Setting up a new office can be a great experience for any business. We help clients move offices and setup new sites on a regular basis. There are without doubt always challenges when moving. Businesses are completely dependent on technology to keep the wheels in motion.

So what are the most common mistakes to be avoided at all costs when setting up a new office or relocating?

Every business big or small should be thinking about their IT well before they sign the lease and well before the move date. We have compiled a list of the most common issues and mistakes we see when businesses setting up a new office.

15 common IT mistakes to avoid when setting up a new office

Internet availability

This one is always overlooked when setting up a new office. Someone finds an office they like and Internet is often always an after thought upon signing the lease. Businesses can be surprised when they find out their building doesn’t have any good options available. Fibre isn’t available, their building is a long way from the exchange. They often have to resort to slow copper solutions because when they find out fibre is going to cost $10 000 or maybe $100 000 or more to have their building connected this isn’t within their budget.

Communications not ready on time

Communications installations will always take longer than the telecommunications company expects. Depending on your requirements this could take weeks or many months. You may find your building doesn’t have the right infrastructure in place and additional installations need to take place involving multiple communications companies and your electrician or cabling company. Someone needs to manage all of these vendors because they often don’t communicate well between each other trying to meet their busy schedules.

Communications contingency plans

Always have a contingency plan if your Internet and phones won’t be ready. People often don’t have a contingency plan in place when they relocate. What happens if the Internet isn’t up or is having outages that are not yet resolved? Make sure you get multiple links installed or have a fall back to delay the relocation. Maybe a cheaper link as a backup might be a good idea they can be aggregated together as a fail over.

Internal cabling

The wrong type of cabling was installed or there isn’t enough cabling. Employees will need at least one Cat6 Ethernet cable or sometimes they will need multiple. VoIP phones can have a switch in the back of them enabling you to plug a computer into your phone. What other devices need Internet? Your video conference system or your meeting rooms?

Existing cabling

We see this one all the time. A company is moving from one office to another and they aren’t planning on doing a new fit out. They plan on using the existing cabling, they check out the rack in the cabinet or the data center and all looks like it’s in order.

It’s likely there are problems existing with the cabling. There might be cables which have been cut to remove equipment by the previous tenant. There might be cables missing from workstations or in meeting rooms. Cables aren’t running to the location you wanted to setup the printer. It’s possible there are faulty cables and the previous tenant decided that they didn’t want to fix them because they were about to move. Best to test and make sure you have a good floor plan.

Floor plans

Someones there’s a floor plan available and sometimes you might have to have one made. Floor plans are invaluable. Do everything you can to have one available and one that is accurate.

Air conditioning and power

Racks, server rooms and data centers need cool air and lots of power. Make sure you capacity plan well. Be weary of older buildings. They might have been built before everyone had a computer on their desk and a datacenter full of infrastructure. This means they might not have enough power running into the building. You might need to engage your utility company to resolve this.

When to move your services

If you have a huge number of services and servers to move you might decide to move some earlier and connect the new office to the old office via a VPN to make those services available. You might decide it’s a good time to move some of your systems to the cloud.

As a word of warning we would always advise if you are planning on moving some services to the cloud or to a hosted environment to have it done and dusted well before the actual move date. The last thing you want to do is introduce new problems during the move. Your IT team already has more on their plate than they can handle.

Never make assumptions

One mistake i have learned from is “never make assumptions”. If there is a huge dependence on something and you take someone’s word for it what could the impact of that be? “Telstra said the internet is up and working”, someone needs to check it before you move. If you turn up and 100 staff can’t work how many thousands of dollars will this cost the business while it takes Telstra 5 days to fix it after you have already moved.

Upgrade or change out infrastructure

This idea comes up all the time, “we are moving what a great time to change out that server” or “won’t it be easy to re engineer a system”. When you move there are all sorts of problems that might happen during the move that will need to be dealt with. It’s not a good time to make big changes while there is a lot less stability.

Access to backup equipment

What happens if the truck that is carrying all of your infrastructure to the new location crashes or a whole pile of servers fall off a trolley when they are being loaded onto the truck. Or what about a very critical switch or router you might have. Do you have a plan in place to obtain a replacement in time for the team to be operational on time? Can you split your IT gear across a number of trucks?

Under specifying or reusing equipment that was designed for a much smaller office

The WiFi works in the current office so it will work in the new office right? But the new office is twice the size and is located in a high density area with much more interference. This is a common mistake.

Communication is the key

When setting up a new office keep your team up to date at all stages. When things are on track and when things are completely off the rails. Either way people want to know where things are at. A new office or a business relocation has a huge impact on a business and it’s team. The team not only from a business perspective need to be informed but from a personal perspective they need to make new arrangements for the new location, different transport, new day care and so on.

Keeping the communication channels up when things aren’t on track also allows the other key stakeholders in the business make new decisions about other key areas in the business which you may not be across.

Underestimate costs and budgets

This is probably one of the biggest variables in any relocation as things often can not run to plan or on time. Make sure you think about every possible problem, requirement and every department in the business has had their needs addressed and signed off on.

We see it happen all the time, a business moves in and they hadn’t clearly thought through one area of their operations or process and they find after a few weeks they need to make changes already. This can be avoided if you plan, and make your team responsible.

Making someone responsible for everything

There are countless aspects to a business relocation. Make sure you have someone who is responsible for every aspect of your business. Again don’t make any assumptions. Make use of project management software or use spreadsheets and have clearly defined guide on who is responsible.

Need help with your IT and setting up a new office?
Speak to the experienced team at Stanfield IT on 1300 910 333