Ok. So in one of my previous blogs, I pointed out seven post office relocation “growing pains” to avoid, namely
(1) Insufficient office space to facilitate growth
(2) Insufficient electrical outlets and/or voltage for office equipment
(3) Noisy or disruptive heating/cooling system
(4) Telecommunications limited or not activated at new site
(5) Insufficient internet services available for your business needs
(6) Lack of transportation options for staff to get to the new location
(7) Lack of parking available
One strategy to avoiding the above is by asking and answering the right questions.
- How much staff and equipment do you currently have?
- How many additional staff do you foresee hiring within the next five years? What about equipment?
- Do any of your staff need closed-in offices? How many will be in cubicles?
- What about meeting rooms, lunch areas, storage areas?—how many would your organization need?
Your answers to the above questions multiplied by the knowledge that the standard space allotted to each room or staff member ranges from approximately 36 sq.ft (for a small cubicle) to 300 sq ft (for a large office) can help determine the ideal size of your office space should be in order to meet your current and future business needs.
Some office environment questions you may want ask include,
- Is that heating/cooling system noisy or quiet?
- What about windows – are there a lot or very little?
Why these questions? Background noises such as the low hum of a heating or cooling system could prove to be quite distracting especially if your organization regularly conducts meetings via conference calls, webcast or Skype. As for the windows, studies have shown that employees tend to work more productively if they are able to see the outside from their work areas.
Here are some more questions you may want to consider regarding the geographic location:
- Outside of walking or driving a personal vehicle, is the potential new location easily accessible by public transit?
- Are there a variety of eateries, post offices, and other services nearby that would be complimentary to the function of your business ?
Finally, to avoid technological “growing pains”, one should seek answers to the following questions:
- How many outlets are available for your equipment?
- What about your telecommunication needs such as telephone, internet availability? Can the telecommunication services in the new area accommodate your company’s current and future telecommunication needs?
It can be easily overlooked, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for businesses to actually know what their organization needs in relation to their office space to function effectively. Asking the right questions, and aiming to get the right answers is a step closer to helping your business hit the ground running once your office move is complete.
An office relocation can be quite exciting, especially for a company going through an expansion or just taking the next step to being a bigger player in its marketplace. But with growth comes various types of “growing pains” – some involving the productivity of employees, others relating to the existing physical and technical aspects of the actual office space. While there are many organizational management strategies in place to help the employees through an office expansion, very few businesses have a proactive strategy in place to deal with office space related issues…so I’d like to suggest a few.
First, if your organization is even thinking about going through office relocation, please take into consideration the following:
- Your company’s current and future business goals
- The physical and technological aspects a potential office space needs to have in order to best meet your current and future business goals
I can’t even count the number of companies that did not take the time to do the above but instead rushed into a relocation only to encounter one or more of the following problems:
- Insufficient office space to facilitate growth
- Insufficient electrical outlets and/or voltage for office equipment
- Noisy or disruptive heating/cooling system
- Telecommunications limited or not activated at new site
- Insufficient internet services available for business needs
- Lack of transportation options for staff to get to the new location
- Lack of parking available
All of the above could be avoided by simply taking a proactive approach to your relocation project. That is why over the next few blogs, I will outline more proactive strategies your relocation team can put into effect for each of the above problems even before your organization begins considering a new office space.
Watch for more blogs in the coming weeks!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—moving can be stressful. An office move is no exception. There are so many aspects of an office move that have to be taken care of even before the moving truck arrives—and those aspects just multiply when you have to coordinate that with your staff members.
So let’s talk about one of those key stressful aspects of moving: Packing. In an office move with multiple staff members, organization, coordination and minimization are key tricks to taking the stress out of packing up for an office move. Here are a few packing tips your organization can use during an office move:
Packing Tip #1 – Decide: Trash it or Pack it? Before you or your staff even begins the packing process, each of you should evaluate and identify the items in your work areas that will not be needed in the new office location and disposed of them immediately. Why move these “Trash It” items twice when you can save time, space and money ensuring that only the necessary “Pack It” items will be shipped to your new location.
