If you work from home, moving can present a specific challenge. You’re not just looking at moving some computers, desks, and shelves, but have to make sure your business gets closed down in good order, arrives at the new destination in good order, and can be set back up quickly and with as few complications as possible. It can be easy to think of a home office as just one of several rooms to pack, but it really deserves special attention.
Make a Plan
As always when moving, you’ll want to figure out the steps you’ll have to take and give yourself time frames for each one. List who needs to be contacted, from your clients to any employees, providers, or distributors you work with. Look at exactly what files and papers you absolutely need to move, and see if you can lighten the load a bit by scanning and shredding old documents.
Make sure you pay attention to who will get your utilities up and running. It’s especially important that you work with your new Internet company about getting online as soon as possible.
While you’re working through your task list, remember that you might have new challenges pop up. Always be flexible, and revisit your plan on a regular basis to see what needs to change.
Prioritize What You’ll Need
One of the first things to do should be go through your office and prioritize everything. Colored stickers or post-its can help here, but however you make things, make sure you know what you have to keep out of boxes until the last minute and what can be put away early. This includes furniture and equipment. Once you’ve come up with your priorities, pack in reverse order: the least important things get boxed up and removed first. The most important should be packed last and be the easiest for you to unload from the truck. If done properly, you should be able to at least touch base with customers a day or two after you’ve moved, or maybe get back to work right away.
Back Up Everything
As a responsible and thoughtful person who works from home, you should already be backing up everything all the time. If not, you should look at one of the many reliable backup services out there, especially the ones that have secure offline storage as well as cloud backup services. Once you have this service set up, in the weeks before the move, you should double- and triple-check that your backups are working and available. The day of the move, run every backup you can just to be safe.
You should also look at scanning services for any paper documentation, even if you plan on bringing all those files with you. Even if the files need to stay offline for security, having scans stored on a portable hard drive means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally losing important papers in the move.
Understand How Long It Will Take
Your plan should include informing everyone you work with that a move is coming. One thing you should do while making contact is not underestimating how much time and energy will go into a move. Even if you use a professional moving service, it can take days or weeks to pack and unpack everything, much less get all your projects back up to speed. While you may think you could unpack in a day or two and hit the ground running, you should at least triple that estimate. If you give everyone enough notice, few clients will mind if you need to take two weeks to be ready to go. If you happen to have everything set up faster than that, you could either take a few days to simply relax, or you could impress your clients by getting back to work sooner than they thought.