Everything to Consider for Office Relocation and IT
Office relocation brings a host of benefits for your company and your employees. A new office provides more space to accomplish tasks and can be a huge boost to sales and employee productivity.
But first, you have to get there.
In a recent survey, 67% of respondents admit that office relocation is a big challenge and a serious distraction. This doesn’t even factor in the most complicated part of moving your office — IT.
Today’s fast-paced business world leaves no room for downtime. Every minute your company is “offline” during a move is potential sales and business lost. In fact, experts estimate that one minute of downtime will cost the average company $5,600.
What’s the key to a smooth, successful office relocation? What steps should you follow to ensure a problem-free office relocation and IT setup? We’ll provide these important answers and much more, so continue reading below.
Office Relocation and IT: An Overview
Fifty years ago, office relocation involved moving little more than moving furniture and filing cabinets.
Now, though, telecommunications and IT are the lifeblood of every successful company. If your infrastructure isn’t set up and your phones aren’t ringing, you’re (literally) losing money by the second. Any downtime or delays can have disastrous consequences for your bottom line.
IT experts will also tell you that every business needs 24/7 IT monitoring to guard against hackers and cyber-attacks. So, in addition to physically moving and setting up your IT network, you also need to consider its virtual security.
IT Relocation Checklist
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re thinking about so many details. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide for you to follow as you plan your office relocation.
1. Start Planning ASAP
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that states, “The best time to plant a tree was decades ago — the next best time is right now.”
The same is true with office relocation and IT. The best time to start planning the move was yesterday (or last week, or last month). The point is: You can never start the planning process too soon, especially if you have an extensive IT network to consider.
Another factor is lead times, which are often a lot longer than you might imagine. The sooner you begin planning, the better your odds of getting everything in place and ready to go on moving day.
This is the time to establish your schedule for the move, including any current or future projects that could be affected. Create a comprehensive budget that factors in all aspects of the moving process. If you’re relocating to a new office building, meet with the contractor or architect to discuss your specific needs.
You’ll also want to identify how to perform necessary business operations during the move. As there’s likely to be a short amount of downtime, make a plan for the minutes or hours these operations are interrupted.
Breaking Down the IT Planning Process
To get started, assign one of your managers (ideally someone from your IT team) to oversee and coordinate this part of the office relocation. Make it their responsibility to contact and get quotes from the best IT support providers in your area. They should look for providers with extensive experience in office relocation, not just basic IT support.
Once you’ve hired trustworthy office relocation IT services, it’s time to book your move date. Do this as soon as possible to ensure you get the support you need, especially if you’re relocating over the weekend. If you wait too long, all that awaits you is frustration and network disruption.
Next, arrange for the IT company to visit both your current office and your new location. We’ll discuss this in more detail later, but for now, it will give them an overview of your infrastructure and what the move will require.
One last thing you’ll need to do in this early planning stage is alert all your service providers and vendors about the upcoming move. This includes your current IT support service (if you have one), as well as your telecommunications providers.
Take a Complete Inventory
With your plans in place, your next step is to inventory your physical hardware and connections. Make an honest assessment of its condition and consider whether it’s time to upgrade any of your equipment. If you can coordinate these upgrades with the move, this can simplify the entire process.
Make a list of any equipment that needs to be updated or replaced. If there’s any equipment you won’t need in the new office (i.e., leased phone or IT equipment), make plans to return it. Create a plan for selling, recycling, or donating hardware or other equipment you no longer need.
In addition to every piece of equipment, you should also inventory your service agreements with your IT and telecommunications providers. Will you be transferring your existing service or terminating the contract? Make these decisions and give notice early to avoid potential fees or disruptions.
If you need to order any new phones, computers, or other equipment, do so early. If possible, test it before the move and provide any necessary training for your staff.
It’s also wise to consider how you’ll handle any downtime within your network. For example, some companies successfully use redundant hardware or software to support operations during the move.
Bonus tip: Make sure you check with your service provider about the internet speed in your new office location. (At a minimum, you’ll want at least 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed.) The last thing you want to do is move office only to discover you’re stuck with a slow internet connection.
Visit Your New Office Site
When you meet with your IT service provider, it’s your chance to review the configuration plan for your new office. They can also assess your current data, voice, and video setup and help you decide what to keep or replace.
