How Data Centers Can Manage the Increase of Remote Workers
Published on April 28, 2020,
One week, data center management functioned as expected. The usual processes, tasks, routine checks, and personnel operations ran smoothly.
Then, change began. Words like "pandemic," "stay at home," "shelter in place," and "social distancing" came into the common vernacular as large crowds, mask-less shopping, and employees gathering in their typical work locations shifted out of a commonality.
Data centers have not been unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak but have adapted to these unprecedented times. How can the various managers and leaders of data centers handle the increase of remote workers and affected operations?
Four key actions can aid data centers as they shift to managing remote workers.
Even when your team is working primarily remotely, certain situations can arise that might mean workers still travel to the physical data centers themselves. You can help minimize this need by enacting systems that allow you to monitor and respond to your data centers remotely. A data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution can fill this gap as it provides you with a view of all facilities' assets, power, cooling, and alarm statistics from a central point. Seeing and managing such features allows you to prevent, identify, and remediate challenges through remote management capabilities instead of sending personnel.
Your team needs to know what is happening within the data centers and what this means for their operations. As management and leadership, you will need to strengthen existing communication processes or add new channels and cadences of communication. Having strong means of passing information to update and instruct your workforce can help you further monitor and respond to the various functions and concerns still accruing within your buildings even as you are not physically present.
By having a DCIM solution in place and a means to communicate the results through such monitoring, you can manage your remote workers by mitigating risk. Through a DCIM solution, you will have remote monitoring and management of power and cooling, power chain mapping, and non-disruptive fault simulations. With such data, you can put well-defined and reliable contingencies in place before they actually occur—both planned and unplanned. If the infrastructure does contract a failure, Nlyte will represent which IT assets are affected, where they are physically located to the RU location, and the network and power paths associated with the outage.
To manage your remote workers, you will need to train them on the new routines and checks they will now enact daily. This could include new tools and means of monitoring and reporting on such tools. Further, to manage your remote workers to the best of your capacity, you need to project forward by creating a pandemic disaster plan. This plan can bring clarity and consistency to the tools and manners of using the devices when various situations, such as a virus, occur and necessitate a widespread response.
Although many hope that this virus outbreak will soon see the curve flattened and that this remote working situation is temporary, others wonder if this might be a partial new normal. The workplace is shifting and changing as companies and industries adapt to virtualization in workplaces and workforces. The effort you put into maximizing remote work now might have exponential benefits in the future, so it is wise to continue exploring options no matter what lies ahead.