Conversations around the “new normal” for office occupancy require commercial real estate tenants and owners to be aware of workforce trends. Security company, Kastle Systems, updates its Back to Work Barometer on a weekly basis, measuring office building access activity across 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses in 47 states, to consider the trends of American businesses returning to the office. As of June 2023, office occupancy hit nearly half-full rates post-pandemic (outside of expected holiday travel the week of July 4) and is on track to continue rising. The anonymized data shows that, as of the week ending July 19, 2023, there was a 50.2% average office occupancy across 10 of its biggest city hubs As more businesses move back to full-time occupancy or embrace hybrid work environments, they’ll look for ways to ensure employees feel safe and can be as productive as possible. It may mean moving their current office structure around, downsizing for space efficiency, or upsizing into a new building to accommodate company growth. Commercial real estate owners and tenants alike must collaborate on space planning and facility management to achieve success with returning to the office. Move management paves the way through the vital decision-making process for everyone to reap the benefits.
What is move management?
For offices, move management is the planning and execution of transitioning office work equipment, workspaces, and general office supplies and servers from one floor to another, or to a different building altogether.
8 steps and strategies for managing an office move
Move management is very similar to project management. You need a team capable of identifying the scope of work, clearly delegating tasks, and ensuring everyone follows the move process within the given timeframe.
It’s best to break the moving process into three key areas of focus: decision-making, planning the new space, and settling into the new space. Each area contains steps and strategies that will streamline your moving plans regardless of the size of the company.
Move management is driven by collaboration and transparency. Once C-suite and HR leaders decide on the new location and determine a timeframe for the move, it’s time to figure out who will manage the moving process and take the lead on further decision-making.
Step 1: Determine moving logistics against the timeline
Day one of the moving timeline begins as soon as business owners sign the dotted line for the new space. HR and department heads can then decide on what they need to ensure a successful move.
If you have a small team, for example, team members may be responsible for moving their workspaces. But if the move is happening without them, or if you’re a mid-to-large company, you most likely will hire third-party movers. If you are in the security, medical, or law industries, you most likely will delegate a trusted team member to transfer important client files themselves.
You also need to decide how to communicate and organize any information around the move across the company. Some organizations prefer tracking each team’s equipment with spreadsheets. If there’s concern around spreadsheets (or the company is so large that spreadsheets would feel too cumbersome), implement move management software. Move management software provides a central hub for the move, from providing checklists to tracking floor plans to sending email updates, that keeps everyone on the same page. You can also look into move management companies, who would lead the move management process for the entire business.
Step 2: Identify move management leaders
Managing an office move successfully depends on clear communication. Department heads make perfect senior move managers, as they already act as liaisons between their teams, HR, and the C-suite. Department leaders understand exactly what workspace configuration their team requires to work efficiently in the new office space. For example, sales teams and customer success managers should be close to conference rooms if prospects and clients are coming in for meetings. Engineers may desire more privacy to focus on building the product, so they may not thrive in the middle of an open-space floor plan.
Senior move managers can share ideas about the floor plan, alongside any move management process concerns, with HR and the C-suite, who will have final approval before officially planning the layout in the new space. The HR team and any operation managers will focus on ensuring successful transfer and setup of any telecommunication systems, as well as provide an outline on when to share new contact information with clients.
Planning the new office space
Many businesses may be upsizing or downsizing in their post-pandemic returns to the office. Planning the new space for full occupancy, a hybrid model, or visitation from remote team members or business stakeholders (like board members) is vital. While visiting the new space in person can be helpful, there are more efficient strategies that maximize saving time and keep everyone on the same page.
Step 3: Create a digital twin
2D floor plans alone are poor representations of how the current teams are laid out and what the new office will truly look like once workspaces are set up. You need to ensure everyone can clearly visualize themselves in the space. Get the most out of planning your new space with a digital twin.
