The mere mention of Christmas conjures up all kinds of mental images. Obviously as we plough deeper into adulthood, those images become ones of last-minute shopping, endless card writing, competitive Christmas tree posting on Facebook and trying to second guess what’ll cause the big family row this year.
If we allow ourselves to regress a little back towards childhood, another image that might take shape, one depicted countlessly in books and films, is one of exultant elves singing away as they build toys and load them up into hessian sacks. For Santa’s pint-sized production workers, Christmas is a busy old period and in this, they are not alone.
As businesses begin the inevitable Yuletide wind-down, for some within their ranks the tempo remains consistent and for none more so, than the engineers. Servers, as we know, are attention-seeking critters, and should they malfunction in a serious way over the holiday season and there’s no techie there to sort the issue, the January blues get a whole lot bluer. Engineers, therefore, must stick around.
As techies ourselves, it’s a predicament we can empathise with. It’s why we have done everything we can to ensure that our facility is one engineers enjoy spending time at, even at Christmas.
In this piece, we present to you 3 ways in which Volta take the sting out of your engineers that work the festive shift.
1. Creature comforts.
Engineers working on IT hardware over Christmas, generally have two options; they’re either in the office working within the confines of some dingy, claustrophobic, glorified cupboard, or they’re in a data centre somewhere obscure, battling frostbite as the cooling systems drop an already cold facility into teeth-chattering temperatures. This is not the case at Volta.
Keen for our complex to be as welcoming as possible, we dug deep from the beginning to invest in a state-of-the-art cooling system which chills the racks at source whilst preventing the icy gusts from dissipating into the halls and corridors. Michael Bublé can croon that “Baby, it’s cold outside…” as much as he likes. It’s not the case in our data centre.
An ambient temperature though, is just the start. With stringent hygiene standards rigorously maintained throughout the facility, wherever your engineers are working, the environment will be clean and it’s tidy.
However, we are aware that an agreeable micro-climate and polished surfaces can only raise a smile for so long. It’s for this reason we have also kitted the facility out with comfortable break-out rooms replete with inviting sofas, flat-screen TVs, fridges, as much tea and coffee as it’s humanly possible to drink and sumptuous walk-in showers to wash away a hard day’s graft.
2. Location. Location. Location.
A Christmas shift is exasperating enough without having to drive out to some remote data centre within a vast industrial park or out in the sticks where the piano music stops as soon as you walk into the local tavern.
Our Great Sutton Street facility is slap-bang in the centre of London, literally one tube stop from King’s Cross, walking distance from both the City and the West End and with free parking provided. As commutes go, it’s about as easy as they come. The easy commute though, is not the big draw of a central London facility.
Great Sutton Street is not some rural backwater, nor is it the warehouse jungle of a maze-like industrial park. Step outside our gates and your engineers are met with winter wonderland of fairy light-lit cafes, bars, shops, restaurants and stalls. And should there be a requirement for something a little more pragmatic, there are banks and chemists interwoven throughout.
In short, both inside and out, Volta Data Centres is a convenient, comfortable, practical, vibrant and fun place to be. Even – if not especially – at Christmas.
3. The human touch.
As clean, as secure, and as comfortable as it’s possible to design an IT facility, they are still environments built for a practical purpose. If you were decorating your living room at home in preparation for Christmas, you probably wouldn’t model it on a data centre. Probably…
The experience of working within such environments, especially during the holiday season, can therefore be greatly improved by the people you share that space with. At many data centres, the staff perform very perfunctory roles. They sign you in, hand you an access card then pretty much leave you to it. If you’re lucky, you might get a “Merry Christmas” through gritted teeth.
At Volta, we have always believed in the power of the human touch. As such, we train our staff to deliver more than just a biro to collect a signature. Their remit involves making sure any visiting engineer has exactly what they need, when they need it. Whether struggling to park or staggering under the weight of equipment on icy ground, there will always be a member of our staff ready to pre-empt your engineers’ needs and find solutions so they can get to work without any kind of hassle.
Once work begins, that service does not disappear. We are manned 24 hours a day with skilled engineers ready to provide support should any questions or issues surface.
Dressing up the Yuletide shift as being anything other than an aggravation, is about as easy as dressing up the Christmas tree whilst a toddler runs around hiding all the baubles and the dog tries to garrotte itself with the tinsel.
Few engineers will be feeling the festive spirit as they head towards an eight-hour shift on Christmas Eve. That’s why it means so much that they should at least be heading somewhere clean and comfortable, where their basic needs are met and where opportunities for respite can be found both inside and out.
Your engineers make a big sacrifice to spend part of their Christmas working on your critical IT assets. Providing them with a place to go that is geared to making that time as comfortable and stress-free as possible, is warmly appreciated.
And happy engineers make for a smoother business. Especially at Christmas.