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5 Ways to get better results from your move OFFICE move process

BY: George Banos

According to a recent survey conducted by the International Facilities Management Association, “companies move, remodel, or relocate 25-30% of their facilities’ total square footage each year.” Through detailed facility research and data analysis, many organizations are realizing increased productivity and employee retention through such moves, maximizing on space, and offering a more favorable workplace environment for their employees.

If the facility you manage is seeking to improve their position in the marketplace through a move, regardless of the magnitude, the business only stands to benefit if it is a positive experience. Results should include Tips to help facilities managers get better results from corporate movesoperational improvements, increased productivity, and a more efficient space; all, hopefully, leading to increased profits. With so much at stake, it is crucial no stone is left unturned and every detail is ironed out BEFORE the move takes place. Fortunately, through proper preparation your facilities team can ensure downtime is limited and the relocation process is a success.

1) Align Move Specifications with Business Objectives and Develop A Well-documented Plan

It is unreasonable to expect a successful outcome if your team is not thoroughly educated regarding the main drivers behind the move itself. What are the business’ objectives, both long and short-term, and what is the company trying to accomplish with this move? If you simply require additional space, is it more economical to add square footage through an adjoining space or relocate the entire company? Is your current location’s space being utilized properly and, if not, is a redesign a more economical solution?

According to a recent survey of 231 companies relocating in the last 24 months, 52% reported an insufficient move plan as their leading downfall, with design flaws (43%); telephone and computer failures (39%); selecting appropriate vendors and movers (37%); staff cooperation and maintaining moral (29%); purging old files (21%); overlooking important tasks (19%); keeping within the budget and schedule (11%); and matching files and equipment to the proper offices (10%) falling minimally behind. Thus, a well thought out plan from the start is critical to a successful move. If you are unsure where to start, Integra’s A Timeline For Moving Your Company is a great resource. By establishing criteria, building checklists, and communicating with all employees, you ensure everyone is on the same page regarding upcoming changes and their role within the move.

Here are a few important items to consider when developing your plan-of-action:

  • Start the planning process early. Depending upon the size of your move, it is recommended to allot anywhere from 6 to 18 months to complete a proper moving plan.
  • If you have not already done so, consider investing in Space Management and Move Management software. It is crucial that you gain a clear understanding as to how your current space is being used, what is working, and what is not. This knowledge will aid you in identifying what your needs are moving forward and locating the proper future space.
  • Focus on the details. Never has the statement “the truth is in the details” proven more relevant than in a business move. Create task lists down to the last detail to ensure nothing is missed. Maintain organization through the entire process, as once it is lost, many companies find it difficult to ever catch up again.
  • Create checklists and use them. Even the simplest and the most obvious of tasks can be overlooked during a project of this magnitude. Develop checklists, broken down step-by-step, department-by-department, leaving no question unanswered.
  • Consider hiring a professional consultant. Many organizations try to save money by planning the move process themselves when in reality, hiring an outside consultant stands to save both time and money.
  • Order printing materials ahead of time. Once your company has established its new roots, it is important your employees have the ability to get back to work immediately. Plan to update the website and order business cards and letterhead before the move.
  • Plan the move during the company’s slowest time. Reduce downtime by identifying your organization’s slowest time of the week and plan accordingly. For many, one evening is not enough time for IT to get all systems back up and running, so consider this when developing a plan of action.
  • The Difference Between Using Paper vs. Software to Move your Workforce

2) Pre-sell the Move by Involving Everyone from the Start

Whether yours is a relocation project, office redesign, or simply a departmental move, the move process is disruptive for everyone involved. For a smooth transition, involve all parties from the consideration stage all the way to the end. By including your workforce from the beginning, you improve office morale and encourage collaboration, hopefully gaining the commitment and support needed to see the company’s vision through to fruition. Additionally, your facilities team stands to gain valuable insight into current issues and identify solutions for the new space. Increased efficiency and productivity is, undoubtedly, one of the company’s primary goals- who better to consult than those on the front line day in and day out?