Digital twins are navigable, photorealistic, and dimensionally accurate digital replicas that help everyone settle into the new office and focus on their tasks sooner. Commercial real estate owners can improve their tenants’ moving experience by sharing the digital twin of their office space through a unique view that lets them own and collaborate on their floor plans. Tenants can also create their own digital twin through their smartphone and the Matterport for Mobile App or collaborate with the building owners to find an approved real estate photographer who will capture the space with a Matterport camera and create the digital twin for them.
Step 4: Collaborate in the digital twin
Once the digital twin is available in the Matterport platform, you can take advantage of features that prioritize cross-collaboration between the senior move managers, HR, and any other stakeholders. These features include:
Measurement mode. Measure room sizes, doorways, and furniture to ensure you optimize each workstation so that everyone can work comfortably.
A measurement of a desk in the commercial office at JLL Chicago.
Tags. Mattertags allow you to track inventory, such as furniture and workstations with employees’ names. You can also tag conference rooms, collaboration areas, and any hot desks with a booking link for hybrid offices.
A Mattertag describing fully furnished desks in the commercial office at JLL Chicago.
Notes. Use notes to plot ideas and updates, such as basic configuration details like the number of desks or adding plants for an aesthetic touch to the entryways. You can share notes internally or with any vendors, and track conversations and final decisions within the notes as well.
Views. Whoever owns the digital twin can display different collections of tags and notes within different views. This enables different users to see different callouts that are relevant for them. Commercial real estate owners can maintain one view for property marketing, a separate view for space planning collaboration with tenants, and another view for new tenant orientation and training. Tenants and business owners can also share particular views with move planners, who require details, and employees once the space is ready to occupy.
View options for touring commercial offices and outdoor plaza at JLL Chicago.
Step 5: Consolidate all notes and apply them to the office
Leading into the actual move day, move managers should lead a meeting with team members to address the moving plans and any concerns. They will consolidate any notes, discussions, and decisions, share them with the C-suite, and apply approved notes to the real office space. Move managers are also responsible for taking inventory of all equipment and labeling them by department and employee name.
Step 6: Share the corporate move plan with the movers
Move managers lead the communication with any movers assisting in the physical move. Share any moving prep and day-of plans with the moving team, and ensure they have reference points and someone to discuss workspace setup with throughout the move. While the digital twin is a strong reference point, it’s helpful to offer copies of the 2D floor plan throughout the office as a reference as well. When capturing a digital twin, you can order a schematic floor plan that will appear in the Matterport app within 48 hours.
Settling into the new office space
The moving process is almost over as everyone settles into the new space. Move managers can help facilitate settling in by discussing the process with employees and observing how everyone functions in the new space.
Step 7: Check the functionality of telecommunications systems and floor plans
Day one at the new office space requires everyone to check and confirm that their equipment connects to the Internet, and that all telecommunication systems are functioning properly. Hybrid office spaces operate with an agile work environment, which requires open seating and flexibility as team members come and go. HR and department leaders will communicate about and double-check the workspace booking system to ensure seamless booking and entry for teams as they visit the office.
Step 8: Review the office move management process
Move managers should discuss the moving process with team members to find out what went well and what could have been better communicated or clarified. They will then share any feedback with HR and the C-suite to consider, especially if feedback revolves around improvements to the current floor plan. Commercial real estate owners should also follow up with tenants about their moving experience so that future tenants on other floors can benefit from any learnings experienced during the move management collaboration.
Scan before you make the final plan with Matterport
With so many literal and figurative moving parts, move management services rely on efficiency. Commercial real estate owners and tenants can save ample time with Matterport Capture Services. A Matterport Capture Services professional is available on-demand in 700+ cities around the world to scan commercial real estate properties, which you can then view, annotate, and share from your Matterport cloud account within 24-48 hours. With the digital twin, commercial real estate owners can market the office space to new tenants, and help tenants with space planning once they sign a lease.
Discover how managing an office move can be a truly stress-free, collaborative process by running your questions by Matterport. Start here today.