget that suits your business’s needs. They can also help negotiate lease terms, including negotiating the length of the lease, who handles repairs and maintenance and rent escalations.
If you own office space and are trying to sell it and invest the capital gains into your next spot, realtors will also have a network of potential buyers and assist you with best practices for maximizing your funds.
2. Set a timeline and budget.
Before starting your office search, set a budget and create a timeline to keep your efforts on track. Consider how long it will take to search for the new space, pack up the current office, relocate employees, and build/design the new space.
Some things to consider in your moving budget:
● Security deposit
● Legal fees
● Property taxes
● Build-out costs
● Moving costs
● Transporting technology
● Furniture and equipment
● Staffing costs
● Cost of selling your old office or breaking a lease
● Marketing expenses
● Public relations announcements
Laying these items out upfront will help you determine how much you need to save to make a move and if you’ll need to take out a loan, whether personal or business, to cover the costs. If you need a loan, use an experienced business loan broker to help navigate the different programs.
3. Pick the perfect location.
Business owners may want to move to be closer to employees, for more space, to connect with their clients, or just to expand to a new region. Whatever the reason, a successful move will be all about location, location, location.
Setting specific, tangible goals before you move will help you choose the right spot. If you want to recruit clients or new employees, then moving to a location where they are would be a good strategy. If you’re moving into a space that will grow with you as your business expands, don’t choose a location that only accommodates the employees you have right now.
4. Design the space.
Are you designing a hybrid office space? Will employee attendance be mandatory or optional? Will you host meetings where half the attendees are in-person, and the other half attend virtually? Where will employees eat? What will the common areas look like? Will you use your brand colors throughout the space? All of these factors should be considered when designing your new office.
Any modern office should be equipped with technology that helps remote employees feel part of the team. In addition to conference tables and phones, meeting rooms should have video conferencing equipment and smart boards. Desks should include desktops, headsets, phone chargers, and laptops. And all technology should be equipped with a robust cybersecurity system to protect your business’s sensitive data.
5. Relocating employees.
Moving your office means you’ll likely have to move some or all of your current employees. This will involve creating a relocation reimbursement for your staff to cover the cost of moving, temporary housing, and travel costs. Salaries may also need to be readjusted for the cost of living in the new location.
To save on relocation costs, consider letting some employees work remotely full-time and only relocating core team members. Some employees may also not want to move if they recently moved into a new home due to tax penalties.
6. Pack up and move.
Packing up and moving is always more complex than initially anticipated. Many costs and logistics should be considered — from buying moving boxes to disposing of old furniture to moving confidential data.
Create a plan for how you will move proprietary and sensitive information. If you are not taking all of it, make sure it is correctly disposed of so that outside entities cannot access it after you are gone.
If you were renting, you may also need to make repairs and put the office back in its original condition before turning in the keys.
Moving headquarters is an exciting but stressful time. To help you on your journey, turn the above tips into a checklist and add additional pertinent items as needed.
Ben Mizes is the Co-Founder and CEO at Clever Real Estate, the nation’s leading real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors.