i need to provide a list of workspace requirements to the IT director for my network operations team. So far I got

Secure workspace - so nothing gets stolen and people cant come up to us asking for support (they need a ticket from the helpdesk)

Quite area - so that we can work and not be disturbed by the loud project managers who play soccer in the office sometimes.

A large table or desk where we can setup and or config systems and servers if needed.

What else do we need?

Thanks in advance.

  • 6
    Lots of power and network drops? – Bart Silverstrim Mar 23 '10 at 14:44
  • 4
    Your own switch in the room for flexible configuration? – Bart Silverstrim Mar 23 '10 at 14:44
  • 3
    A chart to ask your network operations team what things during the workday they find themselves saying, "@#$! Wish we had..." so you can send it to your IT director as a list of requirements? – Bart Silverstrim Mar 23 '10 at 14:45
  • 1
    What sort of IT department are we talking about here? My requirements as a one-man IT "department" are very different to those of a team of a few dozen, or anywhere in between. – John Gardeniers Mar 23 '10 at 22:11
  • Brownies & chocolate chip cookies. And a coffee maker. And a small fridge. And a microwave. – Joe Internet Mar 23 '10 at 22:55

10 Answers 10


My personal preferences:

  • A good desk and chair
  • One to two fast workstations with multiple monitors
  • Private and or isolated workspace with minimal interruption
  • Lab area for breakdown and testing

But you may find this earlier post covers workspace preferences much more completely:

The perfect server room?

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  • 3
    Multiple monitors is also really helpful. If possible, get them for all your employee's workstations. – Psycho Bob Mar 23 '10 at 14:58

Definitely get a whiteboard.

You can use it to setup to do lists, draw up configurations to visualize the problem, and much more. It's also good for when you have a group discussing solutions to network problems.

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  • 1
    Might want to replace the whiteboard with a roll of paper: blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/11/11/491780.aspx – dsolimano Mar 23 '10 at 15:09
  • That was an interesting article. I would argue, however, that if you are wondering if something could be erased, that probably means that it is something that should be formally documented or graphed so that it is not tied to the whiteboard. – Psycho Bob Mar 23 '10 at 18:47
  • SMART Technologies (among many other vendors) makes interactive whiteboards that you can manipulate with software, save electronically, print, etc, etc. smarttech.com – jscott Mar 23 '10 at 20:21
  • 3
    Whiteboard+iPhone+DropBox. – Helvick Mar 23 '10 at 20:37
  • White board is a must +1 – Malnizzle Mar 23 '10 at 21:11

I'll focus on the "lab" part of the workspace. You should also have a great workstation for doing softwork, but others have already covered that.

  1. Regular network drops, but also some "special" ones, like:

    • One for each vlan, untagged
    • One that has "Internet only" and puts you outside your corporate network and firewall.

    Of course you could acheive this by somehow making it easy to reconfigure the network jack via a smart switch or something.

  2. Dedicated 15A power circuits back to a breaker sub-panel in the same room (near the exit door, preferably). This way you can plug in sketchy equipment without it shorting and tripping an important breaker that you don't have physical access to.

  3. Fire extinguisher

  4. Maps of your floor / building. These are useful when you're planning wiring projects or moving workstations around. Extra points for you if you laminate them so you can use dry-erase markers on them!

  5. Bins for cables and adapters, little drawers for screws and jumpers, labeled and sorted as you see fit.

  6. Big industrial shelving for those bins, and for boxes and machines that are coming in/out.

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  • Make sure there are outlets above the bench, not underneath it like most desks. Or you could just use one or big power strips. – Bratch Mar 25 '10 at 14:19

Properly grounded workbench.

Assembly/Disassembly tools.

Digital MultiMeter. Soldering iron.

Crimping tools, cable making materials.

P3 power monitor.

Dumb switches.

Smart switch(es) with hooks into various VLAN's, physically secured from outside access, if you use VLAN's.

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Everything everyone else has mentioned, plus

Your own internet connection to go along with the switch and an exact copy of your Router, and, if your company can afford it, a copy of your live network servers and a few workstations for testing products and or changes requested by supervisors before you attempt it in the live environment.

numerous various tools, hardware and software. ;)

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Get an Intern.

They're expendable and can always be downgraded to a Temp if need be. They can be forced to do the crap jobs while the REAL employees get REAL work done.

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I work in a school, so interruptions by pupils is a regular occurrence, so I'd say a quiet area. Somewhere close to your Server locations for quick access, and those lazy days where you cant be bothered walking anywhere.

Things that helps me get through the day

  • Unfiltered internet
  • email pushed to my HTC Hero
  • Coffee machine
  • quiet working environment
  • Dual screen (a must)
  • Powerful PC
  • Support of management
  • A huge flash drive to carry the internet on
  • Andy Admins excuse generator for those sticky situations
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I would say a 42" or greater flatscreen on the wall, with a PC hookup. Either that or a projector. Do the wii whiteboard Mod so you can whiteboard directly to digital capture.

Old technology whiteboard was great because you can get a big picture on the wall that you can draw all over. New technology whiteboarding is great because now you can diagram on the board, and quickly save it for later use, instantly popping up an entire whiteboard drawing exactly when you need it.

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I will also just say this: adequate square footage. Don't let them cram you into some back office with no windows and barely enough room to walk around your desk. If you don't have adequate sq ft, you won't be able to put in those storage shelves, and/or you will have to store all the various parts you are sure to accumulate in random and hard to find/remember locations. Also I would highly suggest you get a label maker for labeling everything: Network cables, equipment, drawers containing cables, patch panels, cable runs, keys, and most importantly, the servers with their names right next to the power and network cables in the back (yes I have stupidly pulled the power on the wrong box when it was unlabeled).

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I strongly recommend the following:

-Whiteboard, definitely smart to put your ideas into a visual interpretation for others to grasp.

-1 to 2 flatscreen TVs, definitely good for monitoring software such as WildMetrix or a network management activity tracker. Something that can be broadcasted that most of the department will be looking at, or that is a must need basis of checking out.

-Plenty of room to grow, our department soon has to move completely to another area in the building because we expanded really quickly. We know have 3 more programmers and 2 more techs then we originally had and we plan on hiring more but do not have space.

-Storage area, DEFINITELY a good idea for incoming computers that have yet to be installed. Trust me on this one, you need somewhere to store all the equipment you arent using. A small closet won't do but a small room should suffice. We had a BAD time trying to organize all the boxes of equipment that we didn't have storage for, but when we got our storage room (about 15 sqft is ours), we made it a day long project to move and sort all the equipment. Make sure you LOCK that storage room. The storage room also keeps away pesky people that ask for things. You can just state that you do not have the equipment they need at the moment. Some equipment is on hold and if they see it sitting there they will ask for it.

-A big network drive, An external wireless network (for testing external users), and a door that LOCKS.

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