The Post Pandemic Office Network
And now that office will re-open; where has it been?
For many of us, it has been at home. For others, there was a skeleton staff in a mostly empty space. In some cases, the empty office got closed and that minimum crew has a much smaller office. For a couple of our clients all operations got moved to homes, even mail, and now management is looking to rent a new space.
Two strong factors are going to cause a major change in how the office will look after Covid.
Owners do not like paying high real estate prices. A smaller office saves money.
Workers do not like commutes. Working from home can be a better quality of life.
So, why have an office at all? As people discovered during Covid, there is a limit to what one can do remotely. Some place was needed to send and receive mail, hold in person meetings, get away from home and focus, print large numbers of large documents and many other practical things. Some of the software could only work on a network with a server and employees were running their in office computer via remote control. Some people working “from home” moved to local biz hub services where one can rent a desk.
The new office is looking smaller. The few permanent desks have migrated to rooms with a door that closes. The conference room has become more important. People who drop into the office only a couple days a week are working at drop-in desks.
This has some consequences for the computer network.
People who drop in and use an available workstation need to have all their software and data available when they do so. Documents saved on your local machine in the office or at home, is a practice that needs to stop.
The network printer has become even more of a critical tool. The desktop printer is probably no longer something an office wants to support.
The modern conference room screen has become a major tool for blending meetings with local and on line participants.
Most of these things have been figured out to some extent over the year of quarantine. All of the technology was available and deployed in many offices before shelter in place.
So now do things need to change on the network end as we open back up?
That depends on how the back end is set up. Many offices have already moved to Office 365 with SharePoint or Google Suite, and that helps a lot. As we open back up and staff starts to spend some time in the office and some time remote, we will find out how well it all has been set up.
And we all do not just write documents. The modern work environment includes cost estimating data bases, contact relationship management, engineering and design software and a cluster of other tools that can not be relegated to the cloud or rolled into a Sales Force app. Making sure that such things are seamlessly available inside and outside of the office requires a design that meets your office needs.
A proper IT plan takes into account every piece of software, who uses it and where they use it and all of the data locations needed to have reliable, high performance setups. This often includes the employee who needs to disconnect from all networks, yet have some of their data with them, such as a laptop on an airplane. Usually, the answer is a blend of services and in office equipment that makes the data available and backs it all up.
The answer is not to let each employee use their own method.
A mix of good methods is a bad network and almost always leads to some data loss. The employer wants to have all the data on their system all the time, and when not, have it restored automatically and always backed up, even on laptops in the field.
We all left those offices in a bit of a hurry. Now that we open them back up it is a good time to replace the temporary fixes and work arounds with somethings systematic that will be functional, working in the office and remotely for years to come.
Let East Bay Computer Services assist your business with recovering, restoring and setting up your post-pandemic office network.
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