3) Set a Realistic Budget and Plan for Increased Efficiency in the New Office

Speak with any relocation consultant and they will tell you hundreds of horror stories regarding companies who planned a move without prudent attention to the estimated costs. Be realistic in setting a budget, consulting with everyone from move specialists to the IT department and CEO. Analyze data collected from your Facilities Management Software and consult with a move specialist if possible. This is one area you do not want to cut corners – it is better to have room left in your budget at the end of the move than require additional funding because of missed details.

Planning a move is the perfect time to evaluate the efficiency of organizational processes and hopefully, reduce operational expenses. A little investment in more up-to-date technology, mobility, security, and “green” initiatives stand to add overall value to the company’s overall bottom line. If the budget allows, discuss investing in tools that will set the business up for future growth and changes.

4) Assess Technology Solutions and Consult with IT Early

Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, showing no signs of slowing down. If your office hasn’t kept up with the latest in technological advances, this is your opportunity to make changes – investing now to better prepare for the future.

Here are a few items to consider when analyzing the company’s current technological support:

  • What software solutions does your organization currently utilize and are they meeting your current needs?
  • What are the plans for short and long-term growth and where does the current technology fit in?
  • Does your data backup solution support your Business Continuity plans?
  • What services can you eliminate or consolidate?
  • Are your employees’ current mobility needs being met? Do you anticipate increased needs in the future?
  • Are you currently utilizing the cloud and if not, are there any future migration plans?

Once you have had an opportunity to assess the data, you will gain a better understanding as to what changes/upgrades are necessary. Create a list of priorities and develop a budget accordingly. It is crucial you involve IT throughout this process, so as to ensure you have considered every aspect of all new investments. IT services should be able to help you identify any physical space and cabling requirements, as well as estimated downtime during this transition.

5) Prepare for the Worst, Expect the Best

As the facilities manager, you are all too familiar with project roadblocks and challenges. As carefully as you plan, it is always safe to expect the unexpected. While it is impossible to predict every scenario, emergency preparedness is key. During the planning stages, consider every aspect of the relocation project and develop a plan of action accordingly. While you cannot prevent setbacks, you do have control over how you respond.

A few of the most common mistakes companies make when planning a move are:

  • rushing through decisions
  • focusing too narrowly on a few basic costs
  • failing to use available economic development services
  • neglecting quality-of-life factors
  • overlooking important environmental or regulatory concerns
  • discounting plans for future expansion

These common mistakes can be avoided by taking the time to map out every aspect of the move, involving the right people from the beginning, and factoring in future growth with every decision.

Your company’s relocation/redesign project is a major undertaking. As with every project, there will likely be setbacks along the way. The key is to keep your “eye on the prize” and never lose sight of overall organizational goals. By identifying primary objectives, your facilities team will gain valuable insight into what changes must be made, developing a roadmap accordingly. The primary components to keeping your company productive during a move are communication, a detailed plan of action, involving the workforce, and increasing efficiency through upgrading technology and improving processes. Those who are mindful of these elements will achieve a move that will positively impact the company’s bottom line through an inspiring and productive space for employees and more streamlined and effective processes, while creating a space that will grow with the company for years to come.

Moving Tips for Peak Season: Ways to Avoid Identity Theft & Moving Scams

Moving Tips for Peak Season: Ways to Avoid Identity Theft & Moving Scams

As the peak moving season begins, millions of Americans are preparing to make a residential move. During this busy moving time, identity thieves and unscrupulous movers are ready to take advantage of unsuspecting households. If you are one of the many planning to relocate this summer, the following moving tips on ways to avoid identity theft and moving scams will help protect you from becoming a victim.

Identity Thefts & Moving Scams Can Make Moving a Nightmare

Moving your household is stressful enough without worrying about the threat of identity theft or becoming the victim of a moving scam. But both occur often enough to warrant taking precautions.

Identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint for the last 15 years, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Someone becomes a victim of identity fraud every two seconds.

Most moving companies are legitimate, reputable businesses, so moving scams do not occur nearly as often as identity theft. But every year a small percentage of movers make moving day a disaster for many by robbing or taking advantage of their customers.

