Planning is the key ingredient to a successful business relocation. Just as your new office space must support your current and future business growth, so must your telephone system. An office relocation is a perfect opportunity to take a serious look at your telecommunications system and its effectiveness in meeting your needs and growth objectives.
The following are tips to help make moving your business telephone system as easy as possible for your business.
- Call your phone and Internet providers and check availability of services. Sometimes you may not be able to duplicate services (such as DSL) in a new location. Ask for lead times for installation. This usually will range from 2 to 12 weeks depending on the services you require. Make sure service orders get placed with enough lead time to allow for possible delays due to facilities problems. Document all service order numbers and contacts.
- Call your telephone system vendor to get a quote and make arrangements to move your telephone and voice mail system. They typically need two to three weeks advanced notice to schedule.
- Be sure the wiring you have installed at your new location is of the proper type and uses the proper connectors for phone (and for data if you are having this installed at the same time). Have your phone vendor verify that the telephone jacks are appropriate for the phones. Test all connections before moving your entire office to the new location.
- There are several options when it comes to message delivery. Beyond standard voice-mail, there is unified messaging, a feature that allows e-mail, voice mail and fax mail to be delivered to a single “mailbox” on each individual computer. Choosing which feature is best for your business depends on your company’s size and structure. It’s vital to make sure your customers can leave a message that will be returned promptly. Create a floor plan. Label it with the location of all telephones, fax machines, networked computers, printers, scanners, network copiers, time clocks, and any other network appliances. Pick a climate controlled and secure location for your servers and for the control unit of your telephone system. Label all staff locations so your vendor can place phones in the correct place.
- Contact your IT vendor – You will need to move your data network, and this may involve changing public IP addresses. Your IT vendor should look at cabling to make sure there are provisions for all your IT gear. If you have a VoIP phone system, then you’ll need the LAN in place before you can activate the phones.
- Determine how you’d like to handle telephone calls, faxes and e-mail during the move. If your move is local, you may be able to get dual service for a week. If the move is not local, you can set up forwarding on your main number and send calls to a voice mailbox or cell phone.
- If the move requires a telephone number change, decide how you want to handle the old numbers. Most phone companies will provide a reference of calls for one year. Contact your phone service provider to make sure that this is provided for all published numbers. Make sure your telephone number is correct on your Web site and any on-line listings. To avoid last-minute problems on the day of the move, make sure the telephone lines at the new location are working properly before you move your phone system. Most companies tend to not notify their telephone vendor and carrier until the last minute. This can cause major problems especially if you have a T/1/PRI or data circuit that needs to be moved. These circuits can take weeks to relocate and redesign, so you must notify your vendors early on in the relocation process to ensure a hassle-free move. Verify and check individual telephone numbers and their locations, especially for each fax, modem, and any other special devices you have on your system.
- Be sure the wiring you have installed at your new location is of the proper type and uses the proper connectors for phone. The same holds true for data if you are having this installed at the same time. Have your phone vendor verify that the telephone jacks are appropriate for the phones. Test all connections before moving your entire office to the new location.
Moving a business is a difficult chore, but if you plan ahead, organize, and get your vendors on board, the disruption can be minimized.