Conducting Risk Assessment When Moving Office Locations
Office relocation is an overwhelming project. It involves not just health and safety risks but also risks in data security, business operations and equipment handling. Careful planning must be done to ensure a smooth transition to minimise the risks of relocating a business.
How do you move an office?
Moving an office involves strategic planning from searching for a new office location up to the complete transitioning of business operations after the physical move. Usually, moving office locations involves the following activities:
Identify what needs to be done, and establish a feasible timeline. Set criteria in choosing a new office space that can help fulfil the goals for your relocation. Assign a key person who can be in charge of relocating activities. Provide staff that can help keep everything organised.
Search and select a new office space that meets the requirements of your growing business. Your new space must allow you to increase revenue. Check if it meets your specific requirements.
Once the new office is selected, lease agreement must be documented. Go over all the details carefully, and check for any clause that can potentially affect business operations in the future. Permits, licenses and other official documents will need to be arranged as well.
Repairs and Renovation
Evaluate the new office, and determine areas where repairs and renovations are needed. Plan your office design including workspace layout, function rooms and electrical outlets.
Consider your business cycle when setting a moving date. It’s best to conduct the actual move during the least busy time or when there’s a downtime in production. Migration involves the transfer of your equipment, staff, data, IT and telecoms infrastructure. Disruption in your operations is inevitable but can still be minimised.
While it’s possible to have your own office staff deal with relocation, engaging the help of an office removals company can ensure that the move goes smoothly. Professional movers have better experience and more knowledge in handling matters regarding moving an office.
How do I make a checklist when moving office spaces?
Relocating your entire office is a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider and too many things that need to be done. Break all the activities into easy steps through a checklist to ensure everything is covered from the beginning stages to move-in day, plus several days after for the transition. Part of your checklist should include:
- Schedule ocular visits for potential office spaces.
- Select office space.
- Prepare and sign the lease agreement.
- Secure permits and licenses.
- Assign key persons for the relocation project.
- Establish a timetable.
- Delegate tasks.
- Conduct risk management planning.
Moving out (checklist for old office)
- Suspend purchase and delivery of new inventory and supplies to the existing office or re-route items to the new location if needed.
- Inform all employees, external partners and existing customers.
- Schedule appointments with utility companies the day after moving out.
- Declutter to get rid of unnecessary items such as broken equipment and furniture.
- Shred documents that are not relevant to business operations.
- Secure confidential files.
- Conduct an inventory.
Moving in (checklist for new office)
- Repair and renovate the new office.
- Schedule appointments with utility companies several days before moving in.
- Check all utilities and office layout before moving in.
What is a general risk assessment?
Risk assessment is a systematic and thorough process of identifying hazards and risk factors. It’s conducted so that safeguarding measures can be set to reduce the chances of identified risks. It generally includes hazard identification followed by risk analysis, evaluation and assessment.
The possible causes of harm are determined in hazard identification. After this, risks are analysed to determine who or what can be harmed. These are then evaluated and prioritised so precautionary measures can be set in place. The entire process is reviewed afterward, and appropriate actions are taken.
When relocating a business, it’s important to perform risk planning to control or eliminate as many risks as possible.
What areas are susceptible to risks during office relocation?
When moving office spaces, the health and safety of the people involved are not the only risks. The whole organisational structure of your company is affected.
Moving office locations will cause disruptions in management and services. If not done properly, it can even lead to a complete shutdown during the transition. Downtime can reduce productivity and negatively affect revenue. The loss of productivity occurs days before and days after the actual move. The longer the transition is, the greater the potential for loss.
Relocating a business requires start-up costs. You’ll be required to provide deposits on lease and utilities. New furniture and equipment might be required. These costs must be balanced by your potential sales revenue in your new location. Otherwise, the relocation costs can restrict your cash flow.
Not all company staff may want to relocate along with the business, so you’re likely to lose valuable employees. Moreover, hiring and training new staff cost money and affect work productivity.
Relocating your business can lead to loss of customers especially if you’re a single outlet company. Your current customers are not likely to follow as you move miles away, or you may lose contact as you change addresses. You would need to implement new marketing strategies to grow your consumer base.
Property and Data Security
Everything you move is susceptible to threats. Fragile equipment could be mishandled, inventory could be lost and confidential data could be compromised. All these are critical to your business but are put at risk during office relocation.
Migrating IT and data systems can be a nightmare especially if your office relies heavily on such infrastructure. Extended downtime severely affects productivity and revenue as it affects the quality of your services.
Lack of communication is detrimental to your relocation. Internal miscommunication or lack thereof leads to a disorganised move where tasks are forgotten and deadlines are missed. Lack of external communication with partners and customers can lead to loss of contact, lower customer retention and profit loss.
Health and Safety
During the office relocation, the health and safety of your employees, the movers and the public can be put at risk. Safety hazards such as trips and falls due to clutter from boxes and trolleys abound. Add to these the obstruction of thoroughfares, corridors and other means of access. Then there are also hazards posed during the handling of materials when lifting, pushing, packing and unpacking them.
How do you lay out a risk assessment?
Risk planning when moving office locations can be done systematically through these steps:
- Identify the hazards
In relocating a business, you need to identify hazards that can cause physical harm and those that threaten company property and data security. This should be done both at your current office and the office you’re moving into.
Walk through the workspace to identify hazards. Physical hazards are anything that can potentially harm people such as electricity, noise, faulty construction and hazardous substances. Talk to your staff, and get their feedback to determine hazards that may not be obvious to you.
List potential threats to your property and data. Determine what could possibly go wrong that could lead to loss, damage or compromise.
Identify who could be harmed and in what way. These can include your employees, consumers, contractors and the people in the community. Be as thorough as you can in listing down ways that they could be harmed.
- Assess and prioritise risks
Go over the risks and hazards you’ve identified. Evaluate the chances of those risks happening and how they can affect company services. Weigh the harm they could potentially create, and prioritise them accordingly. Address first those that seem inevitable and those that could cause the most severe damage.
- Set measures in place
Decide on preventive action, and find solutions that can reduce risks. You want to be proactive, not reactive. Establish control measures for identified risks. Have contingency plans in place for scenarios that might occur while moving office spaces.
Record the findings, and inform those who could be affected by risks. Provide relevant information to all staff and other people concerned. Create a timeline for implementing the preventive measures, and ensure that all staff are informed.
How do you make your office move successful?
With so many areas to cover and a seemingly infinite possibility of risks, it can be daunting to move your office. However, you can increase your chances of success by implementing an efficient risk management strategy and by doing the following:
- Appoint key person
Assign a project manager who can oversee the move and ensure that everything is coordinated. This key person should be accountable for an efficient relocation and smooth transition.
- Prioritise security
Identify security implications, and implement preventive actions. Ensure that key people are accountable for physical security and data security. Provide them with the appropriate tools they need.
- Establish updates regularly
Have a clear and documented communication plan. Leverage technology to streamline communication and keep everyone updated on the progress of the relocation through email or other modes.
- Monitor plans
Use checklists to track progress and ensure that the timeline is followed.
- Get help
Acquire the services of professionals. Reliable office removal companies can help you successfully move your office with hardly any glitches. They are equipped with tools and experience to efficiently manage an office relocation regardless of the scale and requirements.