Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

• How to keep the lights on when moving your business

More than £15,000 is lost in staff downtime alone during the average office move estimates commercial relocation experts Corporate Moves; this figure does not take into account additional costs including lost productivity, overheads and the risk of insurance claims for staff injuries if moves are carried out internally.

The firm, which specialises in commercial relocation and installation, has successfully relocated more than 517 businesses in 2014 already, up 20% on the same period last year and boasts a 98% zero downtime for its clients and highlighted the statistics in a recent report to help managers prepare for a move.

As market confidence continues to increase, so does demand in office space (as seen in last month’s Savills Regional Office Market Report); as a result, reducing relocation downtime has never been more important to business owners who are achieving growth.

A recent business confidence index by Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland (FSB) evidenced falling spare capacity which suggests more businesses will be looking to move in the near future. A survey of their clients last year highlighted that 60% of members claimed their main business objective in the next year was growth, with 28% increasing their staffing levels and 7% seeking to move or to purchase additional premises.

Corporate Moves commercial manager Roddy Wylie said: “The market is showing clear signs of growth and reducing downtime is quite rightly the main aim for any business when moving. The whole move needs to appear seamless to customers, clients and staff. Everything we do to relocate businesses starts with good planning, continuing with a smooth execution of that plan and then concluding with a proper debrief. We make sure we offer support and guidance in order to get everyone back to work as quickly as possible.”

Following their acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Group Limited, Asset Management PLC brought in Corporate Moves to relocate a large number of staff and equipment. Lauren Todd, Facilities Manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, says: “At Aberdeen our clients come first, so we base our investment teams in the markets or regions in which they invest. Clients understand our process and portfolios because they are transparent.

“To this end it is imperative that disruption to operations is negated and all of our staff moves take place out with business hours aiming for zero downtime to reduce the potential cost to business. Corporate Moves’ service allowed us to relocate our staff with no downtime and negligible disturbance.”

Business Development Manager David Marshall at Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) which recently used Corporate Moves to rearrange their office to allow members to work more efficiently together supported this rationale. He said: “It made perfect sense to move over the weekend, as this meant there was minimal disruption for both our staff and customers.

“All our staff had to do was pack up any personal items by the Friday before the move and then when they came back in on the Monday everything was ready and waiting for them to start work as normal.”

To make a smooth move and help achieve zero downtime, Corporate Moves has created a list of top tips:

• Consider moving in the evening/overnight or at weekends to reduce downtime during traditional working hours; this might mean keeping buildings open for longer hours or that technical teams may need to be on-site during the move.

• Nominate a Project Move champion to lead on the move

• Have a thorough clear out – identify unwanted items; what can be recycled, re-used or donated to charities. De-cluttering will make labelling and packing items much easier. Don’t pay for moving obsolete files and furniture.

• Agree on a clear and concise labelling system and make sure everyone involved is briefed on the system – this will ensure things go to the right places in the new premises and allow for a speedy set up.

• Generate a list of people who are involved in sending and receiving items, with contact details as required – this allows everything to be tracked.

• Provide the relocation company supervisor with a set of floor plans – this ensures things go to the right places and cuts down on the chance of downtime in setting everything back up again.

• Make sure the Project Move champion monitors the progress of the move and maintains their overview of the proceedings. It is important to spot any potential problems as quickly as possible, and therefore this step, while not always considered important, is in fact vital.

• Have a post move debrief with the relocation company to ensure nothing has been missed, or to ensure any problems occurred have been dealt with.

Corporate Moves now has the largest in-house move and install workforce in Scotland and anticipate growing their numbers to match client demand this year. Corporate Moves’ service encompasses all aspects of a business move; from planning, right through to the physical move, working either directly with the client or with project managers on larger moves.