We’ve been involved with a bunch of office moves so we consider ourselves pretty knowledgeable on this subject. At first glance you might think that moving your law firm would be a piece a cake but there are so many things that people overlook that cause your firm to lose time and money. Let’s face it, depending on the size of your firm, the move may take a few days, so in the name of maximizing productivity, you have to do this on a Friday or Thursday so you have the weekend just in case issues come up. Plan your office move during a span of two weeks where you don’t have any heavy work, remember, your network will be down anywhere between 1 and 3 days.
One thing that most firms overlook when they move offices is internet provider availability. Today in New Jersey we have Cablevision, Comcast & Fios. You should always move to a place that supports Fios, this is because Fios does not operate under the same territory rules as Comcast & Cablevision. Cablevision cannot be in a Comcast area and vise versa, but Fios can be in either without an issue. If you find that your internet connection is dropping or may be a bit slow, being in a Fios territory gives you the ability to have an option for your internet service instead of being forced to use whoever owns your territory. We have clients that need more speed but can’t have it due to Comcast limitations. If they would have listened to us, they would have had another option. You may think of this as not a very important factor but we consider it almost as important as your lease agreement. Comcast goes down often, Cablevision not so much but has its problems. Fios doesn’t really go down at all. For large firms with an internet failover system, having these options are the best. Without Fios as a backup you would be forced to have and expensive T1 line or crappy DSL.
We’ve found that offices move differently depending on their budget. Some use moving services like Lowy’s while others take a more hands on approach. A more hands on approach consists of people moving their own things including their computers leaving only desks and furniture for the moving people. In this case, people are responsible for their own items. For the firms with a larger budget, the moving people take care of everything, color code or label each box and move it all; you may only be responsible for unhooking each PC and removing any cables. The re-setup in your new office kinda turns into a setup party; it’s actually a good time to hang out with your staff in a non-work environment. People are doing work, but not office work, putting away files, stocking rooms, in many ways, it’s a bonding experience if you let it be and it can be fun. The office environments that we see are often strangers working together, office moves bring these stranger together due to people needing help, asking questions, eating lunch together, things like that.
One thing that’s always annoying is if your ordering new furniture or cubes for your staff; make sure you get with your I.T. person for network jack placement. Firms often buy new cubes and let the I.T. guy know after they are already installed. This makes it hard to map out network locations and run lines within the cube access panels so that the users of the cube have access to the network.
If you’re moving and have a traditional technology infrastructure like servers and switches make sure that your new location has a cool room for all your technology. Servers need to stay cool especially in the summer. A small room with an air conditioner is best. Think of this as an investment, under cool conditions, your server will last longer. Also, make sure the server is off the floor. Computers and servers that sit on the floor tend to collect much more dust than those up higher. Sit it on a cinderblock if you have to; just make sure it’s off the floor.