There are various compelling reasons that may drive an organization to consider relocating its office space. Such motivations could arise from lease expiration, impending renewals, the necessity of accommodating a growing workforce by securing a larger office space or to shed extra space due to a downsizing decision by company for various different reasons. More recently, the resurgence of in-office work has given rise to the demand for hybrid office spaces that cater to employees both in the office and working remotely.

Ideally, companies should initiate the process of planning their office relocation about 6 to 12 months before the actual move. If your organization is at this juncture, this write up could be of great assistance to you and serve as a lighthouse through out your office move process.

It’s important to recognize that today’s office is regarded as a valuable asset in attracting and retaining top level talent, which is most critical of any organization. Consequently, an increasing number of companies are investing in creating work environments that resonate with their staff’s desires.

Taking on an office relocation project can be daunting, particularly if it’s your first experience with such a venture. This concise guide aims to provide you with logical, step-by-step instructions to follow, making it a valuable resource.

Ascertain what’s driving the relocation:

When embarking on the journey of office relocation, it’s crucial to begin by clearly articulating the reasons driving this decision. Companies vary in their unique requirements and circumstances, so understanding why you need to move is the foundational step in the whole process.

Here are some common motivations for moving office space:

  • The current lease is expiring, and you want to explore other options.
  • Your company is experiencing growth and requires a larger space to accommodate the expanding workforce.
  • You wish to relocate closer to your clients for strategic reasons.
  • The existing office does not align with your corporate identity and brand image.
  • You aim to create a more inspiring and employee-friendly work environment.

In today’s competitive job market, your office space has a significant impact on attracting and retaining talent. Therefore, it’s essential to consider whether your current space can meet these objectives or if a new space offers the opportunity to craft a vibrant, refreshed workplace.

Additional factors, such as employee well-being and the adoption of more productive work practices, can also influence the decision to relocate. Your current space might not be conducive to practices like hot-desking, agile work arrangements, or the integration of new technology. In summary, defining the reasons for your office move is a pivotal initial step because it sets the stage for all subsequent decisions.

Assembling a Dedicated Office Relocation Team

Once you’ve established the rationale behind your office move, it’s time to build a cross-functional team, including a senior project champion. This champion should be a senior executive who possesses decision-making authority, effective communication skills, budget management experience, and a genuine commitment to creating an improved workplace. 

After selecting your project champion, you’ll need to determine the other team members required based on the unique needs of your organisation. Here are some key roles and skills to consider: 

  • IT: Technology is evolving rapidly, so involving IT experts ensures your new workplace is future-proofed from an IT perspective.
  • Operations: The day-to-day functioning of your business should continue seamlessly during the move, necessitating the involvement of the operations team.
  • HR: Involve HR to address any employee concerns about the new workplace and facilitate effective communication.
  • Finance: A senior member of the finance team should be involved to manage the budget effectively and handle associated financial tasks.
  • Facilities: Your facilities team knows the building inside out, making their involvement crucial in the early stages.
  • Marketing: To ensure your new workplace reflects your brand values accurately, engage with your marketing team.

With your dedicated office relocation team in place, you can move forward confidently, knowing you have the right expertise at your disposal.

Defining Your New Space Requirements:

Now that you’ve established your reasons for relocating and assembled your office move team, it’s time to dive deeper into the specifics of your new workplace. Gather your team and discuss what aspects of your current workspace you appreciate and what you’d like to change. Develop a detailed brief outlining your goals and aspirations. 

Conduct brainstorming sessions and consider aspects such as:

Embracing new technology and creating a tech-savvy environment.

Adopting flexible work arrangements to promote collaboration and creativity.

Addressing any existing issues in your current office, such as communication gaps, limited meeting room availability, or discomfort in working away from desks.

Identifying areas where your current office falls short in supporting new working practices, such as hot-desking and agile work arrangements.

Evaluating workplace well-being and the need for a more employee-centric design.

Assessing the need for changes in lighting, layout, or amenities.

This initial brainstorming and wish-list creation will form the foundation of your brief when searching for a new office space. Ensure that every aspect is included to prevent recurring issues from persisting in the new office environment. 

