silicon valley office

Office Moving Checklist & Strategy: Silicon Valley

Office Moving Checklist & Strategy: Silicon Valley

Aug 20, 2019
Shane Minnis

silicon valley commercial real estate broker

Welcome to MinnisCRE where you’ll experience a boots-on-the-ground perspective of Silicon Valley commercial real estate from a broker’s vantage point – consider me your personal broker.

In case we haven’t met, my name is Shane Minnis and I specialize in providing leasing, selling and consulting services to corporate real estate occupiers, tenants and real estate investors in the Silicon Valley with a focus on office, R&D and industrial assets.

We recently completed our San Jose/Silicon Valley office relocation at Colliers and conveniently I’m kicking off the MinnisCRE blog…. What better topic for my first blog post – moving and change are usually a hassle and get mixed reactions, but also offer new opportunities!

This got me thinking… one idea we could have leveraged throughout our move process was developing marketing campaigns around our move. So why not utilize this as my first blog topic – leverage our move as an opportunity to create a value piece that you can leverage in your next office move!

With our own move experience still fresh in mind, I thought I’d share several highlights and tips that could be applied to your next move. Some of these highlights and tips we utilized, which I thought worked great! While others could have been implemented better or weren’t incorporated at all…

I’m all about learning and improving, so what follows is a pre-move planning and coordination strategy along with a downloadable office moving checklist that I hope will be helpful for your next office move!

Interested in current Silicon Valley market conditions? Download the report here.

General Considerations

At this point you should have secured your new location… or at least be well into the process of securing it.  For us, the new location was 225 W. Santa Clara Street on the 10th floor in downtown San Jose.

Before you dive into the details of the move process, the general considerations you’ll want to get in order are 1) your move team; 2) define important milestones and critical elements; and 3) develop your budget.

1) Move Team: This will consist of both your internal and external teams.

  • Internal Move Planning Teams – typically include representatives from IT, HR, operations, facilities, office and/or department managers, etc. It is important to incorporate cross department communication to develop an efficient and effective move plan that takes into consideration all aspects of your company and will ensure better adoption of your move plan. Additionally, it is important to evaluate and determine tasks that can be delegated internally. For example, brokers and employees were responsible for packing up their own desk/office along with bringing home their personal belongings.
  • External Move Planning Teams – are made up of third-party vendors and service providers to support your internal move planning team. In our office move we enlisted the services of a professional moving company, document shredding service and general contractor; to name a few.

2) Milestones/ Critical Elements: To develop an effective and efficient move plan, you’ll want to evaluate your key milestones and identify critical elements to your business in order to avoid costly disruptions. Key milestones typically need to happen in a critical path order and will often include:

  • Buildouts & tenant improvements
  • Equipment & critical elements
  • IT infrastructure decommissioning & set up
  • Furniture install & delivery
  • Existing facility requirements & responsibilities
  • Official move date – however, if your company is on the larger side, then you may want to evaluate “phasing” the move to minimize impact on business operations.

Critical elements are fundamental items to your business, if they are missing, damaged or not operational then it will greatly impact your ability to conduct business. These items typically require extra attention to detail, are difficult/expensive to replace, repair or relocate and may have longer lead times; and therefore, must be identified early in the move process in order to plan effectively. Supplemental consultants, personnel, permits or certifications may even be required.

For us, our IT infrastructure was a critical element as it supports multiple offices so this had to be planned for well in advance to minimize disruption.

3) Budget: Determine your internal preliminary move budget – to be measured against bids from professional vendors and your moving plan/office moving checklist.

Checklist & Logistics

Once you have refined your general considerations, noted above, then you’ll want to get into the logistics for further detail in order to effectively communicate and execute on your move plan. I’d recommend that you develop a detailed moving plan and checklist as a single working document that organizes your move with timelines, responsible parties, budget, etc.

  • Office Moving Checklist – I don’t want to bore you with too many details regarding office moving logistics, so feel free to leverage the MinnisCRE Office Moving Checklist as a starting point, which can be downloaded and refined as needed by clicking the link.


In my personal opinion, communication is the key element to ease the stress and concerns of your team. As well as the key element to leverage your office move to be an opportunity to shine, as opposed to just being an operational necessity. This is an area where we did some things well, but there is always room for improvement… which is why I’m sharing these insights with you!

At this point, you have addressed your general considerations and defined the logistics of your move. These items are fundamental to an efficient move process and effective communication strategy.  Now leverage your work on these items to develop your internal and external communication strategies as follows:

1) Internal Communication: Employee retention and attraction is a fundamental concern of most companies in the Silicon Valley. So why not leverage your office move as an opportunity to shine in this area, as opposed to an operational necessity, by establishing an internal communications plan for employees that does just that. Consider the following for your internal communication strategy:

  • Initial Move Announcement – this is your first official announcement to your employees regarding your office move. As a result, your initial move announcement should be comprehensive – providing everything employees need to know upfront to ease any stress and concern that will come from the announcement of this transition.
  • Employee Questions, Comments, Etc. – develop a plan for handling employee questions, comments, etc. This plan will account for your initial move announcement and going forward, that way you will be  prepared for the flurry of questions and comments that follow. Then, as questions come in, develop a FAQ’s document for future reference.
  • Employee Engagement – employee engagement is key, therefore, talk to your employees and gather feedback so they are engaged, supportive and excited about the move. Also, don’t solely rely on digital communication – in-person communication and engagement will be very impactful during this transition and will set you and your company apart from the competition.
  • Ongoing Employee Communication – determine a frequency that works for you, that aligns with key milestones.

You’ll want to communicate regularly with employees to address questions/concerns as they arise and to keep employees informed. Although, some words of caution – if you can’t address questions/concerns reasonably and quickly, then your employees will fill this void with the worst-case scenario, which your competitors will happily provide solutions for…

2) External Communication: External communication is the second part of the communication equation, which is made up of 1) your external move planning team; and 2) your customers, suppliers and other 3rd parties involved in your business. Consider the following for your external communication strategy:

  • Move Vendor Communication – if you want to ensure a seamless move, then you’ll want to hold regular meetings and maintain ongoing communication with your external move planning team. This is important in order to make this transition as organized and hassle-free as possible.
  • Public Relations – it’s important to let others know about your new location, but don’t stop there! Leverage your new location, the move experience, and your move team to retain and recruit talent and get your company’s name and values in front of people.
  • Marketing, Advertising & Business Correspondence Materials – update these items with upcoming move details, your new location and contact information to avoid any breakdowns and to communicate a clear message to the market.
  • External Party Notification – develop lists of any and all parties involved with your company and provide notification of the move – including new address, contact information, date of move, etc. This would also be a good opportunity for you to leverage these lists for customized marketing campaigns now and in the future.

Office Moving: Ending Thoughts

Moving and change create a state of temporary chaos that challenges the norm and status quo of everyone in your company. It is inherently human to find comfort in what you know and falls into your daily tradition, while fearing the unknown – which more commonly refers to fear of how the new changes may affect you and what you care about.

This creates opportunity for those who prepare and adapt early to change. So rather than slip into temporary chaos while moving, being hopeful and holding your breath until the dust settles…

Assemble an experienced broker and team of vendors that can help you control the chaos that is moving; so your company is well prepared to hit the ground running after moving day to take advantage of new opportunities, while easing the stress and concerns of your team.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Colliers International. The information furnished has been obtained from sources I deem reliable and is submitted subject to errors, omissions and changes. Although I have no reason to doubt its accuracy, I do not guarantee it. All information should be verified by the recipient prior to lease, purchase, exchange, or execution of legal documents.