6 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft during a Move

Moving puts you at a higher risk for identity theft. Mail and other documents with sensitive information can easily become accessible to thieves as you are packing and moving between residences. The following tips offer ways to help avoid identity theft during your peak season move:

  1. Hire a reputable mover.  During the peak moving season, the cost for professional moving services increase. Good movers are busy, so scheduling a move on your preferred pickup and delivery dates can be difficult. Avoid the temptation of hiring the first mover you find online offering a low estimate for a move on your selected dates. Research the company first. Hiring a reputable, licensed mover helps increase your protection against identity theft as well as moving scams.  (Scroll down to read more about moving scams.)
  2. Submit a Change of Address to the US Postal Service 10 days before your move. You don’t want anyone else receiving your mail.
  3. If you are selling your home, make sure mail and any documents with personal data are inaccessible during an open house.
  4. Moving is an ideal time to clean out old files and get rid of what is no longer needed, but do not throw any papers with sensitive data in the trash without first shredding. If you don’t already own one, you can buy a cross-cut shredder for under $30. It is money well spent.
  5. If possible, take your sensitive documents with you when moving rather than sending them on the moving truck. If you are unable to do so, make sure the documents are securely stored in a locked cabinet or container.
  6. After your move, closely monitor your credit card and bank statements for the next three months for any fraudulent charges. Consider enrolling in an identity theft and credit monitoring service. Request a free credit report a few months after your move and carefully review it for any new accounts opened in your name.

Take Precautions to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Moving Scam

As the peak moving season begins each year, we see consumer warnings and moving tips about how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam. The work of government officials and industry organizations put a stop to many of those moving scams. But news reports such as this one about the recent arrest of movers authorities say robbed customers’ by picking up their possessions and never returning them prove you must still take precautions. (See the latest news about moving scams.)

These moving tips and red flag warnings provided remain as relevant today as they were in 2013.  Read the tips and research movers before you hire one.

Protect yourself and your property. Taking a few extra precautions can make the difference between a successful, stress-free move and a nightmare that continues for months to come.

Relocating a Business: Moving Downtown Could Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage

Relocating a Business: Moving Downtown Could Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage

Relocating a Business Downtown

When relocating a business, choosing the right location to move to is the most important decision you will make. Although the best location to increase your chances for success will depend on your specific business, a move downtown could give you a competitive advantage.

According to a recently released report, “Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown” by Smart Growth America and Cushman & Wakefield, hundreds of companies across the country are moving from suburban areas to walkable downtown locations. This trend is spreading throughout the country, not only in large metropolitan areas, but small cities as well, and the diversity of the types of businesses is as wide as the sizes of the companies.

Although research for the report focused on companies moving downtown, the report did note that the trend is actually broader; many companies are moving to and building walkable, transit-oriented suburban areas as well.

What’s driving many companies to relocate to more densely populated, walkable locations?

The Common Themes

Through interviews with representatives from more than 40 of 500 companies studied, Smart Growth America found common themes explaining why companies choose to relocate downtown. They want to attract and retain talented employees and be closer to customers and business partners. They want to build brand identity and company culture, and support creative collaboration. Some see moving to and investing in downtown areas as a way to support their triple-bottom lines and centralize their operations.

Downtown areas serving as live-work-play communities provide a more ideal environment for it. They are vibrant and engaging communities where creativity and innovation thrive. These downtown areas are where the action is, and where the millennials want to be.

Relocating a Business for the Millennials

The Millennial generation, those who are currently about 18-34 years of age, is the largest in the U.S., representing roughly a third of the country’s workforce. That percentage is expected to grow in the next few years.

The educated and connected millennials prefer walkable live-work-play communities rich in amenities. They want to live and work in a creative, innovative and engaged environment filled with energy, the type of environment found in modern walkable downtown areas.

The Competitive Advantage to Moving Downtown

Although a move downtown is not right for every business, many companies see it as a competitive advantage. They are in a better position to attract and maintain talented employees who prefer to live and work in walkable, amenity-rich urban areas. A move to the city center also puts companies in closer proximity to their customers and business partners.

As one interviewed business representative said, “The move is an intentional strategy to be in the thick of other innovative companies and business leaders, not watching from the sidelines.”

Read the report to find out more about companies moving to walkable downtown areas.

Relocating Your Business? Make it a Trouble Free Move

When relocating a business, you want to successfully complete the move with minimal impact to operations during the process. Careful planning and management of the move will help ensure it.

