Ten Tips for A Small Office Move in New York City

New York City

We understand that moving an office in New York City requires special consideration and lots of planning. As New Yorkers, we love the action, vibrancy and diversity that our city offers, but we know it comes with a price. Everything is a little tougher to do here. Small offices—up to 10,000 square feet with a staff of 3 to 50 people—represent the majority of office space in New York City.  At Office Furniture Heaven, our team has been furnishing and designing offices in New York for over 30 years, and we’re experts at helping businesses small and large move offices.  If that includes you, we hope this list will help ease your moving process.

1. Retain Trusted Advisors—Real Estate Broker & Attorney

The New York City real estate market is known throughout the world to be treacherous. Landlords in our town are a rare breed and you must be well represented. Your two key trusted advisors are your Real Estate Broker and your Attorney. It’s best to begin working with your Real Estate broker 24 months prior to your anticipated move date. Your broker should be intimately familiar with your company’s space needs, business growth objectives and your budget, and should have experience with companies of your size and the locations in which you are interested. Fortunately, the cost to pay the broker is completely paid by the landlord.

Once you are close to finalizing an office space, you will need to retain an attorney to counsel you. Find one that specializes in, or has a lot of experience with, NYC lease negotiations. New York City leases get done in their own unique way, so an expert in this arena will save you and your company a lot of time and stress.

2. Create a Budget

Early in the process, you’ll need to create a realistic budget. Anticipate the following move-related expenses

  • legal fees
  • architectural and design fees
  • construction/tenant improvements
  • phone and data cabling
  • new computer system or adaptation of existing system
  • new phone system
  • new furniture, refinishing or reupholstery of existing furniture
  • new stationery/collateral
  • signage
  • decorative accessories
  • moving company
  • cleaning and disposal of unused contents and furnishings from existing space

We always recommend a 10-20% overage allowance–everything is expensive in New York.

3. Choose an Architect, Interior Designer or Office Furniture Dealer

Retaining the right design professional for your move will make the process easier on your team, more efficient, less expensive in the long run and result in a better looking and more effective work environment. Here are some things to consider as you decide on the right design professional for your New York small office move.

  • Will you be doing a significant amount of construction—building and moving walls, putting in a new air conditioning system, renovating or building bathrooms?
  • Is this a complete build out?
  • Are you moving into a “Class A” building?
  • Does the building require a union contractor?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then you’ll most likely need to retain an architect who will file all drawings and attain all permits. The right architect will not only create an outstanding design but will be a vital trusted advisor. When leasing pre-built space, often the landlord will provide the architect. Remember, the landlord’s architect will likely be primarily concerned with satisfying the landlord before you, the tenant. Consider consulting with a design advocate to assist you with creating the office design that fits your company’s needs.

  • Do you want your office space to convey a certain style?
  • Does your new space have some complex design requirements?
  • Is your new space built out but lacks character?
  • Are there a lot of design decisions necessary prior to your move and your firm doesn’t have the staff to dedicate to the project?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you may want to consider hiring, and budgeting for, a professional interior designer.

  • Are you moving into space that is already built-out?
  • Does the space feel right but just needs a little help.

Often, small office space in NYC is pre-built, meaning the building owner has done most of the work for you before you move in. Sometimes the simplicity of working with an experienced office furniture dealership like Office Furniture Heaven can streamline the design and furnishing process. We have the expertise offer valuable support to you and your team, and coordinate among contractors, designers, and other professionals to ensure that your move is a smooth, efficient process.

4. Create a Floor Plan

Very often, the landlord will provide a basic plan at no charge. Ideally the plan should be drawn to scale. Your floor plan will help you map out all critical information such as furniture placement, the layout of the electric wiring, voice and data locations, where each employee will sit, and file and storage locations. This will be your ‘go to’ document as you progress from initial design concept to the final move-in.

5. Prepare Staff

Communication is key. Your company has to continue to operate at the same time as the office move process is going on. An office move, like change in general, can be unsettling for many office workers. The move is a great opportunity to affect positive change, however, improving morale, business performance and employee comfort. As there are many moving parts, you’ll want to keep the lines of communication open, with regular staff updates to let everyone know what’s going on.

6. Create a New Look for your Company—Rethink Graphics, Branding Collateral

The right design of your new office can provide a wonderful opportunity to uplift the moral of your staff and create a great environment for you to collaborate and meet with clients and partners. Don’t miss the chance. With a little forethought and planning you can use the opportunity to create a productive and exciting work environment. Establish a theme, and design your space to reflect your company’s image—perhaps integrating your corporate colors. You’ll need to redo your stationary and business cards to update your change of address, so why not use this opportunity to update your branding image as well.

7. Integrate New Technology and Systems

Most small businesses move, on average, once every seven years. Your move provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate new technology and telephone integration. Review your systems and explore the latest available technology with your service providers. Some upfront spending can often provide savings in the long run through technological efficiency.

8.Re-use, Recycle and Upcycle

Chances are there is a lot of excess paper, equipment and extraneous stuff that has accumulated in your office over the years. Use the move as an opportunity to recycle or dispose of the outdated and unused. It’s also very likely that you have quite a few pieces of furniture that you consider useless or of which you’ve tired. Have a design professional take a look. Often, your old pieces can be refinished or cleaned to integrate into, and look great in, your new space.

9. Hire a Good Mover

Retain a professional, insured, office mover, well versed in New York City office moving. The right mover will help your staff label all contents and provide all of the necessary moving materials. Make sure to be familiar with the move hours and policies of your existing and new space. Have a conversation with the management of your new building to see if they require union workers, as this will significantly affect the cost of your move.

10. Relax

You have assembled a great team and are well prepared. Anticipate that some things won’t go exactly as planned, but you are ready. With the assistance of your experts, the move will get done efficiently and effectively. Before you know it, everyone will settle into their new space and your staff will be more productive, comfortable and happy in their new office environment.

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