Surviving an Office Move

If you have ever been involved in an office move, you know all too well how daunting and disrupting it can be.  Whether you are on the planning side of the move (HR, Facilities, Planning Committee, etc.) or being the one that has to move, the good news is that there are some very simple steps you can take to minimize the disruption and to make sure you are set up for success!

If You Are Planning A Move….


If you are on the move team, there are a zillion moving parts (no pun intended) from searching for and securing a space, space planning, equipment purchases, securing movers, setting a schedule, packing, unpacking and the list goes on. But please make sure that you include an ergonomic check-list since planning ergo into your move is one of the key ingredients for a successful move and a happy and thriving team post move.

If you are an employee being relocated, then you may or may not be dong your own packing, but moving will give you a chance to clean house and start over in your new space.   And if your workstation wasn’t up to par ergonomically, now is the chance to make your set up ergo-friendly.

Some Things to Consider Pre Move

  1. Choosing chairs that are fully adjustable.  This includes chairs with adjustable back rests and lumbar support, seat depth that is adjustable (seat slider), a generous height range (15 – 23″ is ideal), a 5 point base, adjustable and removable arm rests.
  2. Sit Stand Desk Options.  This may include issuing sit/stand desks as the new standard for employees, retrofitting existing desks with height adjustable legs or desk mount sit/stand desktops or sprinkling a few sit/stand desks around the office to provide the option to stand if seated desks are issued.
  3. Offer a Choice of Keyboards & Mice.  Not everyone has the same preferences for keyboards and mice.  It would spare a lot of headaches, or in the case, hand and wrist aches to offer a few ergonomic keyboards and mice as standard and let the employee choose what is most comfortable for them.
  4. Include Accessories for Mobile Devices.  Tablets and phones are making their way into the workplace.  So simple things like tablet and phone stands to prop up the screen can make all the difference in the world.  Laptop risers for employees who use the laptop as their second screen can mean the difference between neck and back pain vs., comfort.

All Too Often, Ergonomics Not Planned Into the Move

Not all that long ago, a prominent company was putting the final touches on their new workspace before moving over a thousand employees.  They asked us to conduct an ergonomic walk through of the new space before they purchased any of their equipment.  Now I want to pause to say how excited we were b/c all too often ergonomics is left out of the equation.

The space was truly beautiful and the architect did an amazing job with natural light and open space.  The standard issue for each employees was going to be a fixed height seated desk with a height adjustable crank side desk (return), chair, keyboard, mouse, monitor and task lamp.  There were a few problems:

  • The chair they had in mind was very limited in it’s adjustability and back pain was the number one reported issue at this particular site.
  • The return desk which was height adjustable was not deep enough to fit 27″ monitors along with a keyboard and mouse.
  • The crank table required over 100 rotations just to get to a standing height.
  • There was so much light that task lamps weren’t needed.

After some simple analysis and planning, we changed the chair type, suggested that the main desk be height adjustable (electric), suggested 3 different keyboards to be offered as the standard keyboard and took the task lamps off of the shopping list.  The grand total in savings?  Nearly $500,000.

Another company moved 800 employees and asked us to come in and do post move ergo sweeps to help people get settled into their new space.  Employees were happy that they had sit/stand desks, but quickly discovered that the depth of their desk was not deep enough to handle their thunderbolt monitors and begged for keyboard trays to create more distance between them and their monitors.  If only we had been consulted with ahead of time, this fiasco could have easily been avoided.

There are many stories like this….if only…….but the great news is planning teams are getting savvy to the fact that planning up front with an ergonomist can make a huge difference in the move’s success (as everyone settles in comfortably) and save tens of thousands of dollars and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Post Move Ergo Tips:

Set up your workstation correctly from the get go immediately upon moving.  This includes:

  1. Making sure your chair is set up so that your hips are level with our slightly higher than your knees
  2. Having feet firmly planted on the floor or a foot rest.
  3. Typing with keyboard level with your slightly lower than your keyboard.
  4. Placing your mouse within easy reach.
  5. Being able to view your monitor without having to look up or down – your head and neck should be comfortably balanced over the plane of your spine.
  6. No glare on your screens
  7. Using an anti-fatigue mat if you use a sit/stand desk.
  8. Asking for help if something doesn’t feel right when you settle into your new space.

If you are on the move team at your company, please feel free to Contact Us anytime for a free move consultation.  We’ve worked with thousands of employees pre and post move to help everyone settle into their new digs with comfort and joy!

Until the next time!

Vivienne & Andrew









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