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MANAGING THE OFFICE

Missouri administrator tells how to move your office in just one weekend

A St. Louis administrator was able to complete an office move in just one weekend by dividing staff into teams and giving each one specific moving duties.

The administrator of the nine-attorney, 23-staff office had been through a move before and had seen firsthand the difficulties. Mostly, she said, the hold-ups came because staff didn’t know where to turn for questions.

So she turned to staff organization. Three months out, she set up four staff teams, each with different responsibilities.

First, a sending team

The sending team was made up of three staffers and their job was to supervise the work in the old office.

They had lots to do. They packed up the common areas such as the break room. They were responsible for seeing that everybody had the packing supplies they needed. They supervised disassembling the desks. They made sure the small computer parts were put into plastic bags and taped to the computers.

They were available to help other staff moving individual work areas. And they oversaw the office moves for any attorneys who were out of town and not available.

In addition, the senders supervised the movers, making sure everything went out the door in proper order and that there was no damage to the floors and walls.

Second, a receiving team

Next was the receiving ream. It was made up of four staffers, and their job was to oversee the moving work in the new location.

They drew up a map of each new office showing where the furniture and equipment was to be placed, and they were responsible for following the map and getting the furniture placed correctly.

They oversaw the copiers, which had to be brought in early, and took care of getting them set up.

One staffer was named team leader, and on moving day, her job was to stand in the center of the lobby and direct the movers to where they needed to go.

Another staffer was named office co-ordinator, and she followed the movers around to see that they put each item in the right spot.

The other two receivers picked up the slack. They answered questions and made sure the floors and walls weren’t damaged.

One of the receiving team members was frontline secretary and her office was set up first so that someone was always available in case a client emergency occurred.

Third, a tech team

Third was the technology team, which was made of three of the firm’s technology staffers. Their job was to supervise the computer connections at all work stations.

The team leader served as chief trouble-shooter and also was the contact between the firm and the technology vendors.

The other two team members supervised the packing and unpacking of the computer equipment and also connected the workstations.

While relocating technology is admittedly chaotic, having people assigned only that job makes it easier because that is all they have to worry about.

Fourth, a file room team

The fourth team was responsible for moving the file room and those staffers focused not just on organization but also on precision.

Their decision was to move the cabinets first and then move the files, all in a sequential order.

Thus, the cabinets were all loaded onto one truck, starting with the cabinets for the newest files and the back and progressing to the oldest files at the front.

Then the files themselves were loaded onto another truck and in the same order, starting at the back with the newest and moving toward the front with the oldest.

The truck carrying the cabinets was unloaded first, and everything was in place in the new office in the order it came off. The files themselves were unloaded after that, and in the same order.

But at the end of the day, all the cabinets were in place and all the files were in them in the proper order.

Plus a reference book

To help the team members along, the administrator drew up a booklet of moving information that included these items:

• a floor plan of the new office

• another floor plan showing where the electrical outlets were located

• another floor plan showing the voice and date outlets

• an alphabetical list of all the employees with their new offices and phone numbers

• the partners’ cell phone numbers

• the cell phone numbers of all the team members. There was also a phone contact list of all the people involved in the move—the moving company, phone equipment and phone service providers, network service providers, building management in both old and new buildings, furniture vendors, copier vendors and even the office coffee and water service people.

With that information, the teams could contact anybody they needed and could answer any questions that came up.

For herself on moving day, the administrator kept ready a copy of the new lease plus all of her notes from the construction meetings held earlier.

The outcome was that they got everything moved and set up in just one weekend.

Friday was set aside as packing day, the move was made on Saturday, the leftover work was done and Sunday, and the entire firm was ready to work on Monday.


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