Your IT partner may be the best project manager for the job.
By Julio Aversa & Bryan Chiasson
A few years ago, one of our clients called to let us know that they’d be renovating their offices and asked if MBU would act as the project managers. This wasn’t the first time we’d been consulted on a renovation, even though we don’t have a single architect or #konmari expert on staff. While most IT companies consider themselves providers, we like to think of ourselves as trusted business advisors. In other words, we’re not just selling you computers and making sure your internet’s working. Our goal is to make our clients more productive and their businesses more profitable—in whatever way possible, which includes proactively thinking about office infrastructure. Post-COVID, you may be reconsidering your own space: downsizing or creating multiple satellite offices to reduce the number of employees in one space on any given day. According to a recent CNBC article, many tech companies are buying office space as an incentive to entice top talent. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple all added office space in New York City during the pandemic and many of our clients are thinking about how to safely get employees back to the office, where it’s easier to collaborate. Whether you’re downsizing, upsizing, changing locations or are looking to renovate your current space, here are some changes you should consider:
Ventilation: Proper ventilation can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens. If you're relocating, look for an office space with windows that open to help with airflow. If that's not possible, consider an upgraded office climate control system.
Touchfree doors: Automatic doors using fobs or facial recognition can reduce touch-shared surfaces, and information on employee entry and exiting of the building can assist in contact tracing—with data stored in a cloud-based server. Motion sensors can turn on lights and bathroom faucets, and elevators can be ordered and controlled through smartphones.
Workspaces: Open concept environments are easier to clean and limit the number of surfaces employees touch. Invest in individual desks rather than team tables that can be set farther apart while distancing measures are in effect or arranged closer together in future to create "team tables". Think about outlet locations to ensure easy accessibility (floor outlets work best, provided they don’t disrupt traffic flow). Armless, fixed-height chairs also reduce the time spent cleaning if employees are sharing workspaces.
Boardrooms: The big draw to return to the office will be space and opportunity to collaborate. But boardrooms will likely hold fewer staff at once, so consider multiple, smaller boardrooms rather than one massive boardroom. Think also about acoustics, smart monitors so meetings can include both in-office and remote staff, and intelligent video cameras that can detect who's speaking and project their face on the screen for all to see.
Kitchen: Consider smart appliances that will allow for touch-free use. Make sure the wifi connection is strong enough to support these machines, and that appliances are connected to cloud-based servers.
Equipment: If employees will be dividing their time between on-site and remote work, consider investing in desktop monitors for workspaces. Employees can travel with laptops, but plug into the monitor while at the office, allowing for two screens, which can make work more efficient. Headsets help allow staff to take video and phone calls even in open-concept spaces (rather than having to move to another room), and ergonomic chairs can (literally) support your team’s posture after more than a year of slouching over their computers from the couch.
Have other office renovation questions? Let us help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.