Confusing Office Move Message

The following message, which originated in an international technology company, was intended to inform new team members about their upcoming move to a different office location. But its stream-of-conscious thinking and jumbled connections leave the receiver confused as to what is expected and how to respond.

Your Task. Study the complete message. Then revise it with (a) a clear introduction that states the purpose of the message, (b) a body with properly announced lists, and (c) a conclusion that includes a call to action and a deadline. Improve the organization by chunking similar material together. What questions must be answered? What tasks should be performed? Make it easy for receivers to respond by “down editing,” i.e., returning the message with their responses (in another color) interspersed among listed items. Finally, consider adding “you” view to the message. The message may be either an e-mail or a memo.


Hello everyone,

We’ll be moving new team members into a new location next week so there are things we need you to do to be ready for the move. For one thing, let me know which Friday you want your personal items moved. The possibilities are November 9 and 16. Also, if you have an ergonomic desk or chair you want moved, let me know. By the way, we’ll be sending boxes, labels, tape and a move map four or five days before the move date you choose, so let me know if this timeframe allows you enough time to pack your belongings. And if you are bringing office equipment from your current team to the new team, let me know. Remember that company policy allows you to take a workstation/laptop from your current team to the new workstation. So check with your admin and let me know what office equipment you will be bringing. Incidentally, your new workstation will have a monitor and peripherals.

You’ll need to do some things before the movers arrive. Make sure you put foam pads around your valuable, fragile items and then box them up. This includes things such as IT plaques, glass, or anniversary glass sculptures. If the glass things break, replacing them is expensive and the cost center is responsible for replacement. You may want to move them yourself and not have the movers do it.

Another thing–make sure you pack up the contents of all gray filing cabinets because movers do not move those. Also, write on the move map the number and delivery location of whiteboards, corkboards, and rolling cabinets. Most importantly, make sure you add a name label to all your belongings, such as desk phones, docking stations, peripherals, monitors, tables, ergonomic desks, ergonomic chairs, etc. If you see old move labels on recycled boxes, remove them or cross them out.

Get back to me ASAP. And by the way, the movers will arrive between 4 p.m. and midnight on the move date.


Thank you.


A possible solution is available for this newsletter bonus case study at the Instructor Premium Websites for any of the Guffey books: Business Communication: Process and Product; Essentials of Business Communication, and Business English. Look under the tab “Supplements and Solutions.” Or e-mail Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey at and request the solution.

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