Your next move: A guide to office relocation

Your lease is about to expire. Your space needs or business have changed. You’re curious what other options are out there. Whatever your reasons for considering a move, this stage is filled with unknowns. 

July 07, 2021

Your lease is about to expire. Your space needs or business have changed. You’re curious what other options are out there. Whatever your reasons for considering a move, this stage is filled with unknowns.

Should you expand within your building? Find a new one altogether? Or would renovating your current space be enough to improve workflow?

Once you come to that decision, there are things to consider as you inevitably change over the course of your lease. Five or ten years is a long time to be stuck in the same location under the same terms.

Markets fluctuate, employees multiply, new technologies emerge. One thing is certain:

you need to make room for the future even if you can’t predict it. Whether that means a moderate renovation or full-tilt relocation, this guide will help you start the discussion. So that if and when you decide to move (and even if you don’t), you’ll know exactly what to expect.

The size of your company will determine both the time the move will take and the type of lease terms you’re likely to get.

Whether it takes 12 weeks or 12 months, your move can be split into three phases: Planning, selection and fitout.


Start with the big picture. Be secure in your values, specific in your goals and mindful of how you can achieve both. Only once you figure out who you are as a business can you design a workplace to best support your people.

Plan your strategy

Your move strategy is about more than picking a new building. A real estate decision can affect every facet of your business: productivity, revenue, wellbeing, sustainability and future success.

  • What are your company’s broader business objectives?

  • Which real estate decision will support those goals?

  • How fast is your growth rate? Do you need flexible terms?

  • What’s your exit plan when the lease ends?

  • Who is your workforce and what is their work style? Where are they currently located?

  • What environment will make your workforce more productive?

Assess your needs

It’s hard to improve if you don’t know where you stand. Identify inefficiencies in your current workspace, decide how the new space should function and present the plan to stakeholders.

  • How can operations improve?

  • What style of building suits you?

  • What type of work environment do you need―fully open plan or mix of offices and open space? Flexible working options or will the office incorporate Activity Based Working?

  • How many square metres per workstation?

Take your time and explore a spectrum of spaces. Knowing your options will help you create competition and achieve more advantageous terms when it comes time to negotiate.

Compare locations

Talking through a requirement is one thing, seeing options and providing real-time feedback is another.

  • Tour the market and objectively evaluate each property.

  • Request and compare proposals from different building owners.

  • Conduct test fits to see how the space would actually look and function if you worked there.

  • Build consensus among your team on a well-informed site selection.

Negotiate your lease

If you’re going to seek external advice in any stage, make it this one. It is crucial that you understand all of the costs and risks associated with each property along with the terms you’re agreeing to.

  • Maintain ongoing market awareness so you know what terms are reasonable.

  • Insist on future protection clauses in case your needs change.

  • Perform proper physical due diligence so you’re not surprised by building issues later.

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The last phase of your move and yet the longest and most likely to deviate from the plan. Be as specific and diligent as possible in this phase to minimise hiccups, and time and cost overages.

Fitout your space

Plan your fitout like the highly choreographed performance that it is. There’s no such thing as being too detailed in this phase.

  • Build a team or have a project manager do it for you.

  • Prioritise communication across project phases and stakeholders.

  • Beware of risks such as cost escalation, legal obstacles, business interruption and delayed speed to market.

  • Keep employees in the loop as construction progresses. What (and when) can they expect from the new space?

Move in

Begin coordinating your move during construction, up to 24 weeks before your move-in date.

  • Plan: define roles, resources, budget, timing, change messaging and vendors.

  • Communicate: prepare employee welcome materials and move instructions.

  • Transfer: finalise security, mail and technology moves.

  • Organise: label day one tasks, directions, workstations, keys and layout.

  • Confirm: check inventory, end of lease terms, final invoices and do a walk-through of your old space.