A year and a half ago, my business associates and I were forced to locate to a new office. The mobile phone tower that the previous landlord had so thoughtfully installed only inches above our heads meant that we had to sadly bid adieu to our old office of 15 years and begin our search for a new place to run our business.

Once our notice to vacate was lodge for our old office, we headed off in a desperate bid to find a suitable replacement. After inspecting our new office briefly, we signed on the dotted line, only to realise that the former tenants had removed all wiring including the phone system and left us with basically a useless shell.

My only excuse for missing this was, who would have expected that you could rent an office with no data connections or phone wiring?

Fortunately, after some recommendations, we were lucky enough to recruit some professional assistance for our data, phone and switchboard through Direct Point Electrical.

The situation has motivated me to look at other areas which can be potential hidden time bombs or easily forgotten traps for those relocating into new premises.

Electrical checklist

Asking a few pertinent questions about the office before signing a contract, can save you a great deal of grief down the track.  If there are any issues as outlined below, rectify them before moving furnishings or staff in for simplicity and safety.

  • Are there enough power points and are they in the suitably positioned?
  • Is there a phone system in place? Are there enough handsets for each staff member?
  • Is there a security system with operating instructions and a PIN number?
  • Is there air conditioning and heating and are they in good working order?
  • Are all the equipment and connections in place to seamlessly establish your WiFi?
  • Are the hardwired smoke alarms in good working order?
  • If the premises is equipped with CCTV, is it functioning?

If you find the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above, call in some electrical expertise immediately to prevent any disruption to the smooth running of your office.

Addressing Readdressing

Another lesson I learned was the benefit of directing all our mail to a P.O. box.

For days on end my valuable time was taken up, contacting suppliers, clients, banks, insurance agents and the list goes on.

Never again will I put our office’s physical address on stationery or business cards!

The boxes of envelopes, letterhead stationery and business cards I had in our store room immediately became worthless, as they carried the incorrect physical address.  The street address of our office henceforth belongs only on email signatures and our website.

Signage

One area that is often overlooked when setting up a new office is signage.  As I mention below; signage for parking areas, as well as doors and reception areas, is ideal.  Get this sorted before you take up residence.

It may be difficult for suppliers, visitors and clients to find the new office at the best of times. Don’t make it even more difficult, by having the name of some other business on your parking spots and doors.

Partitioning

Many offices, especially new ones, will lack suitable partitioning.

Getting your office design and layout sorted early will save the disruption caused to your business having to retrospectively sort this our down the track.

Seriously consider flexible partitioning which can be moved and adapted to suit changes of staff or changes in office dynamics.

Parking

If I had my time over again, one huge ‘must have’ would go on my checklist – easy parking. Whilst our new office has ample underground parking, we only have two parking spots close by our entry, upstairs. Unfortunately, as parking is in short supply throughout the office block, we constantly get visitors to other offices parking in our guest parking.

This issue has forced me to become quite militant about our parking spaces and I have invested in bollards and signs to help overcome the problem. Do yourself a favour and address this contentious issue before taking up residence.

These few risks have only scratched the surface of the myriad of pitfalls which are waiting to trip up the unsuspecting newcomer.  Hopefully, my anecdote will at least put you on guard that sometimes things are not as they seem. Making a checklist and doing your due diligence can save you time, money and a world of stress!

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