As we have previously mentioned on our blog, Allied Telecom has recently moved our office from Washington, D.C. to Crystal City in Arlington, VA. When moving a business our size (we currently have 75 employees), there is certainly the potential for many things to go wrong, but in our case the move went very well.
Just in case any of our clients are considering moving their own businesses in the near future, we thought we’d share some of the things we did that made our transition as easy as it was.
We had specific goals in mind.
Although the main driving force behind our move was the increasing cost of rent in our old building, another very important consideration was that the office space we were in no longer supported our team’s workflow. There was not enough space for people to meet and work together, and that was hindering our productivity. We wanted to move to a location that would not only give us more space at a lower cost, but also strike a better balance between open space for collaboration and personal space for people who need to work in a private environment. By deciding what our goals were before we started looking for a new space, we were able to really narrow our search.
We found a great broker.
Once we knew what we were looking for, we needed someone who could help us find it. We were very fortunate to connect with one of the best brokers in the area, The Ezra Company, who took the time to understand our vision. They were able to help us find a location that not only fit our budget and that we could customize for our workflow needs, but that also made commuting easy for our employees.
Thanks to our broker, we were able to negotiate a very favorable lease that included a budget for tenant improvement, in addition to being 25% less per square foot than our previous location. Our broker also introduced us to OTJ Architects, a Washington D.C. –based firm that specializes in designing better, smarter workplaces that allow people to work strategically, flexibly and with a better quality of life. They interviewed our staff and managers to get a good understanding of our workflow so that they could design a space to accommodate it. Over the course of many sessions with them, we settled on a design that met our needs perfectly and that we were very excited about.
We moved to the cloud first.
One of the things that made the actual process of physically moving our company from one location to another was that our entire data center was in the cloud. This eliminated many of the concerns about equipment being damaged and operations being disrupted that companies with traditional data centers must deal with.
In our case, it was literally a matter of having employees pack up their phones and plug them in at our new location—we didn’t even have to change our phone numbers. Thanks to our cloud-based operation, what could have been one of the most complicated and cumbersome parts of moving a business turned out to be one of the easiest.
In fact, the entire moving process from start to finish went about as smoothly as we could have hoped. Although there is always risk involved when moving a business, by using a methodical and well-planned approach those risks can be minimized, and at least in our most recent experience the rewards have already been well worth it.
Kathy Moore is Allied’s Chief Financial Officer and orchestrated many of the elements of the recent move from Washington, D.C. to Crystal City in Arlington, VA.