August 27, 2015

The building out of new office space should be an incredibly exciting moment for your company.  Whether you’ve outgrown a current space or you’re opening up another location, this type of project represents a great transitional event for your firm.

But while in the midst of a build out, any sense of joy or accomplishment is wiped out by the sheer load of to-do items associated with such a project.  Every aspect is overwhelming, with IT being especially onerous given its importance to your business and foreign-ness (to most people).

We’re here to help pull back the curtain on some of the typical mysteries when it comes to how you go about building out a new IT infrastructure.

IT Room
This is not a closet, or a corner of someone’s office.  The IT room is the central repository of your core technology equipment and services (such as Internet and/or phone circuits).  You should designate an area of the new space that can be physically secured, has ample electrical capacity, and allows for cool air to circulate and hot air to vent out.  You should treat the IT room like a safe that guards your company’s most valuable assets.

Voice & Data Cabling
Any wireless connectivity you want in the new space will still require physical cables of some sort.  And depending on how much data your users will download and upload on a daily basis, nothing produces a more stable connection that a physical cable.  While you may save a good bit of money by installing the fewest cables possible, we’ve found with few exceptions that companies ultimately end up installing the voice and data cables.  But doing so after the fact makes the job even more expensive than doing it right off the bat.

Little known fact for you: all of your electronic devices will need a power connection.  We’re being a bit sarcastic, but given how this should surprise no one, you’d be amazed how many people forget about installing enough power for their devices/machines/equipment.  Complicating this a bit is that some machines, such as servers, malfunction printers, A/V systems, should have dedicated circuits, so as not to be sharing power with any other machines.  This will minimize power surges to those machines, which can easily blow out power units on your IT equipment.

We understand that you want cool/funky/pretty furniture in your space.  But your selection of furniture should reflect the needs of your IT and your employees.  Desk space should be large enough to accommodate users’ devices and their physical cable connections (both Internet & power).  You’d be surprised how important the choice of swiveling desk chair is for computer users with two or three monitors.  The new office furniture will inevitably contribute to the comfort, productivity, and collaboration of your employees.

Wireless connectivity has advanced to a point where it can serve as the primary option for entire offices.  While not the recommended option – especially for voice services – if you want to go “fully” wireless, proper planning is a must.  Given the flood of wireless signals that will saturate your new space from building neighbors, a proper plan and layout will ensure you maximize the capabilities of your wireless access points, maintain a secure network, and allow users full mobility throughout your office.

The new office space will most likely be your corporate home for years, so you should plan for your IT accordingly.  While you can’t always predict where technology will evolve, you do know that for your business to compete, your IT will be part of the solution.  Keep these five areas in mind during any build out your technology should have the capacity to grow right along with your company.