Packing Tip #2 – Third-Party Storage – For such items as hard-copy files which may be important to keep yet may not need to be readily accessible in your new location, a third-party storage company could be a viable option. (Of course we would also encourage keeping a soft copy of these files in case of an emergency.)
Packing Tip #3 – Take personal valuables and memorabilia home. If there is anything that can add stress to a staff member during an office move, it is having their personal memorabilia packed in with the rest of their office equipment and stuffed onto a moving truck in the hope that they will see them arrive safe and unharmed at their new location. Save them from that stress. Encourage them to take their valuables and memorabilia home with them until after the move. They can always bring those items to their new location after he move.
Packing Tip #4 –If possible, try to attain and utilize boxes that are the same size. This will help lessen any wasted packing space when loading the moving truck.
Packing Tip # 5 – Label everything! Proper labelling of packed boxes and other items that can be easily missed such as lamps and wall hangings will help ensure that everything will be delivered to your new office and not be left behind at your old location.
So don’t stress over the packing. Instead organize and minimize using the above five packing tips. Doing so will save time, space, energy and money.
The end of the year is in sight! With year-end comes the urgency to tie up loose ends, boost sales, and finalizing business deals. Year-end is also a prime time for implementing organizational changes for the coming year such as changes in staff or moving to a new office location. Top that with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and you have the perfect platform for missing some essential details, especially when it comes to moving offices from one location to another. In fact, in our 20+ years of experience of helping companies relocate, we have found that 8 out of 10 companies make the same common errors when relocating to a new office.
Want to know one of them? Here it is:
- Failure to arrange the redirection of mail with the post office
Surprised? Don’t be. Companies can easily negate arranging the redirection of mail because they may have internal systems in place to inform their database of current stakeholders of any changes they make with the company. As well, the rise in the use of social media for businesses may appear to slowly negate the need to address the redirection of mail with the postal company.
So why is arranging the redirection of mail with the postal service so important? Here are a few reasons:
- It covers all bases. Even if your company can inform its entire CRM database of your company’s new address, utilizing the postal company’s redirection of mail service both emphasises the change and can catch any drippings of important mail from those patrons who may not be on the CRM list or who may correspond with your organization once or twice in the year.
- It’s a time-saver. With all the other intricate details involved in moving offices and running your regular business operations, contacting your postal service and taking advantage of their redirection of mail or mail forwarding service is one way to take care of a very important job in less than five minutes, especially since those arrangements can now be made online. In addition, the postal service can continue ensuring your mail is forwarded to the correct address for weeks, months or even a full year, so you won’t have to worry about it.
- It can be cost-effective. Postal services, like Canada post for example, may charge a small fee for taking care of the redirection of mail, but compare that to the cost of having a staff member take time out of their regularly scheduled activities to consolidate a list, prepare a “change of address” announcement and managing the sending of that message to your contacts, paying the postal service may be the cheaper route to go.
So if your company is planning to start the upcoming year in a new office location, remember to contact your post office and take advantage of their redirection of mail service.
On Monday we offered a few tips to help your staff stay productive during a corporate relocation. Today we will focus on tips to ensure that you remain on top of things during the office relocation process.
During an office relocation, it is almost inevitable that a business owner or manager will face a bump or two in everyday routine. The question is how to address and minimize the potential for a standstill – that period when business won’t seem to be able to operate as usual? Christopher Elliott of Microsoft has a few tips on how to best remain productive during an office relocation.
1. Make the actual move at the best time.
Identify where the downtime of your business is, so you can minimize the impact of the move on your clients and customers. Before you make the move, know where the local-area network, PCs, printers, and wireless networks are, so you can get right to work when you absolutely have to.
2. Expect the unexpected.
A client or customer might suddenly request a copy of an important file, or arrange for a special transaction. Be ready for any business-related concerns that might suddenly crop up during the move.
It’s time to let go of outdated software and PCs in favor of faster, more updated ones. Office relocation is a time for you to upgrade. Another tip is for you to use laptop computers as your office tools in the meantime, before you settle into the new office.