Common issues in existing office spaces to consider include: 

  • Insufficient space for returning employees.
  • Rapid company growth leading to a shortage of workstations.
  • The desire for more collaborative workspaces.
  • A need to embrace flexible work arrangements.
  • Limited options for staff to comfortably have lunch.
  • Inadequate meeting room availability.
  • Excessive noise hinders concentration.
  • A lack of private spaces for phone calls.
  • Limited communication between teams on different floors.
  • Insufficient natural lighting.
  • Sutta and small eateries around
  • Non availability of creche in the vicinity of office

These factors will heavily influence the type of office space you should be looking for and guide your final office design. Engage in detailed discussions with your team to ensure a comprehensive understanding of these aspects, and consider involving your staff in the decision-making process through company meetings or surveys. 

With your team’s input, you’ve not only defined the reasons behind your office move but also gained clarity on what your new workspace should deliver. This forms the basis of your brief for the next steps.

Engaging A Vastu Consultant (Optional)

Multiple times we have come across company executives who look at spaces only from the functionality aspects and tend to overlook the vastu aspects, but later on the higher management (who might have strong vastu realated views) reject the site citing vastu incongruence. So it is important to ascertain any such requirement from the company management at the very onset of the journey to ensure that no hard work is wasted because of lack of complete information on any front .

Engaging Commercial Property Agents/Brokers

Delhi’s commercial real estate market offers numerous options, making it essential to engage with experienced commercial property agents to identify suitable office spaces. Spend time researching potential agents, seek recommendations, and create a shortlist of candidates to contact.

When working with commercial property agents, consider the following factors: 

  • Ensure they are into commercial real estate and not residential or doing both. An agency solely working commercial deals will have better overall market insight.
  • Ask for quality references to evaluate their track record.
  • Ensure they possess in-depth knowledge of the area you’re exploring.
  • Understand their fee structure and transparency.
  • Assess their proficiency in dealing with technical aspects of buildings and spaces.

Keep in mind that the market in some areas of Delhi can be competitive, so acting swiftly when the right space becomes available is crucial. Refer to your list of requirements and carefully weigh each option before finalising your shortlist.

Collaborating with Office Design and Build Firms

Simultaneously with your search for office space through commercial property agents, it’s recommended that you begin researching and approaching office design and build companies. Selecting a partner early in the process accelerates project planning. 

Consider the following steps when choosing an office design and build partner:

Conduct online research and seek recommendations from colleagues, peers, and neighbouring companies.

Examine each company’s website and case studies to evaluate their work and clientele.

Schedule meetings with potential partners to discuss your objectives, budget, and requirements.

During these meetings, pose essential questions to make an informed decision: 

  • Have they worked with companies in your sector?
  • Can they provide examples of recent projects of similar size?
  • Do they have experience in the building or area you’ve selected (if applicable)?
  • Can they work within a fixed budget, with no hidden fees?
  • Do they offer space planning or test-fit services?
  • What is their financial stability?
  • Can you visit offices they have recently designed and built?
  • Can they assist with issues involving the landlord and local authorities, such as acquiring a Licence to Alter?
  • How do they ensure projects are delivered on time?
  • Do they possess extensive knowledge of office furniture?

After meeting with potential partners, narrow your selection down to 2-3 companies that align with your project’s requirements and exhibit a wealth of experience. Request detailed presentations from these shortlisted firms, which should include their design vision, proposed timeline, budgets, and the team responsible for executing the project.

Visiting offices, they have recently designed and ongoing projects can provide insights into their work quality and client satisfaction.

Establishing a Project Budget (and Adhering to It)

Relocating your office is a significant investment, and it’s essential to budget effectively and explore all available financial options. Your chosen office design and build partner can assist in creating preliminary budgets based on your project’s scope, size, and complexity.

Several factors influence fit-out costs, such as:

The type of building and space selected.

The age and condition of the building’s mechanical and electrical services.

The level of finish quality and furniture required.

Costs related to IT and AV upgrades.

Fit-out costs can range from approximately ₹1500-2000 per square foot for basic projects to over ₹3000-4000 per square foot for high-end fit-outs.

Consider exploring leasing options and tax benefits that can provide long-term savings. Consult with your internal tax experts or external advisors to maximise capital allowances, activate tax incentives for using sustainable materials, and explore low-interest leasing options.

It’s vital that your chosen partner can work within your budget and provide a comprehensive breakdown of costs, covering everything from painting and decor to furniture expenses. Include a contingency budget to account for unforeseen expenses.

Common costs associated with an office move include:

Commercial agent fees.

Deposits and costs for the new property.

Legal fees.

Office design and build fees.

Dilapidation costs to restore the old space to its original condition.

IT costs for new or upgraded systems.

Furniture costs, including delivery and installation.

