Moving a NY based company office and showroom was a challenging and exciting endeavor
It doesn’t matter if you are moving an office cross country or just a few blocks away, the experience poses challenges that are both physical to the new space and emotional to your work force.
Planning for Each of our Core Teams
This weekend capped off the finale to my first time being a part of the management of moving my company—and I would have to say it was as successful as could be expected. It’s truly unbelievable the kind of planning and effort involved to clear out large office spaces and showrooms and be fully operational in a new space within a matter of 48 hours.
This project started over the summer when we first started to look for new office/showroom space.
Our lease would be up at the end of this month (November) and renewing it was out of the question at its highly increased rate—our current building would not budge on that—so off we went to look for a new space. In my long 15 year career with my company, we’ve gone through about 5 moves and every time.
All that was asked of me was to pack up my belongings at the end of the week, move a few things over and show up on Monday to unpack and get back to work. This time at my senior level position, I was asked to help scout out new spaces and provide feedback about the pros and cons to each option.
I also worked through the new layout of employees in the space and the choices for construction, materials, and finishes that would be included in the budget.
I really had no idea what this experience would be like. My current NY office consists of 20 designers, 9 on the sales force, 5 production and I.T., and 2 company presidents—for a total of 36 people that we would need to relocate into the space.
The objectives for the new space
Initially when we settled on the space that we would lease, we were provided with an inclusive budget to build out our space and within this amount, it would be close to enough to do everything we wanted.
The new space definitely seemed quite spacious enough to accommodate our current employees and working needs, but as we started to lay out the workspace and common rooms—we were at a point of potentially acquiring 2 companies.
In the end, we acquired only one of the companies, but it still added another 6 more people to the mix and they required a large amount of space to accommodate a separate showroom and a large sample making room which meant we had to transition over 3 main offices and 2 cubicles to support the new company.
This changed the whole layout from where we had started. We would now have to begin a process of editing down what we would be able to bring over to our new showroom with this new limited amount of space for everyone.
We started to give everyone an early heads up to start purging any product that was not needed so that we wouldn’t be stuck at the last minute having to do everything at once.
Getting thru each overwhelming moment of the build
Before we started the demo, we went through the space and marked all that would stay and all that would go out as garbage.
The previous company had left certain things behind that we would use—cubicles, furniture, shelving, etc. It may sound crazy, but the large office buildings in NY charge a fortune to remove large structure garbage out of offices so it’s best to really evaluate what you want to keep at your previous office and at a new space to try and keep costs down.
As the initial demo work started to happen, it became much easier to see how things would lay out and to also make some changes based on what we could see would be natural traffic patterns for work flow.
The demo and the build of walls took a big chunk of time so this was a point when I would come into the space once daily just to see the progress. At this point we had a general floor plan that we could start to modify and lay out our game plan for all employees, work spaces and common spaces.
Once we moved past this point to desk and shelving builds, showroom bays and racking, carpets, trimming, paint, etc.—it was helpful to show up morning, afternoon, and evening to see the progress and make sure all was exactly as requested. There were many times that changes needed to be made or a detail wasn’t quite correct so it was helpful to check in regularly.
Streamlining Common Working Areas
Showrooms get pared down
The major areas that required heavy construction work would be our common working areas—design rooms, showrooms, conference rooms. The biggest work orders were breaking down existing walls, building new walls, building out these common spaces, re-aligning the front entry, installing glass walls and doors at the new entry, new electric lines for the modified walls, carpeting, wood floor finishing, shelving, rack space, new set-ups for improved I.T. requirements, and all new exterior and interior signage…..
The showroom areas needed much attention to be able to handle all of our types of product—ladies, children, men, contemporary, junior, and branded apparel lines—it was a lot to fit into a smaller showroom space. This area was thought through over and over again as we needed a well functioning showroom that didn’t feel crammed tight and had good traffic flow.
We also needed a secondary showroom space for our newly acquired company. We needed multiple access entries to the showrooms—more customer friendly entrances from our beautiful new reception area and some more subtle access points for design and sales to get in and out.
We needed to build out bays of rack space and distribute it to all of our teams so that they could all have their own sections of apparel to manage. We would also have to get everyone to help edit down the product that we currently had in our showrooms.
I think that in the bigger picture of having to streamline product down, it actually turned into a change for the best. We needed to better manage our product, know what we have, use it on a regular basis—and get rid of anything not serving a purpose.
It is a similar thing that happens as it does in our own homes—if you have more space, yes—you manage to fill it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it ‘s better to have more—you just have more stuff.
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