If moving to a new home is one of the most stressful things a person can endure, perhaps changing the location of the main office is just as difficult for an IT department.

TechRepublic member Adele Durr is anxious enough about her company’s move that she’s already begun planning its June 2003 departure. She posted a plea for help in TechRepublic’s Technical Q&A after she was asked to compile a preliminary checklist of issues that may come up during the move. She asked if anyone had a basic checklist to get her started.

No matter how stressful it is to change your business’s location, the fluctuating size of many companies has them on the move. It’s likely that IT consultants will be asked to help small IT departments with this monumental endeavor. To help make an office move easier, we decided to compile Durr’s suggestions and a few she received from TechRepublic members into a checklist.

Take a look at Durr’s preliminary list of issues and tell us what we’re missing. We’ll assemble your ideas and create a download template to help you make a trouble-free transition from one location to another.

Suggestions from a member with experience
Durr, who has been working in the IT industry for four years, has an office of 65 users and is in charge of everything that “plugs into a wall.” When she asked for help, Tim Walsh, a Local Systems Administrator for SPARTA, Inc., responded. He’s responsible for two of SPARTA, Inc.’s 17 offices: one in El Segundo, CA, and the other in Laguna Hills, CA. After six years in the IT industry, Walsh has performed three office moves. He said Durr has taken her first important step toward a successful move by beginning to think about the move early. He provided a list of the first questions Durr should ask herself when planning the move:

  • ·        Is the move local or is it far enough away that it cannot be accomplished over a weekend?
  • ·        Are there any business-critical processes that must remain operational throughout the move, with zero allowable downtime?
  • ·        Who will accomplish the move of critical network equipment—your IT department or a contracted mover?
  • ·        When will the move be accomplished—during normal business hours, overnight, or over a weekend?

If the move cannot be accomplished during nonbusiness hours, including time for reassembling and testing computers as well as network equipment, Durr may need to plan for providing services at both the old and new locations. This also applies to long-distance moves in which transportation alone may take several days or the move may be phased over a couple of weeks, and can have implications for both the network and phone systems.

“Your biggest challenge will be to make it possible for a critical employee…or employees to be able to shut down their computers the night before the move takes place and be able to sit down and pick up the phone to make a call or turn on the computer to get e-mail on the next possible day of business—and make it seem seamless to the employee,” Walsh said.

Prior to the move, Walsh said Durr should be sure that:

  • ·        All offices and work areas have sufficient, properly installed and tested network and phone connections.
  • ·        The phone service is connected and operational.
  • ·        Internet connections are installed and operational.
  • ·        She has a properly sized phone/cable closet with sufficient power outlets for all network devices; ideally, a centrally located one with dedicated 20-amp power circuits (vs. the standard 10-amp or 15-amp circuits).

These issues are vital to consider well in advance of the move because, for example, data and phone lines may need to be ordered as much as 90 days in advance of your “must have by” date.