Surveys and assessments, such as fire plan assessments and building surveys.

Marketing costs to update the company’s address on materials and online platforms.

Thoroughly define and approve the budget in collaboration with your finance team and project champion. Ensure that every cost, no matter how small, is accounted for. A well-structured budget plan sets the foundation for a successful office move.

Selecting Your New Office Space

After conducting a thorough search and engaging commercial property agents, you should have a selection of potential office spaces that align with your requirements. It’s now time to negotiate the lease terms with the new landlord while ensuring the costs are in line with your budget and market standards.

Additionally, revisit your initial list of requirements to confirm that the new space fulfils all your needs and aspirations.

Once you’ve addressed these considerations and gained approval from your team, proceed to sign the lease agreement for your new office space.

Collaborating Closely with Your Office Design Partne

With your new office space secured, it’s time to work closely with your chosen office design and build partner to plan and execute the project. The partner can assist in obtaining necessary permissions and licences from your landlord and local authorities, if required.

Initiate discussions to create a detailed project plan with timelines and key milestones, which are critical for a smooth office design and build project. Also, coordinate with other tenants and neighbouring businesses to communicate your plans and ensure that any disruptive work or deliveries occur outside of regular working hours.

During this phase, engage with the designers to discuss the desired design style before finalising and approving the new workplace design. This collaborative process may include design meetings, workshops, visits to showrooms to select furniture and finishes, and examinations of other offices to identify preferences. Your design and build partner may produce mock-ups and 3D renders to showcase how your space will look based on the brief and feedback provided. These visualisations bring your new office to life.

Selecting the Right Office Furniture

As the project progresses and your team prepares to move into the new space, don’t overlook the importance of selecting the appropriate office furniture. Furniture plays a pivotal role in reflecting your brand and is the most visible element of your new workplace.

Take time to evaluate and select seating, desks, collaboration furniture, and meeting room tables that align with your brand identity and create a workspace that resonates with your organisation.

Consider the purpose of different areas within the office and select furniture accordingly.

Ergonomically designed seating for desk-based work, Comfortable couches/tall tables installed at various places to foster informal collaboration, private booths for focused work and calls etc. Numerous furniture options and reputable brands are available, so collaborate with furniture experts from your office design and build partner and heed their recommendations.

Invest time in visiting showrooms with your furniture expert, seek advice, and ensure your selections align with your budget and can be delivered on time.

Managing Your Office Relocation

With the project well underway and excitement building among your staff for their new workplace, it’s crucial to effectively manage the office move and transition to the new space. Create a comprehensive to-do list, delegate responsibilities, hold regular project team meetings, and ensure all tasks occur in a timely manner.

Consider these tasks as part of your office move checklist:

  • Arrange for the delivery of crates and boxes for packing.
  • Oversee the packing process, determining what needs to move to the new office and what should be disposed of.
  • Ensure the new office is secure and prepared to accept deliveries before the move-in date.
  • Organise an induction morning on the office move-in day to familiarise staff with the new space and seating arrangements.
  • Coordinate holidays to ensure key personnel are available for the move.
  • Collaborate with your office design and fit-out partner to address any defects or issues in advance.
  • Ensure that all IT equipment is delivered, installed, and tested before the move.
  • Communicate the office move date and information to all staff and customers through newsletters, emails, or direct mail campaigns.

Regular project meetings should help identify and address any issues or challenges, ensuring the project remains on track. As the project nears completion, evaluate the new space and identify any necessary adjustments to ensure a seamless transition for your staff.

Finally, get the team to move in:

Try to get the work completed a couple of days in advance before the move in date so that you have enough time for checking all installations and get them ratified in case of any such requirement.

Confirm that all furniture is installed and IT and AV systems are tested and operational, including new computers, meeting room technology, access cards, and Wi-Fi.

Ensure that the interiors team coordinates with all the different department heads to check if their respective requirements have been taken care of.

Last would be to invite all your staff members for a pre-move in briefing in the new office. Say, for a small lunch time pizza party, to explain about the place, facilities, new upgrades etc and give them a sense of the space. Provide time for Q&A to ensure staff embrace the new environment.

Communicate move-in details to staff, including directions to the new office, access card distribution, and seating arrangements.

This comprehensive guide outlines the key steps involved in relocating your office from a commercial real estate perspective. By following these steps, you can navigate the office move process more efficiently, ensuring a successful transition to a new workspace that aligns with your organisation’s goals and needs.

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