Generations

How to Efficiently Coordinate an Office Move

generations_office

Us IT guys are no strangers to moving offices. We have moved so many clients that we lost count. We recently relocated our office after spending 10 years in our previous space. We have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugliest moves, and we’ve taken a few notes.

This is how you coordinate an efficient office move:

Phase 1: Planning

12 – 6 months before the move

1. Organize & Digitize.

First, figure out where and how to record and organize all notes, documents, to-do lists, and other move-related items. Centralizing information will keep you from pulling out your hair later. Smartsheet is a great project management tool that is user friendly and cost effective. Don’t rely on sticky notes and paper. Remember that digital files are waaay easier to move.

2. Announce the move.

office_move_announcementThe announcement should be comprehensive, regardless of the format you select. The communication needs to tell employees everything they need to know. In fact, the more detail you put into the communication, the easier it will be to wrap your head around all the steps of your office move.

As you create the announcement, be sure to translate any applicable items to your master to-do list. For example, if your announcement reassures employees they will have a complete “office move checklist for employees” of to-dos before moving day, then you need to include “making and distributing checklist” as an action item in your timeline.

Here are some items to include in your announcement:

  • New office name and address
  • Moving date/dates
  • Key features of the new office
  • Justification for the move (A quote from the CEO or other key decision maker is the perfect way to explain the decision to move—and even get them excited for the transition.)
  • What employees need to do right now, if anything
  • What future moving information employees should expect to receive

3. Survey your staff.

After the announcement has a few weeks to set in, talk to employees to get their feedback. Seek feedback on aspects of the move or the new office that you can reasonably control and work into your planning process, including:

  • Changing work space needs (Some employees may want to request standing desks, lamps, privacy screens, etc.)
  • Equipment needs (Replace broken keyboards, cracked screens, etc.)
  • Seating changes (Some employees may need or want to change what teams and people they sit near.)
  • Work style preferences, especially if your new space will include elements of both open and private floor plans.
  • Design wish items or recommendations
  • Any issues that restrict people from carrying heavy boxes and helping with moving work

You can deliver this communication in multiple ways:

  • Communicate via department/division managers
  • Send out a survey
  • Host one-on-one meetings if your company is small
  • Use your company’s email delivery tool

 4.  Establish your budget and purchasing process.

Get a budget (preferably on paper) from your company leaders and establish guidelines for completing all move-related purchases. Will you be able to use a company card? Will you have to submit invoices? Who (if anyone) will need to approve your purchases or vendor contracts?

This step will help you envision the moving process. For example, if you need a three-person team to sign off on all purchases and contracts, then you’ll be able to plan extra time for all to-dos involving purchases.

5. Establish and record key details.

Confirm and record key details that could affect the move. These include:

  • Employee headcount
  • Size of current office
  • Size of new office

6. Make lists of what you have and lists of what you need.

Now it’s time to make inventory lists of all things big and small. Make two lists:

  • Things you’re taking
  • Things you’re leaving behind

The lists should highlight some needs you might otherwise overlook, especially if you cross-reference them with your new office’s floor plan.

For example…

  • If the office move involves a complete design overhaul, and you’ll be leaving behind all trash cans and whiteboards, you might need to purchase new versions of those necessities to match the new look.
  • If you’re pulling off a move on a tight budget, making an inventory list will remind you that you do in fact need to pack everything lurking in that old supply closet.
  • If your new kitchen is twice the size of your old one, but your “taking” list only has a few basics, then you might need to get a bunch of new kitchen stuff.

7.  Talk to managers to establish move-related workflow strategies.

Moving is hard. Juggling work while moving is super hard. Encourage managers to develop comprehensive plans for managing workflows throughout the moving process, especially if they have any critical deadlines that fall within the moving time frame. Remind them to keep the move in mind as they take on and plan new projects.

8.  Create a separate email address for move-related questions.

People will have questions—lots of questions—about the office move. Try to separate the office move from your regular duties by creating an email address just for move-related questions and correspondence.

Phase 2: Packing and Preparing

6-3 months before the move

1. Source resources.

What vendors and services do you even need? Here are some things almost any office move requires:

  • Movers/moving crew
  • Trucks
  • Boxes
  • Clean-up crew and cleaning service
  • IT Technicians

2. Lock down movers and loading/unloading locations.

Once you have movers lined up, it’s time to coordinate arrivals and departures. Work with your current and new building managers to find ideal loading and unloading times and spaces. The spaces need to accommodate your trucks without disrupting traffic. If either building has underground loading docks, then make sure your trucks will clear all entrances and exits.

