It's Time to Move - by June Carter

The economy has been good to your company. You have outgrown your space, forcing your employees to practically sit on top of each other. The obvious solution is to get more space, buy new furniture, ...

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The economy has been good to your company. You have
outgrown your space, forcing your employees to practically sit
on top of each other. The obvious solution is to get more space, buy
new furniture, move your staff and live happily ever after.
Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

Questions arise:
Do you consider a new facility, renovate your existing space
or relocate to a developed space?
Where do you turn for planning and design assistance?
How do you determine the best type of furnishings and
equipment for your employees?
How do you coordinate your voice and data systems with
the installation of the furniture?
How do you move employees, their belongings and existing equipment?
How do you communicate the move to your employees?
How do you do all of this and not lose a day's worth of productivity?

It can take an overwhelming number of steps to create an efficient,
productive and esthetically pleasing work environment. Many
companies don't have the in-house professional resources to
successfully coordinate all of the required activities. Quite often
a company's management will turn to the office manager
and tell that person to find the appropriate office space, buy some
new furniture, call in the contractors and move the office. This does not
work! A statistic noted in USA Today, pointed out that 68% of
those who managed their office's move or renovation were demoted
of fired, shortly thereafter! That's a frightening statistic for
the person designated for the task.

Just as with any complex project that requires a specialist, so too,
does an office move or renovation. Such an event requires a specialist
who understands the issues and can coordinate the many resources
needed for a smooth and efficient transition to the new facility.

The most successful moves have been accomplished by having a close
collaboration between the real estate professional and the office facilities
firm that can provide a single source of accountability for creating an
effective business environment. Office environments are about people
and the work process that affects people. Office furniture specialists
who have incorporated additional facility project disciplines into their
organization offer the client the broadest range of expertise and
experience. These companies are specifically focused on the human
factor within a workspace. They understand the needs of the individual
in terms of work support requirements and the human interaction
with the technology that supports their work. They also understand
the need of a company to have their corporate culture reflected
in their facility.

The office facility and furniture specialists that have built up strong
alliances with the commercial real estate professional offer the client
the absolute best solution for developing a cost effective, work
enhancing, productive office facility.

How does a company determine which organization has the dedicated
resources needed to execute the facility project? It's not the "high-way"
office furniture dealership that can offer "such a deal....with free
space planning!" It must be a professionally recognized organization
with the credentials and experience worthy of being entrusted with
keeping a companies' business running while making the transition to
a new facility.

A company anticipating a facility project should evaluate the
prospective office facility specialist in the following catagories.

What is their individual breadth of capabilities? What is the diversity
of their expertise? What is the depth of their personal experience?

How big is the company? How many years has it provided the
required project services? What is the management structure of the
company? Do you have access to senior management?

Intellectual Capital
Does it have extensive knowledge and experience with products,
services and comprehensive workplace solutions?

Does it have a clear, concise documented process for managing the
project? Is there a dedicated project team assigned to your project?

Does it have project experience similar to your project? Can it provide
client references on similar projects?

Does it have the planning and design technology to assure accurate
specifications? Does it maintain a secure online customer order system
for product procurement and furniture management available 24/7?

Product and Services
Does it offer state-of-the-art products that will support your business?
Does it represent a full range of products for the work environment
including furniture and floor covering? Does it provide vital voice and
data cabling solutions? Does it provide move management services?
Does it provide project financing alternatives?

Customer Service
Does the company have a dedicated customer-service team? Does the
company have professionally trained field technicians? Can you access
customer service 24/7?

What is the industry-wide reputation of the company? Does the company
provide customer references? Creating an efficient and productive
office facility is not a part-time job. It requires that you ask the right
questions, and it takes a professional team to help you along that path to
a successful facility that will enhance your business.

June Carter is the Vice President for BFI's Melville Branch.
You can reach June and