The Nitty-Gritty IT Considerations of Choosing a New Office Space

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 1/28/14 2:44 PM

Empty office space with boxes and a desk - moving into a new officeMoving to a new office space is one of the most exciting and most stressful times in the life of any small business. The potential of a new space presents lucrative opportunities for growth. At the same time, the interruption that a move creates can be expensive, time consuming, and filled with unknowns.


As a business owner, your biggest priority is probably restoring your day-to-day workflow. But don't rush the initial stages of the move. The more time you spend planning, preparing, and evaluating your options, the more obstacles you can avoid down the road.  While there are already hundreds of things you should consider when setting up a new office, make sure IT considerations are part of your list.


If the new office space you select is not configured to support your existing IT needs and future goals, it creates headaches from day one. Over time, if the problems do not get addressed they can lead to unreliable IT systems and constrain your capacity for growth. Often times it is far more expensive and disruptive to address these issues later down the road rather than when you have a chance before the move. If your company relies on IT in any capacity, you need to confirm that your new space has the technical resources present to keep it running at peak performance. Use this simple guide to help you make the right decision.


Selecting a New Office Space

Keep these features in mind when you are evaluating any potential new office space.

  • How is the space wired? Does the existing wiring meet the needs of your present IT infrastructure, and your goals for it in the future?

  • Do you have convenient access to the central location of the wiring? If you need to access it quickly and easily, how convenient would it be? Would you need to contact the building manager, or would you have complete access yourself?

  • Is the wiring installed properly on a 2-post rack? Can you tell if the wiring is terminated properly on the back end?

  • Inquire about what Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are in the building. This is often overlooked, don’t assume a high bandwidth low cost broadband provider can get your service.

  • Do you need a server room or data center? If so, what options does you new space provide? Does the area you select have enough space, the right temperature controls, and the necessary wiring?

  • How many electrical outlets do you have access to, and how are they positioned throughout the space? Does the location of the outlets conform to your general vision of how the space will be set up? Are they the right type and voltage for current or future needs?


Preparing Your New Space for a Move

Finding the right space is just the first step. There are also important jobs you need to complete before, during, and immediately after your move.

  • If the wiring is CAT5 consider upgrading the wiring to CAT6 (CAT-huh? The different cables you use basically determines the maximum speed of your interent) to insure yourself this important component of the physical layer of your network is ready for current and future technologies. Using bad network wiring is like putting bald tires on a car and expecting it to perform.

  • Properly install a wiring rack that is tailored to the size of your business.

  • Prepare your data center by installing shelves in rack or use platforms so that servers and other crucial components do not sit on the floor. Install or update the available climate controls as necessary, and be sure that your data center equipment is installed and oriented in a way that facilitates maintenance.

  • Never install anything next to a sprinkler, sink or other water source. If critical components are located near these water sources, seriously consider having a contractor move them for you.

  • Plan the move of your IT systematically. There are steps to take when the space is empty, once desks have been moved in, and once individual employees have set up their work stations. Try not to lag behind or race ahead at any step in the process. Be sure the internet is tested, purchase any new or redundant systems and get them installed ahead of time.


If you do not have specific experience setting up an IT infrastructure from the ground up, seek out professional help. A qualified IT partner can help you evaluate potential spaces, prepare the space to accommodate your existing IT infrastructure, and plan for upgrades and improvements in the future. In the rush to get moved in and back to work, this kind of focused attention ensures that everything is set up correctly and nothing is overlooked.


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Topics: Startup