Four great tips that will help your next law office move go much smoother and be far less aggravating.
Moving a law office is time-consuming. Worse, you will be working at a far lower efficiency level than normal during the months immediately prior to, and immediately following your relocation.
To help, we have come up with four simple and easy to follow tips that will have an incredible impact the next time you move your law office.
Plan Your Move Carefully
If you have advance notice that your current lease terminates on a specific date, then try to schedule client work so it does not conflict with your move.
For example, if you have two back-to-back trials during November, you should seriously consider holding off the office relocation during the months of September, October and November.
Alternatively, it may be worth it to move a month earlier than the termination date of your current lease and temporarily carry two rental payments. At least you will be settled in your new work environment before you need to start prepping for that big trial. Better yet, try to arrange an extra month or two with your current landlord. You may have to pay a premium, but at least you’ll be able to finish your work with a clear head and fewer interruptions. To the extent possible, allow yourself a minimum of two weeks to get settled into the new office before taking on closings, trials, or other legal work that requires a significant amount of advance preparation and concentration.
Appoint a “Move Manager”
Once you know your firm will be moving, even before you know where you may be going, appoint a “Move Manager.”
The Move Manager will be in charge of:
- Budgeting for the move
- Keeping everyone else on schedule
- Ensuring that everyone on the team stays well informed
- Working directly with vendors
- Providing packing materials as appropriate
- Providing all employees with keys to the new office
- The creating and maintaining of an Asset Tracking spreadsheet.
The Move Manager should also delegate responsibilities and set goals on a calendar for the move.
If you are a solo with no staff, you will be the Move Manager; however, this is probably not a time to try to tackle every aspect of the move on your own. You will still need to find time to service client matters, which may take longer than usual with the disruption of the move. Consider hiring an assistant, even if on a temporary basis, to whom you can delegate certain tasks.
Get Moving Supplies Early On
Begin gathering packing supplies as soon as you know you will be moving. Of course, you’ll want to purchase the usual stuff: tape, bubble wrap and packing paper, but there are some other supplies to start to pull together as well.
Choose sturdy boxes in a variety of sizes. Your mover may provide these to you as part of your moving package, but keep in mind, moving companies are a business too. While it may be convenient to rely on the moving company for boxes, it is also much more expensive. You can order low cost moving kits from any number of vendors online.
In case you need reminding, moving is a dirty business. Even the most OCD neat freak is bound to find five years’ worth of dust bunnies built up behind the tangled mess of wires attached to your computer. Have cleaning supplies ready to freshen the stuff you are moving either before it is packed or when it gets to the new place. Also, make sure you have the supplies to meet your move-out obligations under your lease. If you have to clean your floors before you leave, make sure you don’t pack away the vacuum.
Chances are you may be breaking down furnishings to get ready for the move. The more you can do this on your own before your movers get there, the less time the actual move will take. Have a basic tool set available to you to do this.
Make an Inventory of Your “Assets”
The Move Manager should make a list of everything in your office that needs to be moved, sold, donated or thrown away. Some of the items being moved may go to different places. For example, if you have a conference room table and do not need one in your new office, you may want to take it to your home.
Employees might make asset requests for the new space. These asset requests should be reviewed, and if approved, added to the budget.
If you choose to use a moving company, you will need to provide them with an inventory of your assets, with specific instructions if certain items are going to different places.
Nobody is overly fond of the moving process, it is stressful, expensive and time-consuming. But by following the advice in this article, you can help make that process a little bit more manageable.