Moving offices? The Experts Share Key Insights & Lessons Learned
Q&A with Jeff Silverstein, The Advance Group
There is no question the recent pandemic has had a major impact on the real estate portfolio of many, if not most, companies. According to PwC’s US Remote Work Survey- January 12, 2021,
“Most executives (87%) expect to make changes to their real estate strategy over the next 12 months. These plans include consolidating office space in premier locations and/or opening more satellite locations.”
Any office move or relocation is a significant project, and there are many pieces to consider. To explore this topic further, 4THBIN sat down with Jeff Silverstein, EVP Sales & Marketing for The Advance Group (TAG), a commercial moving and logistics leader. He shares his insights about lessons learned, services available, and what companies need to think about when planning an office move or closure.
Q: What are the trends that you have seen over the last year?
A: In the beginning, we saw a lot of projects get put on hold pending more clarity regarding the impact of the pandemic on their companies, their employees, and what the new 'normal' would be for office settings going forward. Over the last six months, we have seen more companies start making decisions about their real estate.
We have supported several companies with their mass exiting from California and move to other states like Texas, a phenomenon that has gained momentum over the last year. And in general, we definitely see more office closures or consolidations than openings and a lot more demand for storage than we have seen in the last five years. Companies are using the storage option as a way to end their current leases and defer decisions about office size and location until they are ready to make more permanent decisions about their office work environment and policies in a post-pandemic world.
Q: What would be some of the biggest lessons learned from some of these office moves?
A: Far too often, companies underestimate the time and effort it takes. Upfront planning and close project management are critical to a successful move. Typically, 10% of that plan will change. It's essential to have a vendor who understands what can cause those delays and has a range of scenarios built into the plan to mitigate them.
Companies tend to focus on the physical packing and moving component. From a time and cost perspective, you need to take into consideration a multitude of other factors. Including the disassembly of furniture, the IT component, storage cost, redelivery and set up, liquidation of furniture or ordering and delivery of new furniture, as well as the need to clean the space before returning it to the landlord. Ensuring you have a realistic project plan and cost transparency enables a seamless move from start to finish. At TAG, we assign a professional project manager to each project and provide our clients a detailed itemized list to avoid any hidden surprises or unexpected upcharges.
Q: What advice would you give a company that will be relocating or decommissioning an office space in the near future?
A: Take the opportunity to purge things you no longer need. Moving provides an excellent opportunity to reassess what you really need and let go of things that you put in your bottom desk drawer or supply closet for that "someday I might need this" day, knowing deep down you will never need it again. It not only reduces what you need to move, but it is also a very cathartic process.
Plan, plan, plan. This move needs to be treated like any other company project with the same level of discipline and focus. Having a moving vendor who has professional project management capabilities not only helps take the stress out of moving, you also know it is going to get done on time and within budget. Time is money when it comes to an office move, and it can get costly for a company if they are not out of their space by the end of their lease.
Onboarding your moving and logistics vendor early in the process is vital, ensuring that they have all these capabilities in-house to ensure the job is done right and without unintended delays from third parties. Speak to your landlord/building management early in the process to fully understand what is required when you leave the space.
Q: Is there anything your clients would find surprising about the services you provide?
A: Yes. We are unique to the moving industry, with a comprehensive set of capabilities under one roof. We provide
- IT services with expertise in relocation and set up of computer systems, AV equipment, and data centers.
- Expertise in the relocation of laboratory equipment
- Design services
- Furniture installation
- Furniture restoration
- Short and long-term storage for furniture, documents, technology
- Liquidation, recycling, and responsible disposal of office furniture & equipment
Q: Is there a checklist or expectations that you provide your clients to think about in advance of the move?
A: We provide a quick move checklist as a guide for your detailed planning. It helps define what is to be moved, when you should move it and a proper timeline.
In addition, no matter the size or scope of the office move we provide our clients, we start with a project survey that is a fact-finding interview that includes a precise inventory of all contents and generates a realistic project estimate.
The move preparation itself consists of three primary components:
- Close coordination with our client's move team
- Tagging, marking, and layout from your approved floor plans
- Protection of property, including all labor, supervision, material, and equipment
Q: Is there a top list of things you should consider when looking for a moving and logistics vendor?
A: I suggest you consider the following
- In-house project managers
- Has a range of in-house capabilities to support all your needs
- Is knowledgeable and compliant with all building regulations
- Has certificates of insurance
- Can provide asset inventory and real-time tracking
- Has nationwide capabilities to support multiple locations
About The Advance Group:
The Advance Group (TAG) is New York’s largest office moving, storage and furniture installation company. They are also the founding member of the Office Moving Alliance (OMA), an international network of commercial moving, storage, and office furniture installation specialists servicing many of the world's largest companies. For more information, contact Jeff Silverstein or check out TAG’s website, including their latest podcast entitled “The Mass Exodus from BIG Cities: Joe Rogan, Tesla, and Other Companies are Moving.”