There are still plenty of small businesses out there where employees spend their days typing away diligently in individual cubicles. But if your office still runs that way, you’re missing the boat – on team collaboration, productivity, attracting talent, and worker satisfaction.
Today’s employees spend a lot of time out of the office, working and collaborating via mobile technology and video, and they prize the flexibility of working this way.
Cisco's study found that 23 percent of knowledge workers currently have the freedom to choose where they work, but another 44 percent expect to have that choice within the next three years.
Enabling a collaborative workplace with the right network
Probably the last thing you think of when you decide to create a more collaborative environment is the network. Maybe you look at office layout or new collaboration tools, for the desktop, meeting room or in the cloud.
However, the network is the backbone of this new collaborative working environment. Without the right network all this other cool stuff is going to struggle.
Here are our top tips to make the new collaborative working environment work at its best:
1. Redesign workspaces to be flexible and multi-purpose to maximise space
Why have a meeting room sat empty for 50% of the time? As well as making the floor plan and furniture multipurpose, ensure your network access adapts too. Make sure wifi capacity can adapt to changing usage density and place network points in locations that will work in multiple workspace layouts
2. Don’t let lunch break social media updates and online catch-up TV slow your business down.
You don’t want lockdown (after all a positive tweet about the business is a good thing, and consider the marketing and customer service teams, who use social media to keep in touch with customers). Get the balance right and make sure your staff get a high quality experience and 100% uptime of business-critical applications and collaboration tools with quality of service (QoS) prioritisation.
3. Rethink your network with flexible working in mind
Make sure your network is highly available, even when staff move around the office with a laptop, hopping between access points while they're working. And make sure your WiFi can adapt to surges in demandwith flexible radio assignment and high density coverage.
4. Ensure your network keeps up with your gadgets
For example, review the bandwidth capacity of your wifi and network when you upgrade your laptops and other devices so that they don’t start outperforming your infrastructure.
5. Think security first
Don’t forget about security. Ensure your network can authenticate users and enforce policy easily. Use your network to identify potentially malicious activity and quarantine it until you can act on it. Create a guest wifi to keep visitor access separate from the corporate network.
6. Extend your network access to anywhere
Make sure your staff can access the network securely and easily on the move with a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). Wherever they work when they log on they will have exactly the same access to systems and tools that they expect in the office, and you will have the confidence that your security isn’t compromised.
From cloud-based solutions to software-defined networking and the latest collaboration solutions, discover the ingenious ways the right approach to your IT infrastructure make your team more agile and productive and make your business even more attractive to the best talent.
Discover our small business collaboration solutions, which will help you to work better together, just like in person, on any device.
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