Countdown to an office move: a checklist for Facilities Managers

Workspace Optimisation

Countdown to an office move: a checklist for Facilities Managers
Picture of Darren Howard

Written by: Darren Howard
Publish Date: Aug 5, 2019
Read time: 8 minutes

Planning for an office move starts earlier than anyone tends to think. To ensure you appoint the partners you want to work with and that an office relocation project goes without a hitch, you should really start 18 months before the planned move is due to take place.

Based on our experiences with hundreds of company moves over the years, we have identified the different actions that you should be thinking about – as well as when to make them happen. Decisions need to be actively taken at every stage to ensure your project stays on track.

Move day minus 18 months

This stage is all about understanding why an office move is happening and what the ramifications are for your planning processes. There is always a reason to move: whether it’s a lease break, a need to accommodate growth, rationalise multiple offices and facilities, downsize, improve and modernise office facilities, or enable agile working.

Understanding the motivation for moving will impact all of the plans that are made at this stage, from whether you need an architect or a design & build company to what type of furniture you will choose. For example, if your company is introducing agile working, you may need to transition from fixed desks and filing cabinets to hot desks and lockers.

Blog: 5 things FM's need to know when moving to agile

This is also a good time to undertake a time utilisation study, which assesses the ratio of staff to desks by understanding how many people are in each team working in the office at any one time.. By ‘untethering’ people from fixed desks and filing cabinets, your business can create a more flexible and productive work environment. Adopting software suites such as Microsoft Office 365 that enable a modern workplace will support this, , but time for training on new tools and technologies will need to be factored in.


  • Filing audit and requirements
  • Time utilisation study
  • Architect versus design & build
  • Furniture choices
  • Printer requirements
  • IT system and telephony upgrades
  • FM service providers

Move day minus 12 months

This is activation time, building on the plans drawn up over the past six months. Actions you can take at this stage include filing reduction, based on your filing audit results, scanning documents so that they can be accessed online or archived off-site; final furniture specification; and IT deployments.

Are your filing levels normal for your sector? Access our benchmark fact sheet for industry trends.

Communication is key at this stage. It’s time to appoint move and change champions who can help create buy-in with the rest of the team. Your senior management, HR team and comms specialists should be ready to answer questions about why the move is happening, the positive impact it will have on everyone and when things need to happen.

You will also need to appoint a project manager (internal or from a specialist third party) who can keep everything on track, such as IT roll-outs and ensuring locker software and security pass software are co-ordinated.


  • Filing reduction
  • Final decisions on agile/static environment or combination
  • Furniture specification
  • IT deployment including room management and access control
  • Appoint project manager
  • Appoint departmental move/change champions
  • Arrange contracts for telecoms, catering, cleaning and security
  • Communications plan

Move day minus 6 months

As you approach your move date, it’s time to track key actions and ensure you have preferred partners on board to help with your physical move as well as the clear-out phase afterwards.


  • Re-measure filing requirements
  • Review project plan and action list
  • Appoint move manager
  • Issue tenders for physical move and appoint chosen firm
  • Issue tenders for building clearance, including safe disposal of IT and appoint chosen firm

10 weeks to go!

Decisions that can be left to the final 10 weeks before go-live include the adjacencies of departments and team neighbourhoods and allocation of lockers. You can also begin the distribution of new security passes, order stationery or set up templates, circulate instructions for packing up personal items and documents and update contracts with suppliers including the new address.


  • Agree adjacencies of departments/neighbourhoods
  • Allocation of lockers
  • Issue security passes
  • Update contracts with suppliers
  • Order stationery
  • Issue instructions and timeline for employees

Help is at hand

Planning and managing a move can be time-consuming and complex, including as it does so many moving parts. Fortunately help is on hand from our Workspace Optimisation team, who are expert in supporting companies of all shapes and sizes through the process.

We can offer tailored audits based on your current storage use and reliance on hard-copy information. Our recommendations are the first step in understanding how digital solutions can create a positive impact on your operation.

The output of our storage audits is often a storage rationalisation programme. This includes detailed toolkits and experienced assistance in the reduction of on-site hard-copy documentation through digitisation of paper records or transfer to off-site storage facilities. The reduction and removal of unnecessary material creates additional space for your teams to work and collaborate – so starting this in good time will help you make vital decisions.

In close cooperation with your facilities management team we independently plan the allocation of material and gain signed off floor-plans from each department. Our managed teams pack and unpack your documentation, allowing your business to continue to function normally throughout the day of your move.

Finally, we can help you by undertaking information asset audits, reviewing risks and ensuring records management policies are written or reviewed to ensure compliance with regulatory standards. We can also review business processes that are driven by hard-copy information, identifying pain points and appropriate solutions.

The next step? If you are in the process of a business transformation project, moving to agile, managing an office refurbishment/relocation or are simply running out of space in your working environment, our filing audit service will give you an overview of where you are now, how you compare to your competitors and give you a road map of the steps you need to take to go paperfree. Contact our team today to learn how we can help you. 

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