Moving house is stressful enough; what do you do when you also have to move your home office and be up and running for business quickly?
Here are some tips to help (from someone who just did it a two weeks ago!):
- Work backwards. Start by packing the items that you won’t need immediately and label those boxes, “Unpack Later.” A few days before the move, pack items that you can live without for the first week and label those boxes, “Unpack Sooner.” Finally, the day before your move, pack the items you will need as soon as your office re-opens, and label those boxes, “Unpack First.” (Colored labels help to quickly identify the important boxes.)
- Choose “immediate” items carefully. What do you really need during the first few days of business? Some items to consider: client files, stapler, tape, pens, telephone, notepads, computer, printer, printer paper, and a clock.
- Give yourself time. After you move to a new home, you need time to unpack all your personal belongings as well as your business boxes. Give yourself a week or two after the move before you start up your business again, so that you have time to do all the tasks involved without stressing yourself, your family and your pets. The fact is that house buying and selling is stressful. Pushing yourself to unpack and get back to business in a few days after the move adds another layer of stress that’s avoidable.
- Notify your customers. About a month before the move, begin to notify your customers that you will be unavailable for the week of the move. It’s helpful to explain to them that you will be without phone or email during that time, but that you will pick up voicemail and email starting on your first day back. Also notify your customers of your new address, new telephone number and new fax number, as needed.
- Write down your new phone number and keep it handy. If you’re moving out of your region and have a landline phone, you may not be able to take your old office phone number with you. Trying to memorize your new office phone number when your brain is weary is crazy-making. Write down your new phone number on a Post-It note and attach it to your computer, your phone, and anywhere else you’ll need access to it immediately. Once the “fog of the move” lifts and your brain is back to normal, you’ll easily remember your new phone number. In the meantime, a little memory crutch is a good thing!
- Design the layout of your new home office…and be willing to change it. Before the move, get the dimensions of your new home office and the dimensions of your furniture, and lay out a plan for where the big furniture goes. Keep in mind things like access to windows, electrical outlets, heating vents, etc. Once you’re in your new space, live with it for a week before unpacking everything. You may find that your first choice of furniture arrangement doesn’t quite satisfy you, and it’s easier to move furniture if you haven’t unpacked all the other items yet.
The energy of a new home office feels great and it’s like a new beginning! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. And try for a little humor and flexibility during your first month in your new place…you’ll need both.
P.S. Don’t forget to pack your “office cat!” 🙂