To run a successful law firm– whether it’s a solo practice or a large firm– you’ll need to not only excel in the areas of law you’re practicing in, but also in all matters of running the practice itself. Running a legal practice comes with its own, unique set of challenges that even the most prepared lawyer setting out to start a new practice may find themselves overwhelmed with. I’m here to help make the job of running your law office just a little easier. Welcome back to Mike’s Office Management Tips.
— Mike Campbell
Whether you’re transitioning into a bigger office space or you’re starting your own law firm for the first time, it’s important to have a plan it place when it comes to making a big office move successful.
While moving your office might not sound like the most exciting or stress-free experience you could undertake, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before you start throwing things into boxes and breaking out the packing tap, let’s take a look at what you can do to make the big office move easier—starting with creating a game plan.
Planning and Organizing Your Move
Start by going through your current office. Depending on your situation, you may have a lot or a little to go through. Make note of what you want to keep, what you can donate or sell, and what is trash. To keep track of all of your items, consider making a spreadsheet. To protect your things and yourself during the move, make sure you have a record of items’ descriptions, estimated weights, fragility, and which room it is in and where it’s going.
As with any business, it’s crucial to have the tools you need. If you don’t have some of those tools, like a scanner and PDF editor, for example, it’s time to make the purchase before your new office is up and running. This way, you’ll have what you need to work with and for your clients.
The earlier you start packing, the more time you’ll have to decide what to bring to your new office, and what’s best left behind. You can also use that time to make sure your files are in order. Use moving as an opportunity to get rid of old files you no longer need or have your records digitized.
If staff or peers are moving with you, make sure you set a date for them to remove their personal items and pack up their individual workspaces.
Create a Check List
With everything that goes on when you’re moving offices, it’s important to know what needs to happen, and when. To ensure a successful move, you’ll want to make a pre-move checklist and moving day checklist.
While the checklists are detailed, it does not necessarily contain everything you need to keep track of prior to and during moving day. Using this checklist as a base while moving everything can assure that all the necessary details of relocating the office will be taken care of.
- Select personnel to oversee receipt of all moved items to the new office.
- Find movers and schedule the pickup of the old office furniture and drop off of the new pieces to the new quarters.
- Create moving guidelines, which should include details like proper practices for packing things like personal items, desk and file contents, office machines, and confidential or sensitive materials.
- Tag all furniture and equipment and use your spreadsheet to secure a delivery location to the new office.
- Take care to protect elevator cabs, walls, lobbies, and floors from damage during the move.
- Assign packing tasks, schedule packing, and distribute instructions to those responsible.
- Install directional and area identification signs in the new office.
- Arrange for the transfer of telephone and internet services.
- Establish a lost-and-found department at the new premises and ensure all firm personnel and movers know where it is.
- Establish food facilities and a break area during the move.
Moving Day Checklist
- Plan to have all firm supervisors report for briefing 30 minutes before the moving company arrives.
- Be sure all supervisors have name tags.
- Have a plan if bad weather prevails.
- Determine an approximate time of completion.
- Review the floor plan and determine when and where breaks will be taken.
- Have everything marked and packed, ready to go.
- Be sure the proper security is in place to protect sensitive documents, records, and data.
- Familiarize the supervisors with the building and facilities.
- Discuss any last-minute changes.
- Ensure the movers arrive at the proper location and have the access they need to move the furniture and equipment into the new office.
In addition to the checklists above, which focus on the physical move of your office, you’ll also want to notify the proper parties, like current and former clients, opposing counsel in all open matter, local courts, state and local bar associations, insurance companies, and banks of the change on address, telephone number, etc. Also remember to update your website, social media accounts, online and offline advertising, and form documents.
While the guidelines above can help you make a big office move successful, it’s important to remember to remain flexible throughout the moving process. Even the most carefully laid plans are subject to delays and increased costs. With advance planning, the above checklists, and a bit of luck, you’ll be moved into your new office space in no time.
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