There's No Place Like Home Office

Posted: February 11, 2021
Category: Home

For most American office workers 2020 was a watershed year. Due to lockdowns set to curb the spread of COVID 19, businesses sent their employees home to work. Personal laptops and cellphones took the place of workstations. Conference rooms were replaced by Zoom calls. And although the move from working onsite to a home office was adjustment for some (especially those with living children going to virtual school), the vast majority of Americans seem to like the new arrangement. According to a recent survey published by The New York Times, 86% of respondents said that they were happier working from home.

There’s no denying that for time being, working from home is the new normal. But even in pre-pandemic times, it was quickly growing trend. In fact, a study by Global Workplace Analytics found that number of non-self-employed remote workers has grown 140% in the past fifteen years. But when it comes to technical infrastructure, the comforts of home often lack the conveniences found in most offices. So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who are currently not wearing shoes to work, we’ve put together a list of do’s and don’ts that will make sure that you get the most out of your newly created hybrid environment.

KNOW YOUR DO’S AND DON’TS AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY



At a minimum, a home office will need a computer and internet connection. But chances are, you’ll need a printer that doubles as a copier and fax machine. You’ll need a phone – if not a landline, a charging station for your cellphone. And some form of practical lighting. But what other devices are being used in that room? What happens if you have a window air conditioning unit? Can you operate that and your office equipment at the same time without tripping a circuit breaker?

DO:



  • Take an Outlet Inventory: Do you have enough outlets? Does anyone ever have enough outlets? Are the outlets close enough to where you’ll place your home office devices? Are they GFI outlets? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you probably should call an electrician and explore having more outlets installed.


  • Explore Adding a Circuit: Do you have an older home? Do you know how many appliances are running on each circuit in your home? Consider having a separate circuit installed that is dedicated to handle your home office. Then, if anything goes wrong in the rest of your home, your work won’t be affected and vice-versa.


  • Use Energy-Efficient Equipment: If your home office equipment is made up of hand-me-downs from your work office, you’ll need to upgrade. Older desktop computers and laser printers are notorious energy vampires. Since you’ll be operating these devices for several hours a day, they can wreak havoc on your monthly electric bill. New office equipment will use less energy. Call your accountant. If your home is your new workplace, your new equipment could mean a tax write-off.



DON’T:



  • Use Extension Cords: For a quick fix, extension cords are handy. But they shouldn’t take the place of an outlet. If your equipment draws a lot of power, an extension cord that is plugged in all the time poses a potential electrical hazard. You could trip on an extension cord, disrupt the power to your computer and lose your work. They’re also ugly. Call an electrician and have an additional outlet installed. Some of the newer models also have USB ports.


  • Rely on Power Strips: Even with surge protectors, power strips aren’t supposed to be used for the length of a workday five times a week. If your power strip is being used to operate equipment that’s being used all day, you’re better off getting an additional outlet. Use that power strip for items you may only be using once in a while, like cellphone chargers.


  • DYI Your Panel: With proper knowledge and caution, experienced DYI-ers can install new light switches or maybe tackle moving an outlet without causing damage. But if the addition of home office equipment causes your circuit breakers to trip regularly, by no means attempt to modify your electric panel. In improperly installed circuit breaker or any adjustment to your panel that is not up to code poses a huge potential hazard to your home and your family’s safety. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that watching an instructional YouTube video will give you the skills of a licensed and insured electrician who has spent years learning his trade.



Upgrading your home’s wiring to accommodate an office is a great investment for both your home and career. For over 50 years, PK & Altman Electric has performed a wide array of custom wiring jobs from adding standard 110 house current outlets to an underserved room, to custom installations of the latest in home and office lighting equipment.

Our team of licensed electricians will help you with planning to determine the number of circuits required and complete every step of way from estimate through completion. As always, all work done by our team of licensed and insured electricians is guaranteed to meet New York City’s electrical safety code standards.

And since nobody wants to have their walls opened more than once, we’ll even help you develop a pre-electrical plan that includes expanded breakers and wiring for new appliances, electronics or other gadgets the future has in store for you!

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