3. Select a cleaning service and cleanup crew.

If your movers don’t clean up your old space, then you need to find someone to do that—unless your building will handle it. (Ask your building manager about this if you’re not sure. You don’t want to pay for unnecessary cleaning, and you also don’t want to get stuck with fees for not cleaning.)

Does your new building include an ongoing cleaning service? If not, then you will need to set that up. If you’re pleased with the service in your current building, then find out if that company can clean your new place and simply update the address on your existing service contract.

4. Walk-through & the walk-through again.

Even the most detail-oriented people can miss a few moving details. Do a few long, slow walks around the office and make notes, especially when you notice things that could:

Present moving obstacles

Require major preparation

Be easily forgotten

You might have a giant, permanently affixed company sign that will require major manpower for removal and re-installation. Or you might remember that hole in the wall that you covered with a picture when you moved in.

5. Downsize, consolidate, purge.

If you use your pre-move time wisely, you could actually reduce the items you even have to move. Take some time to carefully review inventory and tag items with throw-away stickers. You can do one purge a week so you don’t get overwhelmed. The long, slow effort will help you avoid packing and moving a bunch of junk you really don’t need.

6. Sell & donate unwanted items.

If you’re getting rid of big-ticket items, such as desks and chairs, plan an office moving sale so you can recoup some money to put toward new items (or a post-move party).

7. Start packing.

Start packing early to avoid an overwhelming move. Complete the process in short, manageable increments. Divide and delegate. Get going on “early bird” items and make a packing plan for the others.

Early birds. These are rarely used, but “keeper” items you can pack immediately and never miss.

Make-do items. These are items that are nice to have, but not crucial.

Absolute necessities. These are the items you’ll need to pack the day before, or even the day of, the move.

8. Talk to your team.

Continue your ongoing conversation with employees. They will have questions.

Here’s how to focus your communications in this phase:

As questions come in, post them into your communications in Q&A format. This will hopefully reduce the questions flooding your inbox.

Status updates. Everyone will want to know what’s going on. Tell employees what items you have completed and what you have yet to accomplish so everyone feels informed.

Changes in day-to-day life. Pinpoint how the move will affect employees’ day-to-day routines. Definitely cover parking in the new office space, especially if it’s a different structure than the one your old building uses. If there will be space assignments, passes, or fobs, then employees will want to know when they will receive those items.

New neighborhood information, especially if you’re planning a long-distance move. Tell employees about local emergency numbers, places to eat, amenities, transportation hubs, etc. If you have the time, turn this information into a dedicated web page or packet.

Reiterate vital information from the announcement email. This is not repetitive; it’s helpful. (In fact, this info is so crucial, you might want to print notices to post around the office to make sure everyone commits the new information to memory.)

  • New office name and address
  • Moving date/dates
  • Key features of the new space

9. Create new seating arrangements.

For this step, you’ll want to get a detailed floor plan for the new office if you don’t already have one. Use the employee feedback you collected to draw up the new plan. Send it out for everyone to review so you have plenty of time to make any requested changes.

Set a cut-off date for changes; you will need a final seating chart to make the rest of your packing a success.

10. Design & Coordinate new office signage.

Make sure you consult your property building manager to ensure you follow the property signage guidelines for your new building. Your signage designer and installer will need specs of the building and a copy of the guidelines.

11. Inform your IT Service Provider.

The sooner we know of your move, the sooner we can order equipment and ensure we have enough man power. Office moves usually occur outside of regular business hours to get business running as usual come Monday morning. This requires sufficient notice and communication to mobilize teams accordingly.

Phase 3: Moving and Organizing

3  months before the move

1. Label strategy.

Properly labeling your boxes and new space will save you a lot of time. You can use any system you want—letters and numbers or colors and shapes—as long as the labels on the boxes correspond with the labels in the new office space. This will make it easy for movers to match.

For example, you can give every team a color, and every employee a number. Mark sections of the office with tape matching the team’s color, and mark each individual’s space with their number. Give employees labels with their color and number to put on their boxes.

