Post-pandemic office life underlines the need for In-building Cellular

BYOD and mobile now have an element of personal safety – making IBC even more important

I’ve made the case for in-building cellular (IBC) for quite some time. The combination of a flexible workforce and a need to cater for guests and customers makes proper connectivity essential. With new builds getting higher and denser, the mobile companies can’t be relied on to provide you with adequate coverage. And occupants won’t put up with poor coverage.

With offices currently barren, and with occupancy likely to be lower for the foreseeable future, I’d understand if people saw less priority in in-building cellular. I say: on the contrary.

Firstly, the drive to right size your space will look even more tempting now. In previous blogs we’ve described how we’ll see the rise of the “human network”. Our people are increasingly connected wherever they are working as part of a virtual team. That’s not going to just reverse as the lockdown is eased. So now is the time again to reconsider your desk to person ratios.

So, as people come in and out of your office on less predictable schedules, it’s vital that the connectivity of the building is up to scratch. They’ll likely have their laptop and mobile phone – probably multiple mobile phones. They need to be able to enter the building and get to work.

The use of devices will also likely change. Video conferencing had never really taken off previously. Now these calls are part of our everyday lives. That will place increased demand on networks.

There’s a potential safety aspect to this too. A reduction in shared tools – such as desktop landlines – will reduce surfaces that need to be cleaned. But that will only occur if mobile devices work consistently every time – hunting around the office for a signal won’t cut it.

Finally, let’s not forget the wellbeing elements of good connectivity. Being able to keep up to date with events and in touch with family is vital. And with the introduction of the new mobile app set up for COVID-19 contract tracing, connectivity matters more now than ever for the physical and mental health of our teams.

A previous study said that 68% of office space in central London suffered issues with mobile phone coverage; that is still a problem that needs to be tackled. The office environment won’t die, but its evolution will be expedited.

For that to happen, it’s important more than ever that connectivity is up to the job. The human network can’t operate without being connected.