The essential modern office space checklist: location, amenities, parking, size...and internet connectivity? Yes, reliable internet connectivity is a non-negotiable feature of today's workforce. It’s not just internet access for email: cloud access, VoIP, big data, and SaaS providers depend on connectivity. New research from a 2017 CBRE Market Outlook report found that connectivity is a top priority for today’s tenants with 90% of owners and property managers citing advanced communications as the most important selling point after more traditional factors like location, price and parking and 61% of owners report that advanced communications provide them with a competitive advantage in the market.
In another occupier-focused study, The State of Office Connectivity, WiredScore found that 78% of office workers ranked reliable internet connection as vital in choosing office space. Intermittent service leads to a loss of productivity and revenue. When designing or upgrading new office spaces, it's crucial to factor internet connectivity into your decision-making, read on to see the top 3 reasons internet connectivity is essential to office design.
1. Tenants expect seamless service
Today's on-location businesses carry certain expectations about their office connectivity. Decision-makers prioritize buildings serviced by more than one Internet Service Provider (ISP) and they want to choose the ISP that works best for them. Once service is setup, they expect that internet connectivity will remain uninterrupted in the building.
Another tenant demand is consistent cell service regardless of carrier or across the entire floorplan. If employees cannot use their mobile devices or experience frequent Wi-Fi disruption due to design, landlords risk losing tenants to an office that meets their businesses needs. Older buildings can benefit from a distributed antenna system to carry the signal to weak points.
2. Flexibility depends on connectivity
With the increase in mobile technology like laptops and Wi-fi, there's no need to be constantly plugged into a wall at a certain port. Today’s workforce expects the ability to rearrange desks and customize spaces based on function and dynamic spaces require strong and consistent Wi-Fi connection. Fiber optic internet connectivity is in high demand asbusinesses manage large files and data streams and the need for connectivity is growing exponentially: according to the CBRE/NE 2017 Market Outlook report, data production will have increased 44 times from 2009 to 2020. Companies require fast service and quick downloads, and a space lacking access to business-grade connectivity is not going to meet occupier requirements.
3. Data protection is required
While individual businesses have different requirements, there are common threads that decision-makers seek when scouting office space. A major concern is data back-ups. Office tenants want to access the Internet and their data at any time of day. If one connection goes down, businesses demand a backup connection to continue smooth operations for themselves and their clients. This constant access requires multiple entry points into the building. Business-to-business tech providers have additional needs to service their clients, like dedicated server rooms. These spaces must be backed by the energy and connectivity support systems to maintain them even in an electrical outage.
What does this mean for office design?
Don’t sacrifice telecom and utility space in the design. The best internet-connected office spaces taking into account the future needs of their clients and making changes after the fact is often more costly and disruptive to both owner and occupant. When designing or remodeling, plan for multiple points of entry to create redundancy. Consider what kind of materials are used in the construction and if the product could create blind spots for mobile and wireless services. Most importantly, connectivity infrastructure should be scalable over time to meet changes in technology. Want to learn more?
Download The Wired Certification Guidelines for Commercial Developments and Redevelopments, a handbook for engineers, architects, developers, general contractors, and construction project managers to ensure that any new commercial development or redevelopment is designed to meet the technology needs of today's tenants.