During the site visit, you can address things such as:
- Seeing where you’ll need telephone jacks, power outlets, and network cable points
- Determining the best locations for workstations, modems, printers, routers, and other equipment
- Confirming that the new office space supports structured cabling if you need it
- Confirming that the server room meets requirements for cooling, electrical, security, and dimensions
- Confirming that wireless networking and computing is possible if that’s a priority for your business
At this point, you should have all the information you need to create a detailed blueprint of your new office. Be sure to include not only the layout of workstations but also the IT infrastructure and required fixtures.
Prepare Your Data & IT Equipment
You can never, ever be too careful with your company’s data. Make multiple backup copies of all your data systems, including servers and firewalls. Store some copies in a secure off-site data center and store everything else in the cloud.
Speaking of security, it’s also a good idea to create a detailed list of employees, administrators, and business groups. Be sure to include their current network access rights. If necessary, update your company’s security policies and verification procedures.
After that, it’s time to create your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). It’s similar to a disaster recovery plan; however, the goal is to prevent major problems before they occur.
Make sure that your BCP includes:
- Your plan for switching phone numbers, phone lines, and internet connections
- Your plan for data migration and transferring servers
- A complete inventory of all your hardware and software
- A list of business data and priorities (ranked from most to least important)
- Emergency contact information for IT and telecom providers
- A “hot site” for keeping your business operations going in the event of a disaster or delay
Once your plan is in place, you need to test it to ensure it will actually give you a full recovery if the worst should happen. If you need any help, your IT service provider can help you to create and test your BCP.
Prepare Your Telecommunications
Are you happy with your current telecommunications providers? If not, office relocation is the perfect time to make the switch. There are so many options to streamline and enhance your business operations, from VoIP solutions to ISDN or PBX systems.
Whether you’re switching to a new provider or sticking with your current one, early preparation is (once again) the key. Order new phone lines if you need them, keeping in mind they can take up to 10 business days to install. If possible, have your phone lines and internet routers installed before you move so you can quickly address any issues.
Will you be switching to a new business telephone number? If so, you may need to set up call forwarding until the transition is complete. Otherwise, you’ll need to arrange for the transfer of any numbers or extensions you want to keep.
It’s also worth looking at your company’s projected growth over the next 3-5 years. If you’re expecting rapid expansion, it’s worth upgrading your telecommunications now rather than scrambling later to keep up.
Get Ready for Moving Day
Chances are you’ve hired an office relocation company to assist with the furniture and physical files. However, relocating your IT and telecom equipment is best left to the experts. They know exactly how to handle, transfer, and set up your equipment, so don’t try the “DIY” approach.
To ensure everything is ready to go when your office relocation IT specialists arrive, complete this checklist leading up to moving day:
- Create a contact list of everyone involved in the moving process, including vendors and technicians
- Label all wires and cables clearly, including which piece of equipment they belong to
- Transport backup copies of data to the new location
- Order corporate stationery that reflects the new address, phone, and fax numbers
- Ask your staff to fully shut down all their equipment on the final day at your old location
Bonus tip: Are you moving into a multi-floor building? Will you need to use the passenger or service lift? Find out if there’s a call-out time for the lift engineer, or arrange for an onsite engineer on your move-in day.
Test Everything in the New Location
Hopefully, the actual moving process goes smoothly and all your equipment arrives in perfect condition. Once everything is where it should be, the only thing left to do is a test run to ensure it all works.
Here’s your final IT relocation checklist to make sure everything is as it should be:
- Check that all phones, cabling, and IT equipment are in the correct places
- Test every feature of the new phone system
- Make sure that call forwarding from the old number is being forwarded to the correct phone(s)
- Double-check each individual phone line, modem, fax, and other devices within your telecom system
- Check that everyone can send and receive emails
- Check your company website, intranet, and extranet
- Start your data servers and test the network capabilities
- Ensure that all data has successfully migrated over
- Do a Broadband Frequency Test on every network connection
Along with your IT provider, you should plan to be on-site to help your staff with any unexpected problems. In the coming days and weeks, follow up with your staff and see how the new system is working for them. Do they feel that the overall infrastructure is better since the move, or is there still room for improvement?
The Best Office Relocation Services in LA
When you’re moving to a new office, packing your desk is the easy part. The real challenge is relocating your IT equipment and infrastructure without disrupting your business operations.
For this reason, savvy business owners entrust their move to experienced office relocation services. If you’re making your move to or within Los Angeles, we’re here to help.
Be Structured Technology Group has proudly served the LA area since 2007. We deliver practical tech solutions to companies of all sizes — including office relocation IT services.
Ready to cross a major item off your checklist? Click here to get in touch or give us a call at (323) 639-5454 and let’s discuss your IT needs.