4. Make room for downtime.
You are smart to notify your clients, associates, and other stakeholders in advance of the move that there might be a lag in correspondence. If any unexpected issues come up that won’t be addressed until after a few hours after the fact, you won’t have to explain over and over again every time a client asks you what the problem is.
5. Move your applications.
Fortunately, this is a lot easier now, regardless if you’re on Mac or Windows. In fact, you might also want to consider cloud computing. There are several applications that will give you a much easier time moving your files and applications from hardware to hardware.
Read Christopher Elliot’s full article here.
Planning to move into a new office space in either Downtown Toronto or the outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?
Moving into either location is a crucial decision that will not only affect your pool of customers or the clients that you will attract, but also the employees that will be working for you. In recent years, several developments have taken place that you should factor in when weighing your decision.
According to a recent report by TD Bank, Toronto downtown’s population has more than tripled in the last five years. Echo Boomers, those who were born between 1972 and 1992, are largely responsible for this. The Echo Boomers comprise the new young generation—aspiring, energetic, and highly educated. If you are looking for a labor pool with talented and skilled people, downtown seems like an easy answer.
But take note: this will not necessarily be the trend in the next decade or so. After all, the Echo Boomers are a product of their parents who chose to leave downtown back in the 70s to buy homes in the suburbs. It’s too early to say that the Echo Boomers will stay once they hit late adulthood or old age.
Toronto downtown is quickly turning into a world-class city, and the development in its infrastructure, public facilities, and other services has never been this fast.
Greater Toronto Area
While Toronto Downtown is on its way to establishing its status as a booming industrial location, GTA has well established itself as such. Currently, it holds over 200 million square feet of office space—much more office space than Toronto Downtown, although of course most of this has already been filled by offices.
The population in GTA is much larger and more diverse. It is growing by more than one million each decade, and promises more jobs in the next few years as office development is one of the major thrusts of the area.
If there’s any problem, perhaps it is the public transportation system. Employees have been grumbling about poor transportation and twisted highways.
Either area has its highlights. If you want a more stable area that will more or less retain its demographics in the next few years, GTA seems like the smarter choice. But you shouldn’t dismiss the clear advantage of Toronto Downtown. Big companies like Google Inc and Coca-cola are relocating offices into the area for a reason, and the brightest young minds are moving into the area. Can you afford to stay away from the place everyone is clearly talking about?
Last November 2012, Google unveiled its new global headquarters in Canada— 89,000-sq.ft. space on Richmond St. The opening of its huge new office building for its more than 400 employees (or Googlers, as the firm would call them) helps to prove that Toronto is one of the busiest and most exciting places to live and work.
Coca-Cola, another mammoth brand, opened its Canadian headquarters in downtown Toronto last April on King St. E., atop the same building as the Toronto Sun. Before this, Coke Canada’s offices were located in Thorncliffe Park for the past 50 years.
Of the many companies setting up their office in Toronto, one of the most talked about is Twitter Inc. Recent news revealed that the San Francisco-based networking site is planning to open Twitter Canada and has in fact named its first employee: managing director Kirstine Stewart. Other career positions have also opened up, like account executive and account manager. It’s not surprising that Twitter Inc chose Toronto, where highly educated “Echo Boomers”, those between the ages of 20 to 39, are moving in to build their careers.
Another talked about office development is a 17-storey office tower at the east end of 351 King East. To be named the King East Centre, the building is a 500,000 sq. ft. office space that will have its first occupancy sometime in 2016. This is in addition to one of the latest office developments to break ground in One York Street last January: the One York. It will be 35 storeys high, and will have a total of 794,358 square feet of space.
For both office towers in the works, lead tenant status is still available—although office spaces are quickly being leased out to companies who want to be at the center of the accelerated urban growth in Toronto.
If your company is planning on moving to one of the many new office towers currently under construction in downtown Toronto, your first step should be to contact a reputable and talented corporate real estate agent. If you need assistance with finding a Toronto corporate real estate agent, we will be happy to recommend one to suit your needs. If you already have the agent that you feel confident with, your next step should be to secure a corporate relocation and renovation specialist to help you in every aspect of your move. Again, call us! We are here to help.