Sure, moving house is tough, but what about moving offices? As you might expect, setting up a new office can be even more stressful than setting up a new home. There are a lot more things you are legally obliged to think about, such as the health and safety of your employees. As well as style, you’ll need to think about the practical personal and business consequences of your new office set up. Whether you’re finally taking that big step and moving out of your home office and into your first ever rented office space or you’re just thinking about switching offices and want to get organised for the move, our new office checklist will make sure you’ve got everything covered.
The new office checklist
We’ve covered all the basics that a business might need when moving offices, but if you’re a more established business looking to move offices than you might some extra equipment or software you’ve taken on over the years that will need consideration when moving.
We’ve put all our checklist items in what we think should be chronological order, so it can double as a step-by-step guide too.
Furnishing the office
The below are all the things you need to think about when it comes to furnishing your office space. We’ve put this first for the layout, but you might also want to consider communications and equipment at the same time as these items will likely need to be plugged into sockets, which may affect where you put your furniture items.
Your layout will be dependant on your business and how many employees you have, if any. The key thing is to think about your most frequently used equipment, files and stationery, as well as which employees work together most day-to-day, if at all. If you have a departmental structure, for example, then you’ll want to place the people in each department close to each other.
Depending on your business you’ll probably be looking at one of three layouts. Each one has benefits for different businesses, and you will need to choose the best one that reflects your employees work habits and your business needs. If you have a highly collaborative environment, for example, then the closed layout won’t be suitable.
- Open plan – this is simply a couple of large desk areas with chairs position all along each side. This is perfect for maximising the usable space and encouraging collaboration but will mean sacrificing on privacy and personal storage.
- Close plan – this is a cubicle type layout where each person has a single desk with portioning around each. This offers maximum privacy and storage perfect for work that is highly independent and requires a lot of concentration with no collaboration. Unfortunately, it does take up the most space out of all the layouts.
- Modular plan – this is like a combination of the two and is probably the most common set up in today’s offices. You can have these as more open or as closed as you like by adding partitioning between the desks, but essentially this groups a few desks together and is perfect for giving your employees more space, storage and some privacy, while setting them up in departmental groups for collaboration.
You will likely need at three types of basic furniture for your office, but you may require more depending on break areas and meeting room space.
- Desks – it’s important that your employees feel valued and comfortable at work, so giving them their own desk space is important. You can go as simple as you want with plain rectangular desks or opt for an L shaped design that will offer more space and storage. You can also get an adjustable desk that offers employees a standing option and can benefit workplace health and safety.
- Chairs – you can get chairs with a range of support and comfort from simple task chairs to executive chairs. While you may be on a budget, chairs have a significant impact on employee health and stress. Your chairs should be adjustable and offer some back and arm support at a bare minimum.
- Storage – this includes filing cabinets, general stationary storage and personal desk storage. You may buy desks with storage fitted, or you may need to may additional mini drawer space to fit under each desk. Your amount of storage will be entirely dependant on the size of your equipment, filing and stationery needs.
You may want to add additional areas to your office space that will require other types of furniture, such as tables and chairs or large meeting room tables.
- Break areas – you should provide at least a small area for employees to take a break or have their lunch as some may not be able to leave the office. A break area can make your employees feel more welcome, comfortable and relaxed which is good for productivity. Think about sofas, coffee tables, dining tables, benches and chairs.
- Visitors – will you need a meeting room or separate area for meeting customers, suppliers, partners and other visitors you may host?
- Meeting room – even business with minimum collaboration will need to have department or business-wide meetings at some point. Will you benefit from a separate meeting space?
This sections specifically refers to the communication equipment you may need to install in your new office set up. You should consider beforehand how you want people to be able to contact your business and the range of channels or devices available to you such as landline phones, mobile phones and email.