2. Talk to your team, again.

Your last few moving communications should clear up any last-minute employees questions and concerns. Let everyone know:

  • Where they need to be (Provide any necessary building access information. Before you relay this information, you’ll need to secure any necessary key fobs and codes to hand out.)
  • What they need to do, especially packing and labeling instructions.
  • Also, push out those key moving details just one more time:
  • New office name and address
  • Moving date/dates
  • Key features of the new space

3. Utilities.

Connect the phone systems, electricity, internet, and water at the new office. Disconnect any service related to your old building, unless a building manager handles that. Arrange for security system setup.

4. Change your address on everything.

Don’t forget to change your address on:

  • all stationary and business cards
  • coordinate mail redirection
  • update your location on your website, social media, and Google

5. Create an organizing and decorating plan.

Just as you planned to pack in phases, you can plan to unpack, organize. and decorate in phases. Your unpacking and organizing plan will likely mirror your packing plan in many ways.

Unpack absolute necessities. What items do you need to unpack and organize immediately to help employees do their best work?

Unpack make-do items. What items could wait a week or two?

Unpack out of sight, out of mind items.

Polish and spruce. Now that everything has a place, how can you tweak and improve the organization of your new office? What decorations and design work does the new space need?

6. Frequently check on the new building.

Check in with your new building manager often to make sure everything is going smoothly.

Plan a walk-through about two weeks prior to your move make sure everything is on schedule and ready for your team.

7. Consult your IT service provider once again.

Communicate any changes to the plan and make sure your IT service provider has access to disconnect your equipment in your old space and reconnect everything in the new space with minimal disruption to service.

8. Move!

9. Unpack the absolute necessities you established above.

 

10. Relax and enjoy your new space.

And stop by our new office to see how we’ve settled in! Word on the street is Mike keeps cold beers in his fridge for visitors…

Generations Data Centre

 

 

 

 

For Those Who Don’t Speak IT: The Generations Data Center – Defined

Take a minute to consider the structure of your organization.

What type of work do you do?

Do you have a lot of information in the cloud?

How confidential is the data in the cloud?

How secure is your server?

Is your backup on site?

Do you have a backup plan in place to secure pertinent company information in the event of a power outage, fire, security breach or system failure?

If you are panicking a little because you don’t have answers to all the above questions, we hate to scare you, but you should be. Don’t worry too much though, Generation Electronics can come up with a solution specific to your organizational needs, budget, and resources to save you from the grief of not having a well thought out data backup plan in place in the event of an emergency.

We say there are two types of businesses:

  1. The ones who have already experienced data loss;
  2. And the ones who will experience data.

Read on to find out why Generation Electronics encourages their clients to take strong precautionary measures to backup their data:

If you’ve ever lost connectivity, you know it has a direct negative effect on your company’s productivity. Businesses nowadays do everything online – it is a convenient and collaborative way to function. But what if you are experiencing constant service interruptions? How much is the downtime costing you in comparison to upgrading to a data center backup? If you add it up annually, we have seen server downtime cost our clients a lot.

Generations Data Centre
Imagine no server downtime.

Further to loss of connectivity, other risks of not protecting your data properly can temporarily send your stress level through the roof, or even put you out of business.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways data loss may occur:

Human Error

Human error or end user related issues are the most common data loss occurrences that come across our Help Desk. An employee has accidentally moved or deleted a file or folder. In a situation like this you may be able to go to shadow copies for a quick recovery; and if not then to daily backups.

Hardware Failure

This is a common reason for data loss. All hardware will fail eventually, hard drives fail regularly. This is why you need to have the data on multiple devices, the chance of multiple drives failing on different devices is extremely rare.

Viruses

Viruses such as Cryptolocker, Cryptowall and Ransomware will crawl through your network encrypting all the data they can find. Then they demand a ransom be paid to provide the key to unlock the files. We expect this will soon become the most common virus. If you do not have copies of the compromised data in a location unattached to the local network, such as cloud or offsite, you may find yourself held for ransom.

Software Corruption

Sometimes the volume of directory information may get corrupted and prevent you from locating your files. Other times you may get a transfer corruption when moving the files back and forth.

Fire, Flood, &Tornadoes

Yup, it happens! Even a bursting pipe can cause severe damage. Not to mention tornadoes, which have been known to happen here in Edmonton, Alberta.

