One of the direct consequences of COVID-19 has been a dramatic increase in the number of companies considering moving their offices from New York City to Fairfield County, Connecticut. New York City, which until the pandemic and recent social unrest had been enjoying an economic renaissance, is now facing a decline. Companies are looking for more room to spread out to mitigate the risk of disease and to comply with social distancing mandates. More spacious offices, fewer elevator rides, and less mass transit excursions are important ways to reduce exposure to COVID.
For those new to the neighborhood, an important question will be “Where should our critical IT systems be located?” Establishing a computer room in your new office is one option. However, the move to a new office is often a great time to relocate servers and related IT systems to a more secure, more redundant, and often more cost-effective colocation facility. Also, it makes sense to optimize your new office space for people so they can work productively at a safe social distance. Moving your IT systems to a facility where real estate costs are lower frees up space for your employees and saves money. There are several data centers in Fairfield County that offer colocation services. The best choice will depend on a number of variables which are discussed below.
Companies are contemplating several different approaches. Some plan to vacate their New York City office to set up a new office in Fairfield County. Others are keeping their New York office but will add a suburban satellite office where employees can work at least part time. In this case the goal is to reduce the need to work at the New York City office while allowing for occasional work there. A third option is to eliminate all offices and have employees Work From Home. In this case, if many of the employees live in Connecticut, then there will be a need for a facility to host the company’s computer systems. Hosting critical IT systems at someone’s home is not an acceptable option. A colocation facility that is conveniently located for occasional visits by your IT personnel is best.
Those considering a move to Fairfield County should be aware of the differences between lower Fairfield County and the rest of the region. Towns like Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and Norwalk are close enough to Manhattan to make commuting practical. As a result, the cost of real-estate is significantly higher than other parts of the county. For example, the cost of grade A commercial office space in Shelton can be one third the cost of comparable space in Lower Fairfield County.
Traffic is also a much bigger problem the closer you get to “The City”. Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway in lower Fairfield County experience some of the highest levels of road congestion in the U.S. Traffic on Rte 8 and other secondary highways, especially for those who are “reverse commuting”, is much lower; especially during rush hour.
Fairfield County is served by two different public utilities. Whereas Eversource provides electricity to much of lower Fairfield County and most of the rest of the state, United Illuminating serves the northern and eastern portions of Fairfield County. This can be significant when considering a colocation site. Connecticut is impacted by occasional snowstorms, hurricanes, tornados, and floods. The historical performance of these two utilities has varied considerably so the location of a colocation facility should take this into account. In general, United Illuminating has provided more stable services over the years.
For those companies that will be relocating to Fairfield County from New York City we want to welcome you. We believe you will find Fairfield County will support your company’s growth and prosperity while providing a safer work environment and higher quality of life for your employees. Of course, when you have a chance please stop by CAPS to say hello and to tour our secure data center in Shelton.