Your internet is something that should ideally be looked at long before it’s time to move into your new office and is actually part of the searching process. When deciding on your new office space, it’s important to know what type of internet set up is available and how fast the connection is from various vendors. You might want to know, for example, whether there is already fibre optic set up in the area. When it comes to moving in, you should have a rough idea of who has the fastest and most affordable option for your business. Ensure you leave plenty of time with at least eight weeks to plan for the internet to be set up and installed so that everything is ready to go on the day you move in.
Phone line and extensions
You can choose from either a traditional phone service that uses copper wiring, VoIP phone service or a virtual phone service that forwards calls made to the business phone number to a personal phone line. VoIP phone service is often the most popular choice for business big and small as it uses an internet connection and is usually more affordable than a landline set up. Be warned, however, that the previous step is important here. A bad internet connection will mean a bad phone connection.
With a VoIP system, here is our mini checklist for setting up based on the common features available.
- Call waiting and hold – you may want to think about what people here when they are on hold, such as the style of music.
- Call transfer – you can also set up automatic transfers to your mobile device, for example, if you are going to be away from the office during work hours.
- Voicemail – think about the message and business details you might need to leave on your voicemail to reassure callers.
- Auto-attendant – you can set up call tree and an auto attendant which presents the caller with a series of options and will transfer them or relay a message depending on their choice. For example, 1 for sales, 2 for support and so on.
Email is a key communication tool for any business, so you’ll need to make sure that you have set up with an email service or arranged with the company hosting your website to secure your domain email. Ensure that have both individual and general business emails set up and that you have appropriate signatures for everybody. This should include their name and job title, along with the business name, logo and contact details.
- Individual email addresses – names and surnames.
- General business emails.
- Info@ email – general email.
This is largely the electronics that you will need for the day to day running and operation of your business.
- Computer and monitors – if you choose to stick with laptops, you will need a laptop stand. Otherwise, you will be looking at either a Mac set up for design-based work, or a Windows set up for other office work. You may also want to consider getting adjustable monitors when we benefit workplace health and safety.
- Computer software – make sure your computers are then set up with all the software your employees need, from your email to word processor, excel and design software like photoshop.
- Printer – it is usually more affordable today to get an all in one which will also give you scan, copy and fax capabilities. Don’t forget that should buy a printer to suit your current printing needs, such as an A3 one for design-based work or a more expensive office printer if you find you print at high volumes.
- Postal equipment – it can be efficient to invest in postal equipment such as a franking machine and organise with royal mail and other couriers a pickup and delivery service. Depending on your office space, your building may already have a service like this arranged.
- Shredder – most businesses find a shredder an important piece of equipment for their sensitive paper waste.
Finally, it’s time to fill your office with all the stationery you need. Don’t forget to make a note of what you order, the quantities and how long it lasts so you can begin to reorder efficiently. Many online stationary suppliers now offer this type of service, letting you save your previous orders and sending reminders when you might be running low. Don’t forget to keep it consistent, with your brand name, logo, colours and contact details in the same style and positioning.
- Branded stationery
- Business cards
- Compliment slips
- Paper – don’t forget to think about the various size and weight of paper you may need. Design based work may need various card type paper, for example.
- Pens and pencils.
- Staplers, hole punch, paper clips and other miscellaneous items you may need.
There are a few extra things you might want to consider when setting up your new office space.
- Lighting and soft furnishings – a happy office space is a productive one, so don’t be stingy on making it welcoming and comfortable for your employees.
- Back up drive or server – most businesses manage and operate a significant part of their business online or by computer, so having a backup drive or using a company that can provide this service might be important.
- Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) – if the power goes out a UPS provides backup power for a limited time so that you can save your work and safely shut down equipment.
- Alarm and security – you may want to think about installing an alarm system and even some CCTV security to protect your office assets.
Looking to move office?
Whether it’s your first office your fifth, we can offer bespoke office solutions that are far more affordable than traditional rented office space. With WiFi, power sockets and lighting as a standard you’re already halfway there from the minute you move in. Plus, we’re a proud UPS access point and can provide specialised services to manage and drop off your deliveries for you. For easy, flexible and affordable office space, contact one of our team today.