George Town Interiors

Designing Your Office IT and Communications Network

Whether your business is quickly growing or you are looking for a better way to manage all your existing computers and equipment, networking is the ideal way for all your technology and staff to work together efficiently.

Installing a computer network allows you to share files and software between computers and co-workers. This means that anything from a Word document to a broadband internet connection can be shared between everyone in your office and used on any smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Your network can also be used to back up data from all your office computers on a network attached storage device (NAS). These devices usually have their own hard drives and can be configured and managed through the network with a web browser.

Setting up a network will require some basic equipment. You will need to set up a router, which may be wired or wireless, to connect up your computers, printers and other equipment. You will also need to have a cable that connects your router to your server.

Before setting up a network, take some time to plan how it will fit in with your office space. Keeping the workspace tidy can be difficult when a lot of equipment and cables are being used. It's hard to keep a professional looking office with unsightly cables running all over the place. Even worse, is having a rat's nests of cables tangled under a desk. These look disorganised, get in the way of proper cleaning and can even pose a danger if someone trips over them. Where ever possible, reduce and hide cables. Here are some tips for keeping those wires under control:

Keep Cables off the Floor

Cables can be attached to the underside of a desk top, run behind walls or hidden behind baseboards. Keep those cables where they can't be seen and they won't get in the way of cleaning. Hardware stores sell finishing nails with hooks to hold cables against a wall, so if you can't get the cables completely off the floor, at least be sure to have them secured snugly along the wall. Cables should never be allowed to run through the middle of a room.

Go Wireless

Wireless devices allow for flexible seating so that you can work from any station, take your work into a meeting room or relax on the couch. It also allows for flexible seating arrangements that make the most efficient use of your office space. Workers with wireless lap tops can work in smaller cubicle stations and make use of a designated private room when necessary.

Wireless networking also reduces the need to have cables interfering with work space and is generally much easier to maintain in the long run. Whenever possible, use a wireless mouse, keyboard and printer. Not only will this look better, it will be easier to reorganise office space in the future if there are no cables to interfere with mobility.

Less is More

The less equipment you have, the simpler it is to connect all your technology. Cut down on clutter by getting rid of any old or redundant equipment. Reduce the amount of equipment and cables by combining functions. If you have an old school photocopier and fax machine, consider purchasing a printer that also acts as a scanner. Desktop telephones can also be eliminated, along with their costs, by using your cell phone or an application on your computer to send and receive calls.

Bundle Up

Even with the most modern equipment, it's almost impossible to completely avoid cables in an office. Corral power and networking cables into bundles that run parallel so they cannot loop around each other and tangle. Use zap straps or a roll of Velcro tape to hold cables together and keep them in place. Binding clips can be used to attach them to the backs of desks so they don't get in the way of vacuums or chair wheels.

Where desk space is limited and your work requires the use of a lot of small devices that need to connect to your computer, use a USB hub. This device allows you to plug in multiple gadgets and connect a single USB cable to your computer. The USB hub can be kept on a shelf over your desk with the cable neatly behind your computer. This way all your devices can be charged or connected without reducing your desk space.