Office moves, even those you expect to be routine and on the lower end of the drama scale, should always be executed with an eye toward variables and risks. Project teams might assume the average desk relocation effort doesn’t require as much diligence as a strategically critical project would, since the vast majority of moves happen on time and without any big surprises. However, the potential for something to go very wrong still exists, and it’s important for project professionals to maintain their risk awareness.
Damage to furniture and equipment can happen at any time.
A broken office chair isn’t a show-stopping event, but if a printer dedicated to producing oversized manufacturing diagrams arrives at its new location with its electrical cord damaged beyond repair, your team may have some unexpected—and expensive—remediation work to do. Work with your end users to understand the types of furniture and equipment that might need additional attention during the move process. Your group may want to take additional steps to protect items in the work environment that are critical to end users’ job functions, or that are likely to be difficult to replace. Put plans in place early to deal with these more unique items and be sure to involve your moving contractor in the planning process so they’re also aware of potential risks.
Delays can create scheduling problems in areas you may not have imagined.
Timeline glitches in an office relocation project can arise from the simplest things. For example, conference furniture can be surprisingly tricky. Has your team measured the largest meeting room’s table? If its original installation relied on the wide opening created by double doors, you’ll want to know that ahead of time, particularly if it’s relocating to a spot where a single door is the only access point. This seemingly low-level concern could become a real headache if the relocation team isn’t prepared to quickly break down and reassemble the table and there’s an investor meeting scheduled in that space the next day.
Small issues can have big implications.
Improper handling or delayed transport of paper records housed in the HR or accounting departments, for example, could temporarily make those files unavailable to the team. The downstream effects are likely to be mere inconvenience, but depending on timing you could risk disrupting the normal payroll processing cycle or even interfering with the company’s ability to respond to an unannounced regulatory audit or litigation proceedings. And depending on the contents of those files, a lack of awareness about the need to maintain a chain of custody could also create serious compliance or other issues. A thorough risk assessment will help to uncover these types of concerns so your team can successfully execute the project and avoid potential problems.
End users are sometimes a wild card.
Project teams rely on end users for all sorts of information and support. Your group may ask stakeholders to provide the specs for new or existing equipment to ensure the new location is properly outfitted to support it. Or you might assign a coordinator for each floor to see that packing materials are placed in a convenient spot and to funnel last-minute requests or questions over to the project team. But because these partnerships can harbor their own risks, it’s imperative that your group understand where potential failure points lurk. What if your end users return the wrong specification sheets? What if a floor coordinator is working remotely the day boxes and tape arrive? The risk assessment process enables you to spot these types of risks and develop contingencies within your relocation plan.
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