Whether you are relocating a business from the suburbs to downtown or from one state to another, let Chipman Relocation & Logistics handle the details for you. Chipman provides turnkey relocation services for 2,200+ businesses annually, and has built a solid reputation through the years for successful commercial moves. Contact usto discuss your business move.

The Best Time to Move before the End of Summer is Quickly Passing

Posted on April 15 by admin

If you plan to move sometime in the next few months and haven’t set an exact date yet, make plans quickly. The best time to move before the end of summer is now, or within the next month or so. The peak moving season will be here soon.

Peak Moving Season not the Best Time to Move

The busiest moving times generally run from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Many people want to move during summer so demand is high, especially June through August. According to a  United Van Lines study, about 40 percent of all domestic household goods moves take place between May 1 and August 31.

Because demand is so high, many movers increase costs during those busy times, so you could pay more. Plus, scheduling your chosen pickup and delivery dates can be difficult during the peak moving months. Although the best movers will be able to accommodate your schedule, additional charges may apply.

You can find better deals and more flexibility when moving during the off-peak season, which is September through April. That off-peak time is quickly running out, though. If you are ready to schedule your move,  contact your mover now to see if your preferred dates are available and how much, if any, you could save by scheduling different dates.

Moving During the Summer

If you do plan to move during the peak season, try to schedule the move for mid-month during the middle of the week, when demand is not quite as high. More people want to move on a weekend at the end of the month, so movers are busier.

What is the Best Day for Moving?

Because the weekends are busiest for movers, avoid moving on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Schedule your move on a Tuesday or Wednesday, if possible. It could save you a few dollars. Call your movers and ask.

Get Help with Your Move

Any move, even ones planned several months in advanced, can be hectic. Moving in less than six weeks may seem nearly impossible, but it is actually quite common. In fact, many people move with only two weeks or less notice.

However, a move without months of planning does require more focus, organization and flexibility. Use  moving tips and a checklist. They can save time and your sanity. And hire full service movers, if your budget allows.

full service moving company can provide complete door-to-door relocation. That includes planning the move as well as packing and unpacking services. It will cost a little more, but enables you to focus on the many other details you must take care of while the professionals handle your move.

If you’re unable to pay the additional costs, enlist the help of family and friends. You will need it.

Hyatt, Marriott Join Race to Woo Millennials With Hip High-Tech Hotel Brands

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Major Chains Hope to Lure Lucrative Generational Crowd With Rooftop Bars, Spartan Accommodations, Free WiFi

January 28, 2015

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Ah, the elusive millennial generation cohort. Employers spend millions of dollars researching millennial goals and beliefs to try and figure out what they want in a job. The housing industry can’t decide why they’re not buying houses like their parents did. (No savings for down payments? Student debt? They just prefer to rent?)

With millennial choices holding such a large sway over the economy, it’s not surprising that hotel chains have joined the rush of industries trying to crack the code and appeal to the cohort roughly defined as anyone born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.

The latest lodging company racing to retool their portfolios to target the millennial and millennial-minded traveler is Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H), which this week rolled out its Hyatt Centric brand. Hyatt joins a growing group of lodging companies making major changes to their hotel properties and services in hopes of capturing a bigger share of the millennial market, a customer segment that already accounts for around one-third of all business travel expenses, according to Hyatt.

This summer, the chain plans to unveil more than 15 Hyatt Centric locations, which will include already open and previously announced hotels in New York, Paris, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami, among others. Hyatt said its new brand targets “a multigenerational group comprised of travelers who view their hotel as more than a place to stay.”

“From listening to our guests, we learned there was an opportunity to better meet the needs of a large group of travelers that we call ‘modern explorers,” said Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian. “These travelers are looking for a cosmopolitan vibe in the center of the action, so we worked to test various elements in real time, in real hotels over the past two years. Hyatt Centric is the culmination of that work.”

