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The wireless office

The wireless office

There has been plenty of discussion around wireless technology in the office, but businesses should carefully consider both the pros and cons before deciding whether a wireless or fixed network would best suit the needs of their business.

The most obvious benefit is the removal of a physical connection to desks, making flexible working a possibility (increasing productivity and staff satisfaction by doing so) as well as allowing employees to make the best use of alternative spaces within an office.

The Aztec team has worked with numerous businesses when implementing wireless technology in their office – we have outlined below the primary considerations for businesses looking to make the switch, whether as part of a refurbishment project or a full office fit-out.

Is your Wi-Fi connection sufficient?

The first question to ask is whether your Wi-Fi is sufficient to handle demands placed upon it by a wireless office. In some cases, the answer will be no. While vast improvements to 4G and the advancement of 5G is good news, some businesses will be unable to access sufficient Wi-Fi to support an entire workforce. This is particularly likely for companies whose employees typically share large files, images and presentations, whereas for businesses whose files are mostly limited to word documents and spreadsheets going wireless is likely to be more feasible.

 Supporting flexible working and boosting productivity

Many organisations now operate flexible working policies, allowing employees to work from home for all or part of the week. And for those businesses that have put a lot of thought and consideration into the space their staff use each day, with breakout space and quiet zones for example, a wireless set-up allows employees to make the best use of the space they have available to them.

The ability to work from anywhere with access to the necessary files and information is also a significant benefit in terms of boosting productivity.

Using laptops instead of desktop computers

It may seem like an obvious point, but a for a wireless office to be worthwhile, employees’ will be best equipped with lightweight laptop computers rather than fixed desktop set-ups. Mobile devices and laptops allow employees to work flexibly with their devices, whether from home or elsewhere.

Wireless networks also facilitate collaboration between employees and make sharing information more straightforward.

Consider security and protecting company information

Where wireless networks are being accessed from outside the confines of a company’s four walls, they must consider the security implications to ensure that information remains private, with access to its networks protected.

However, with the right training for staff, password protected networks and security software, businesses can ensure that a wireless office is as secure as a fixed network set-up.

Experts recommend closed WiFi, authenticated and encrypted. Protected access limits connection to authenticated parties only and makes sure that information is encrypted. By using closed WiFi, there is much less risk of unauthorised access. Passwords should also be changed regularly.

Making expansion more straightforward

Operating a wireless system offers significant benefits in terms of expansion – when hiring new staff, it is as simple as connecting them to the network – no wires, no connections to consider.

Wireless and cloud technology can also free up space traditionally allocated to trunking and server rooms – meaning more desk space for expansion.

Health and safety

Wires and cabling add an additional consideration in terms of health and safety. It’s vital to ensure that cabling and wires are safely concealed and remain that way. For large companies with a lot of desks, going wireless offers an obvious benefit here, requiring vastly reduced cabling across open office floorplates.

Whatever the decision, whether wireless or connected, businesses should speak with an expert to ensure that the primary considerations have been taken into account, resulting in a solution that isn’t just fit for the present, but also for the future.

Aztec benefits from more than 30 years’ experience delivering fit-out and refurbishment projects, and will be able to advise on both the benefits and potential downsides of having a wireless office. Why not check out our recent project for Tata Consultancy Services, one of the most complex data installations ever undertaken by the Aztec team.

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