Most companies get this right, but there are a few outliers that haven’t gotten with the program. I’m talking about the right way to house your IT personnel at the workplace. Some people get it wrong and put their IT staff into a converted storage area.
Ideally, IT staff should go into an actual, unconverted, storage area. Just run an extension cord with a power outlet strip attached to the area and make sure they wear hard hats, if appropriate. If, however, you have insufficient warehouse space to allow your IT staff to office there, then you’ll have to get creative.
Inspect your building blueprints. You’ll notice that nearly everything will have a label. If you’re lucky, there will be a room without a label on it that’s next to the elevators and/or stairwell. It has a door and, when you see it in person, it’s half-full of building supplies and/or disused computer equipment. That’s the perfect spot for your IT guys!
If you don’t have that, don’t give up. You can still find them a suitable location. See if there’s an internal office – no windows at all on this one – that has very poor ventilation. You’re looking for a place that will either freeze or roast your staff, regardless of season, preferably with some airflow pattern that concentrates environmental evaporates – like 4-PC and Styrene from the latex backing in carpets – in that area. If you have more than one such room, pick the one that is furthest away from the data center and then be sure to use the one(s) that are closer to the data center for furniture storage.
If, for legal reasons, you have to provide a safe and tolerable work environment for your IT staff, there are still ways to optimize their work environment, even if you can’t encase them in a storeroom sarcophagus. If you have a satellite campus, removed from the main data centers, put them there. If there are other departments there, be sure to have your IT staff in their own section, as far removed from the amenities of the building as possible. If you do not have a satellite campus and you can’t stick them in a storeroom, it’s time to talk to a commercial real estate guy and get yourself a remote facility for your IT crew. If you can get your IT guys into a metal building in an industrial zone, that’s almost as good as a warehouse. Failing that, the far end of a light industrial park is another good spot.
Around the world, these are the kinds of environments IT people are used to. These are the environments they expect. If you actually give them windowed offices with close proximity to the data center, they will become disoriented and confused by their surroundings, and those stresses can lead to your IT staff losing their ability to lash out against passers-by. Should your IT staff acquire “people skills,” they’ll never get their work done as a result of having cheery interactions with other people. For them to be focused on their demanding tasks, they need to be kept in hellish, semi-barbaric environments, so that their only solace comes from fixing technological issues and vendor lunches.