Options for Moving your Data Cabling and Electrical Outlets for Desk Social Distancing at Work
With the return to work starting to slowly start the requirement need to change. However to ensure social distancing the current desk layouts for staff are safe is a major consideration. Thus Facilities Managers and IT Managers will need to relocate desks, people and therefore the data cabling and electrical outlets
Social distancing on a greater level with entry and exit into the building and movement throughout the premise is a discussion outside of this article. This is to focus on what options there are for arranging your desks or staff at those desks and what will need to be changed to accommodate it.
The goverment guidelines on working safely during Covid-19 can be found HERE
Social Distancing at the Desk
Guidelines are yet to firmly put in place but the following have been communicated as a consideration for working on a desk layout.
- Ensuring a 2 metre distance while sitting side to side
- This may mean employees sitting at every other desk
- Avoiding staff sitting opposite one another
- This results in avoiding back to back desks
- Install plastic screens between desks as a protection shield
- Eliminating hot desk usage
Other Desk Options
Several of our clients have had us undertake surveys where the current island desk layouts are to be moved. Consequently all desk layouts are now facing the outer wall. Furthermore no 2 members of staff are alongside one another or next to each other.
Social Distancing effect on Power and Data outlets
In the above example the island desks were served by floor boxes containing electrical sockets and Cat6 data outlets.
The new layout designed allowed for installing new electrical and data cabling to the outside wall. Thus the desks could use them directly from the wall with no trailing leads. By installing new data cabling and power the old floor boxes could be maintained. Thus allowing for the relocation back to them once social distancing safety measures could be reduced or eliminated.
Data Cabling and Electrical Considerations when using existing desk layouts with fewer people
In the scenario where existing desk layouts are maintained but employees are scattered among those desks the following considerations will need to be thought of.
Will the new seating position have enough power and data?
In an office that is fully staffed and a reduced work force is coming back to the office the desks will probably have enough power and data for the employee requirements.
However when moving staff to other desks areas, especially those that were previously rarely used there may be a lack of power and data. Thus additional outlets will need to be installed. Even if it is present does the data cabling need patching in correctly. In addition do the power extension blocks need to be installed.
Changing hot desks for permanent use
A large proportion of modern offices set aside desk space for hot desk use. The guidance is to eliminate hot desks due to the increased use of the space by multiple different employees rather than fixed employees
These hot desk areas may now to be used for permanent staff to spread them out. Some hot desk areas are wired for data cabling and electrical the same as a standard desks. Others will have minimal power and no data as they only reply on Wi-Fi.
In these instances new power and data will possibly need to be installed, and data cabling patch leads and electrical extension leads installed also.
Using other areas for new desk arrangements
To separate desks others usually use as desk areas are now being used to locate desks and seat staff. The following areas have been found to be used on recent surveys
- Training rooms
- Conference / meeting rooms
- Social / canteen areas where these are now closed
In each of the above cases desks will need to be relocated and new power and data cabling (even if temporary) will need to be installed
One consideration as desks are moved and installed into temporary spaces is that the areas used may not have sufficient Wi-Fi coverage. It may lack coverage for the number of devices now situated in those areas. Where areas are now more densely used for technology additional structured cabling for Wi-Fi may be required.
Those employees working from home and are phased back into the workspace may also now be using a laptop. As this travels between work and home it may require the use of upgraded Wi-Fi.
Surveys for New Social Distancing Layouts
Surveys are safe to conduct where social distancing can be maintained for both the client and our project management team. However to reduce commuting and travel where possible the majority of surveys and quotations can be undertaken remotely. Generally these can be undertaken with layout drawings and photos of the layout.
An online video conference survey can then be undertaken to confirm details, answer queries and firm up expectations.
The actual installation works will follow the same safety considerations and be undertaken largely when the offices are clear.
For on-site or off site data cabling surveys please contact
Tel: 0207 269 4717
For further articles please visit https://www.nmcabling.co.uk/knowledge-centre/