They say a house move is one of the most stressful things you can endure and an office move can’t be far behind. But it needn’t be – with a little forward planning.

If you’re planning to move office, you’d be wise to allocate plenty of time to making careful preparations way in advance.

Relocating premises can be a complicated mission, demanding months of careful planning. There are some key deadlines to look out for to ensure phone lines and Internet services arrive in the new location before you do and you’ll be keen to strike the right balance between your current needs and how these might expand into the future.

Naturally, you cannot take your eye off of the day job during this period, but you need to ensure you are fully operational by the time you set foot in your new offices.

[themecolor]We can help take the strain[/themecolor]

For small businesses with limited staff resources, dedicating the necessary man hours to ensure everything runs to plan is not an easy task. That’s why many firms entrust this project management to their IT support companies.

Your main priority will be to avoid any downtime, ensuring IT systems and telephone lines are ready for staff to work efficiently from day one. There is usually more to consider than you might think, so we’ve prepared a checklist below.

1. Telephones and internet

If you require new phone lines to be installed, bear in mind that BT can sometimes offer lengthy lead times, so you’ll need to start thinking about this at least two months before the move.

We’ll need to check out broadband availability in your new area. Will the available services satisfy your requirements? In extreme cases, the lack of adequate broadband services may even sway your choice of location. Speeds can vary dramatically between areas, so if heavy internet usage is vital to your operations or you have staff who work remotely or use VoIP, a leased line may be needed to guarantee bandwidth. It can take up to 65 days for BT to provide a leased line internet connection so, once again, this option needs to be explored as early as possible.

2. Network cabling

Establish what network cabling is already in place and plan whether this needs to be topped up. Will your needs be the same in a year’s time? Further down the line you may have additional staff, or decide to change your office layout, so don’t forget to make provision for this now.

3. Test in advance

Moving day will be stressful enough without walking in to find something isn’t working correctly. Don’t leave it until the day you arrive to test phone, fax and internet lines – plan some time to do this in advance so you can iron out any issues at your leisure.

4. Transporting your hardware

Give ample thought to how you will move your hardware to your new location. Ensure you use appropriate packaging in order to transport all equipment without the risk of damage. Provide labels to your staff for their hardware so you’ll be able to easily identify what equipment belongs on which desk as the unpacking begins at the other end.