5 Common IT mistakes when moving office
1. Location, Location and Location.
Consider your connectivity options when you choose where to locate your office. Most (if not all) of London can receive ADSL internet, a broadband connection provided through the copper wires that once only carried voice. However, ADSL is not capable of providing the data speed and bandwidth required by many businesses today.
The need for internet bandwidth has grown within business, particularly in light of hosted services such as MS365 email and especial VoIP telecommunications. Fibre Optic cables directly wired to the business premises and even newer wireless high-speed technologies have become more widely available and increasingly affordable. However, these technologies are not always available in every location. Wireless technologies sometimes require a “line-of-sight” to a tall transmitter building (usually in the city centre) and Fibre Optic networks require street work and enabled local telecom exchanges.
The cost of installation and running can vary depending on whether other users exist nearby. Ask your IT Support provider for independent advice as a particular Internet Service Provider has no interest in informing you of rival alternative providers in the area. IT companies in London will be able to advise you knowledgeably about what’s possible in your prospective location.
2. The "WAYLEAVE AGREEMENT" - The Landlords Trap
Unless you are familiar with British lease agreements, you’re likely not familiar with the term “Wayleave”. In the USA this is called an “Easement” and concerns the Right-of-way (easements of way) that the tenant has regarding the areas of the property that they won’t be using.
In simple terms, Wayleaves allow a tenant to run cables through walls, halls and corridors that they are not renting, so that they can install and enjoy a new internet connection, for example. The agreement is between the actual property owner (the landlord) and the supplier (the Internet Service Provider) – it does not involve the tenant (you). Therefore, the landlord and their solicitor are entitled to charge the tenant for the legal costs accrued when coming to an agreement. They also have no obligation to agree to anything at all.
So, if your business relies on the internet, try to agree on the Landlord’s charges and secure an agreement to run cables where needed, before you sign the Lease. Otherwise you may find yourself held to ransom by your landlord.
However long you have been told it takes to install an internet connection, or any of the other building and office fit-out works, you should have a contingency allowance for unforeseen events. Suggesting that fibre internet can be installed in 3-6 weeks is technically correct but generally unlikely. Complications can easily arise after a survey reveals the route cables must take. Wayleave may need to be agreed and Lawyers, landlords and providers can fail to appreciate your urgency to get set up and moving.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps especially important to acknowledge that these plans may be disrupted and to put in place multiple alternative internet connection types. If they are ultimately not required, they can still act as an ongoing backup technology if the main internet connection fails in the future.
On the day of the actual move you can expect disruption and down-time. Your business IT support team may be able to help minimise this down-time and think of ways to minimise disruption to your business, particularly if you are already using flexible hosted services.
4. Check the cabling
Structured Cat5 or Cat6 cabling may appear to be in place in your new office, but aged cables and sockets can frequently fail. Ask your IT provider for a quote to provide cable-testing and agree with the Landlord (in advance of signing the lease), who is responsible for repairing failed cables. Moving office is an expensive project and unforeseen expenses are likely to add stress to an already stressful task.
5. Space Planning
A good office planner will have designed the locations of worker desks properly, and specified the amount of data-ports and power sockets needed. Ideally this planning is carried out well before any final decoration of the office. New cabling and wiring is disruptive and expensive and getting the plans right from the outset will help keep budget over-runs under control.
Similarly, the location of any servers and networking equipment should be practically placed in a suitable location that is cooled and dry, and where all office-cabling can emerge for patching. Servers and other fan-cooled equipment can produce a constant noise that is troublesome for workers located too close by. Because of this, a dedicated server room would be ideal. If that’s not possible, a server cabinet may be a sufficient compromise.
Always remember though, the location for servers should be:
provided with sufficient power sockets and wattage
secure and safe from unwanted access