the office relocation planning website

85 Critical Tasks Before, During, and After the Move

Lease Negotiations

? Negotiate that landlord pays for the cost of running the air conditioning during your move-in and move-out.

? Negotiate that landlord will give you guaranteed exclusive use of the freight elevator and loading dock (during non-business hours) during your move-in and move-out at no additional charge.

? Negotiate that landlord will let you deliver and install your new furniture before the commencement of the lease at no additional charge.

Task List

? Create a task list


? Set preliminary budget.

Cubes and Executive Offices

? Inventory furniture.

? Match old furniture with new requirements.

? Hire a space planner to prepare accurate space drawings (not architectural renderings) for systems’ furniture layout and installation.

? Sell or store excess furniture.

? Select furniture installer. Ensure the installer has the capacity to handle a job your size as well as the capability to do the job. Confirm with your installer that your space drawings are accurate and satisfactory.

? If you’re purchasing new furniture, order new furniture installation drawings even if you duplicate your existing layout. This is also typically done by a space planner.

? Review your new furniture design and assign seating.

? Purchase new furniture (arrange for inside delivery).

? Arrange for installation.

Common Area Furniture

? Inventory furniture and appliances.

? Coordinate vending and appliance pick-up (request new vending machines).

? Purchase new kitchen appliances.

? Coordinate new kitchen appliance delivery.


? Ensure all vendors have adequate insurance. Demand Certificates of Insurance from them.

? Revise and update your current insurance policies.


? Inventory phones.

? Solicit surveys from phone companies.

? Purchase additional phones (or new phone system).

? Reserve phone numbers with local company; add lines; transfer e-mail.

? Install common area phones.

? Arrange phone system move.

? Confirm move time.

? Inform your carrier of the move.

? Arrange for dual phone service if possible.

? Schedule training sessions for employees to learn how to use the phones (video tape the training for future new-hires).


? Solicit advice from information technology personnel and determine by whom and how the computers will be prepared and moved.

? Inventory computers.

? Purchase additional computers.


? Collect old keys.

? Distribute new keys, garage and other access cards, and garage remote controls.

? Take digital pictures (with your phone) of your electronic equipment

? Transfer pictures to a flash drive

Signs and Notices

? Order new stationery, business cards, envelopes, etc.

? Update your address and contact information on your website and emails

? Order new checks.

? Change address with FedEx, UPS, and U.S. Post Office.

? Print move notices and send to all customers and vendors.

? Order office signs and name plates.

? Notify your employees what they’re supposed to do. For example: Who must be present during the move and at what location and time; when to report to the new building and how to get there, etc.

? Keep employees “in the loop.” Keep them informed about the plans and solicit feedback.

Build Out

? Set contract with Designer and Contractor.

? Establish construction schedule.

? Solicit cabling bids.

? Approve cabling bids.

? Monitor construction progress daily.

? Tour your new facility with key employees to uncover potential layout problems before you move.


? Notify lessor of copier if applicable.

? Arrange copier move or have it prepared for mover.

? Solicit move bids. Require that movers provide an audit trail of the man-hours and the material when they submit their bill.

? Determine how movers will protect computers and other sensitive office equipment. Will they use bubble wrap, Comp-U-Wraps , or clean furniture pads?

? Determine how the movers plan to protect your new office from damage. Will they use Polynite, Masonite®, Mat-A-Doors® , Koroflex, and doorjamb protectors?

? Select movers. Make sure the mover has the capacity to handle a job your size as well as the capability to do the job.

? Obtain parking permits for moving vans.

? Reserve elevators at new and old offices in writing.

? Reserve loading docks in writing.

? Have elevator companies placed on “standby” alert if building has only one freight elevator.

? Have air conditioners turned on during the move.

? Obtain cellphone numbers of the building managers.

? Back up computer files and move separately.

? Arrange to have ice maker detached/hooked up by the landlords or your plumber, not the mover.

? Arrange to have coffee machine moved by vendor.

? Arrange to have plant vendor pick up your plants one week before the move and deliver the new plants to your new office one week after the move.

? Have computers prepared.

? Arrange to have food delivered to both your old and new offices for your employees who must be there during the move.

? Label furniture and equipment at the old location per your mover’s format.

? Teach your employees what and how to pack by holding training clinics (your mover should provide this service).

? Instruct your employees to move their personal items themselves (bric-a-brac such as pictures, paperweight, artwork).

? Instruct employees to label what’s inside each packed moving crate or carton on a separate note pad and keep it with them (makes it easier to unpack in order).

? Set up corresponding labels and floor plans at the new location for the movers.

? Confirm elevators at old and new offices.

? Assign department throw-away and packing responsibility.

? Walk through and inspect the condition of your new office with your mover before and immediately following the move to note pre-existing conditions and damage to the space.

? Supervise the move at both locations.

? Set up a “lost and found” room at your new office (in a vacant office or conference room) for furniture and contents that are mislabeled or have no label.

Post Move

? Make sure everyone is happy in the new location. Walk the space and visit with each employee to adjust chair heights, work surface heights and make sure that everything is working. Record any moving damage and missing items.

? Inspect every lateral file cabinet to ensure that it’s not unbalanced, top-heavy or about to fall over. If it’s dangerous, have the mover level, balance, bolt and gang it.

? Set up and test your computers as soon as possible, not forgetting the ones in offices and at workstations where the employees are traveling or on vacation.

? File damage claims in writing as soon as possible with your mover on his damage claim form. Follow-up and confirm that he has received the completed forms.

? Instruct your employees by e-mail or memo to unpack their plastic crates as soon as possible.  If you used cardboard cartons, break down, collapse, and stack them neatly away from the aisles. Have the mover pick up the emptied crates or cartons in a timely manner.  Count the crates and plastic dollies with the mover to verify the number. 

? Instruct your employees to place any item or carton that’s not theirs in the “lost & found” room.



About the Author…


Ed Katz, president of the International Office Moving Institute (IOMI®), has been called the guru of office moving.  His innovative and efficient techniques have been featured in The Wall Street Journal.  He’s been published in more than 40 other magazines and newspapers.


His book, COMMERCIAL RELOCATION, won the “Award of Excellence—Distinguished Author” by the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA). 


IOMI® is not a marketing alliance, a trade association, or a moving company, but an independent, unbiased office moving resource and training organization beholden to no one. It has no members.

IOMI® teaches movers the best practice methods for:

• Minimizing the risk of damage to walls, floors, doors, and elevators during a move. IOMI® Certified Office Movers® and Certified Project Managers® learn the how to install extensive building protection.
• Minimizing the risk of damage to furniture and electronics during a move. IOMI® Certified Office Movers® and Certified Project Managers® learn how to wrap every monitor, printer, CPU, server, and copier with two layers of anti-static bubble wrap (with the bubbles facing the bubbles) instead of pad-wrapping computers with filthy furniture pads.
• Estimating accurately--timing is of the essence on an office move. If the mover doesn’t finish on time, it can cost their customer thousands of dollars of nonproductive downtime. IOMI® Certified Office Movers® and Certified Project Managers® learn an estimating formula that’s based upon man-hours instead of the unreliable method typically used on household moves that’s based on “cube” and “pounds.” The IOMI® proprietary estimating formula is uncannily accurate because it factors in not only volume but unique origin and destination logistics.

How can you verify a prospective mover or project manager is IOMI®-certified? If they can’t produce credentials, check our list of Certified Office Movers® at .  If they aren’t on our list, they aren’t IOMI®-trained.

Planning an office move? Go the office relocation planning resource center

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