Moving to a new office? Your easy guide to staying connected
An office move is never an easy task. Even if you are only moving your office across the street an office move has the potential to disrupt your business operations and your key IT communications systems - unless you apply some forward thinking.
Whether your IT department consists of only a few people, or a large team, it is essential that you plan each detail of your office move precisely and far enough in advance to reduce any damaging disruption on your IT and communications systems that will harm customer relationships, reduce staff productivity, and absorb management resources.
In this article, we have prepared a checklist that will help you arrange and supervise your office move effectively, with minimal interruptions to your IT and communication systems.
What to consider when moving to a new office: checklist
Plan your IT relocation well in advance
Planning is key to a smooth transition into your new office. In the months leading up to your move, you will need to ensure that you undertake the following tasks:
Schedule your IT team to conduct site visit at the new office location so that they can review network cabling requirements.
At least two months before the move, make sure you contact all carriers, ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and technology vendors and let them know your moving date.
Assess your existing equipment
If your existing IT infrastructure is showing its age, then your office move is a good time to update your equipment. If you plan well enough in advance, you could even have your network up and running in your new office before your move-in day has arrived. Here are a few useful steps to follow when assessing your equipment:
Inventory all your existing equipment to determine whether it still meets your requirements and will be suitable in your new office.
List any of your current equipment that needs upgrading or replacing, and order any new necessary equipment.
Return any leased IT and phone equipment that is no longer needed.
Dispose of any old or broken equipment.
Evaluate server room requirements.
Evaluate your communications requirements
Your new office may be lacking in installed cabling and infrastructure that your organisation needs. When assessing your new office ask yourself the following questions to find out what you need and if anything needs to be added to your new office:
How many phone lines are available?
How many power outlets do we need?
How many Cat 5 cables and Cat 6 cables do we require?
Prepare a visit checklist
Once you have evaluated your communications requirements, you should know what you need to keep track of during your site visit. A thorough site visit is a crucial part of planning for a smooth moving process. During your site visit, ensure that you cover the following:
Review configuration plan of your new office with your IT provider
Make sure that the ideal locations for workstations, power ports, and network cabling points are established.
Establish prime locations for printers, scanners, routers, etc.
Confirm whether the minimum requirements for the server room will be met.
Consider your fibre internet options
New fibre leased lines options are constantly becoming available, so make sure that you browse for the right connection and Service Level Agreement (SLA) for your business. When choosing your fibre internet connection, consider your current requirements as well as planning ahead for any kind of growth or expansion of your business in the next three to five years; this will help you determine if you need to upgrade your new office’s current internet connection.
Protect your data
You should always ensure that your data is protected in case of a worst-case scenario, but even more so during an office relocation. Imagine what would happen to your data if something went wrong during your move. The effects on your business operations could be dire. To ensure that your data is protected during your move, ensure that you complete the following tasks:
Make backup copies of all your company’s data systems including firewalls and servers. Store copies in a place (or places) where they will not be affected by the move.
Ensure that full recovery is possible so that you will still be able to access all your company’s data if something did go wrong.
Prepare for moving day
Moving all your office equipment may not be as easy as you think. In many cases it will require special handling, expertise and transit protection. Therefore, we would strongly recommend that you source an IT and telecom solution provider to complete the actual moving for you. If you are using the same moving company for every aspect of your office more, make sure that they can move electronic equipment appropriately. When preparing for your move day, ensure that you have done the following:
Transport copies of your data backup to your new office separate from the main system and each other.
Ensure that all wiring and data cables are labelled correctly and to which piece of equipment they are required for
Create a contact list of everyone involved in the move.
Assist with the disconnection of equipment at your old office and instruct staff on how to shut down all equipment properly before leaving on the final day before the move.
Test the new office’s network
It is a good idea to have your IT and telecom provider with you on the first day in your new office so that they can help staff with any questions or network connectivity issues. After all the stages of your move are completed, you should have a walkthrough to check the following:
Make sure all cabling, equipment, and phones are in the right place.
Check all individual telephone numbers and their locations.
Make sure any call forwarding required is working and being forwarded to the correct phone - this is not required if you have VoIP telephony
Start all servers and test network capability and data migration.
Test all network connections.
Settle into your new office!
Once you have moved into your new office ask for feedback from your staff to discover whether they feel that the technology infrastructure is suitable or if it can be improved at all. Getting the IT part wrong in your office move can result in delays and downtime, which can have negative operational and financial consequences for your business. The tips in this article will help you to ensure that your move is low-risk and successful.
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