Theft or Destruction

Whether by thief in the night, disgruntled employee, or a hacker who has found their way into your network – these are all possible scenarios that put your data at risk. While you may take reasonable precautions to keep hackers at bay, the determined ones will find a way in eventually. Once they are in, they will most likely cause some damage to your environment.

For the most secure data backup, we strongly recommend the Generations Data Centre, which has two locations. One centrally located in downtown Edmonton, and the other in west Edmonton. The larger of the two is where we host our server, as well as our client’s servers.

Here’s why:

Security

The Generations Data Centre is literally a building inside a building. You can’t get from one door to the next without granted two factor security. From the outside, you would never know it was a data centre. Upon entry, you are greeted by a security guard who verifies your identification and reason for visiting and provides you with an access card and personal code.

Generations Data Centre
Two Factor Security & Infrared Surveillance Cameras throughout the facility.

This access card and code is the only way you can enter any common area within the centre (two factor security). Once you are in, you are under infrared video surveillance everywhere you go.

If we need to remind you why security is so important, think back to some of the biggest data breaches of 2018. Personal information of millions of people from around the world was compromised. Some of the biggest victims in 2018 include T-Mobile, Quora, Google, Orbitz and Facebook.

In the Generations Data Center, the security of your data is the number one priority. Nothing has been overlooked.

Intelligent HVAC Solutions

On a recent tour of The Generations Data Center, our clients were amazed at how well heating, ventilation, and cooling systems were engineered. The building within the building has clean HEPA Filtered air flowing through it constantly. The contained airflow balances and regulates the temperatures of your systems, ensuring they are always running in optimal conditions.

The facility is not air conditioned and runs solely off an evaporative cooling system, designed to rely on the natural evaporation of water to cool a space by drawing air across wet filters or pads. Traditional air conditioners use refrigerant which contribute to ozone depletion and require more energy to operate.

Unlimited Configuration Options

The Generations Data Center was designed with expansion in mind, so that clients are never forced to move all their data to a larger location. Basically, any configuration can be accommodated within the center, from a tray in a shared cabinet, to an entire suite.

Backed up Back-up

Every client using The Generations Data Center to host their server can rest easy knowing that the system is concurrently redundant – meaning when A is down, the system runs on B. Can you imagine no outages, no lost time, and no interruptions in productivity? If it sounds too good to be true, it is not.

Backup Generators

Each device is on a two-power splice, which doesn’t wait for power to fail before becoming operational. Backup generators don’t wait for failure to power up and are tested monthly. Maintenance to generators is conducted throughout the year, but the client never knows because there is no interruption.          

The Generations Data Center can even temporarily accommodate your staff in their backup office. This is available to clients whose office space is undergoing renovation, in the middle of an office move, or has been a victim of theft, fire or water damage forces them out of their office.

Backup Office

One of the clients we recently toured commented that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, The Data Center would be where she and her family would hide. We never thought of that, but it is exactly where we would go, too. We know we will be safe there.

To learn more about our services and the Generations Data Center, please contact us.

We would be happy to take you on a tour and show you exactly why we recommend this solution to our clients.

CONTACT US TODAY!

Petya Ransomware Virus

Well, it is back! the newest variant of the Wannacry ransomware virus is out causing mayhem and destruction and its called Petya Ransomware. This time there is no kill switch that can be enabled.

The virus which started on Friday seems to have originated in the Ukraine and has been found in more than 64 countries and has hit more than 13,000 computers. This virus has the potential to be bigger than the Wannacry Variant.

Once infected users will find a screen demanding the user pay a $300 payment in Bitcoin to provide the key to restore encrypted files.

This new threat is based on an exploit stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA). A patch to address this vulnerability was issued by Microsoft in March 2017. You can find links to the patch at the bottom of this page: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/petya-goldeneye-malware-ransomware-protect-yourself-against/

It is known to use a Microsoft Windows flaw called EternalRomance.

It is spread by people using an accounting program called MeDoc that is very popular in the Ukraine.

Petya is designed to spread through the networks of a business and uses a hacking tool called Mimikatz to extract passwords from those computers.

It is not currently known who is behind the attack.

Screenshot that users will see once Petya Ransomware is done encrypting your computer.

Screenshot that users will see once Petya Ransomware is done encrypting your computer.

 

For assistance with this latest threat or any other Computer needs please call us @ 780-413-9908 or visit our website @ www.generation.ca