Two weeks ago we occupied 4,000 sq ft of loft office space in almost fashionable Vauxhall. We owned a Rocket Espresso R58 dual boiler coffee machine with the latest V2 edition rotary pump...
We’re experienced managed service providers with a deep understanding of the technical implications of moving a business smoothly without disruption. We start engaging with our clients, normally 3 to 18 months ahead of their office move to allow sufficient time for planning and provisioning of services.
Now the team at pebble.it loves a challenge and fully embraces the workspace revolution. After all, if we can’t move our own business to new premises, move our complex in-house server infrastructure to a secure data centre, during business hours, without outage or loss of service to our clients, who can?
WAIT. DID YOU SAY IN 10 DAYS?
Challenge 1: Finding a new business home in London
We shared our old space with several partner businesses that allowed us to enjoy larger economies of scale - from rent to coffee.
At a time when most small businesses in London seem to be either looking for new space or in the middle of negotiating leases, understanding what you require before you start the search is paramount.
100 sq ft / person is a rule of thumb but this takes into account, meeting and kitchen space. In London owing to higher rents this is more likely to be around 70 sq ft. We opted for a dedicated office in a managed building offering reception, meeting rooms, breakout areas and a café.
Challenge 2: Finding a datacenter for our servers
Co-locating your physical infrastructure as a small business makes good technical, logistical & financial sense. As fibre connectivity costs have fallen it’s not only larger organisations that can benefit from these monitored, air conditioned, secure technical bunkers. Internet breakout from a CoLo is often cheaper than from an office as it is usually connected directly into an existing fibre backbone. Is your data safe? You won't get past reception without photo ID and increasingly, biometric scanning. Additional services include 'intelligent hands' offering operational support eg. changing disks & PSUs. In terms of planning, if you are moving existing physical servers, you're off to an easier start. However, if you're installing new hardware, factor in additional time & resource to 'seed' your existing data onto the new servers.
The next step is to establish a secure VPN connection back to your office to ensure your staff are able to seamlessly access data offsite as well as locally.
Challenge 3: Internet & phones
It's a bit of a long-running joke in London, having to wait for fibre provison to certain postcodes. 30 days to 30 months - who knows, until you've comitted to a site survey and sometimes a contract.
You should always dig your heels in for dedicated, uncontended, unlimited fibre as your your primary business connection, if available. If you're a smaller business, opting for smaller bandwidth early on with the option to increase on a larger bearer, will keep costs down without limiting performance as the business grows.
Wireless fibre (Wibre) is becoming increasingly popular as its connection circumvents the physical issues of running fibre directly into your office. By connecting wirelessly to the existing high-grade fibre infrastructure across London using an A4-sized antenna attached to your roof. Only line-of-site is required to your nearest Wibre sub-station (Millbank is the nearest to us). Shorter contracts are more flexible (& expensive) and generally more suited as a secondary or backup line for longer periods.
Some managed office space insist on you using their own internet provider. This can be limiting, especially if you already have preferred telecom partners and existing configured routers. Be prepared to negotiate (and pay) for what you want and more importantly what you really need.
Telephony, is generally more straight forward with hosted VoIP offering flexible setup and handset options. Being able to make business calls from your mobile phone via your SIP gateway is useful when working remotely or you just want your client calls to your office number caller ID rather than your personal mobile number.
PLAY IT SAFE - Always add contingency; with fees and more importantly, time.
So we had to let our sexy chrome coffee machine go due to less floor space. But to end on a positive, we’re wasting less time honing our barista skills !
Thanks to the excellent pebble.it team, Workspace, Excell & Task Systems for making it all relatively painless.
If you'd like to chat about your specific requirements for moving office, please get in touch and we'll gladly discuss your plans.