Hyatt’s new Centric line follows last week’s announcement of a new joint venture between Rockbridge and TPG Hospitality to develop and operate a Marriott International-flagged property in California’s Silicon Valley slated to open in 2016 targeting the same cohort. Growth plans for the AC Hotels By Marriott brand include more than 50 hotels to open within the next three years throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

Whether millennial or multigenerational, the Generation Y segment has made a strong impact on hotel design and branding over the last year, with Radisson, Marriott, Hilton, Loews, Montage and even Best Western having already unveiled brands aimed at millennials,

The new hotel brands launched by the major chains include Canopy by Hilton, Radisson Red, The Pendry, from Montage Hotels; The Vib (pronounced “vibe”) from Best Western; and OE Collection from Loews Hotels, and Marriott’s Edition boutique brand, a collaboration with famed hotelier Ian Schrager. In addition to the Marriott and Hyatt offerings, brands expected to see a big roll out in 2015 include Marriott’s new Moxy Hotels, Virgin Hotels and Tommie Hotels.

The AC Hotels brand has been around since many millennials became adults. Founded by Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalán in 1998, the chain gained a foothold in Europe and changed its name to AC Hotels By Marriott in 2011. Marriott International in mid-2013 announced it would roll out AC Hotels in North America as its first select-service introduced in the U.S. in 15 years.

Whether or not they are identified as targeting millennials in brand marketing descriptions, these new offerings are targeting cost-conscious and experience-focused younger travelers in their 20s and 30s, accustomed to staying at hostels, boutique inns and rooms booked through Airbnb and other social media.

The new hotel concepts are distinguished by smaller room sizes, many under 200 square feet, compared with the industry’s standard room size of 250 to 300 square feet, as well as spare design such as minimally adorned concrete floors, exposed columns and other structural elements, and modern “industrial-chic” furniture.

AC Hotels and other concept brands first emerged in the innovation-minded and fragmented lodging markets of Europe and Asia and have crossed the ocean to become new concepts for U.S. investors hoping to capitalize on the trend while increasing their returns, according to Howard Roth, global real estate leader for EY, and Michael Fishbin, the firm’s global hospitality and leisure leader.

Shorter construction times, smaller rooms and so-called “nontraditional spaces” can lower development costs and boost operating margins compared with traditional full-service hotels, according to Fishbin. For example, hotel chains can cut costs by reconfiguring pricy large rooms with heavy furniture and full-service restaurants, replacing them with smaller room, food options offering convenient ‘grab-and-go’ food, offering free Wi-Fi and a mobile-friendly check-in service.

The new products and concepts often emphasize lobbies and common areas, lounges and bars as focal points, creating more revenue-generating areas of the hotel outside of the rooms, with designs focused on attracting local demand, according to EY’s 2015 Global Hospitality Insights.

Low-cost hostel/lifestyle/budget concepts are now becoming available in both major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami, where traditional hotel rates are prohibitively expensive, as well as in secondary markets such as Detroit, New Orleans, Nashville and Portland, where unique cultural elements can serve as a huge draw for millennials.

“Millennials demand instant gratification, including speed, efficiency and convenience,” Roth and Fishbin both said. “It trumps the importance of face-to-face contact or friendly service.”

In fact, mobile device applications such as TripAdvisor and Yelp make it more likely travelers will book their rooms at the last minute and post their experiences and complaints online, putting hotels are under the gun more than ever to deliver their best service.

Kristine Rose, vice president of brands at Hyatt, said these travelers “are truly a savvy, curious group.”

“Their expectations are simple, but their standards are high and they want their experience to be intuitive and smart,” Rose said. “They want options and all the must-haves from a full-service hotel but without any fuss or complications.”

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Don’t do any long-distance moving into a home that isn’t clean and tidy

January 27, 2015

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If you’re about to trek across state lines or even from one coast to another for a major relocation, you’ll want to minimize as much aggravation as you can. This means you need to avoid any work possible on moving day, since you and your state-to-state movers will be pretty busy unpacking and organizing. Don’t move into a messy house – make sure things are pristine when you get there.

The best way to ensure that your new digs are clean is to do it yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually possible when long-distance moving is involved. If you can’t easily get to the new place, consider hiring a local cleaning company to give things a once over before you arrive with your boxes and furniture. Search online or contact your real estate agent to be certain there’s a reliable company involved with the clean up.

You can also remove the responsibility of cleaning from yourself by putting the cleanliness in writing. For instance, one of the closing stipulations can be that the old owner needs to clean (or hire cleaners) to get the house in tip-top shape before you set foot in it. Make sure to include language guaranteeing a penalty for non-compliance or else you and your movers might be kicking dust bunnies and trash out of the way to make room for your possessions.