Energy is a critical commodity for businesses. To run computers, machinery, and office appliances, commercial spaces should secure a reliable source of electricity and design their office fit for this consumption. Among electricity consumption in the commercial sectors in 2020, computers and office equipment will take up the largest share.
Setting up electrical utility in your establishment has become easier nowadays, especially if you’re situated in a business district where a lot of commercial electrical contractors are around. However, the real challenge comes in designing an office space optimized for electrical consumption. To make your electrical systems efficient and convenient for employee use, you have to be mindful of your electrical needs and work with professional electrical contractors.
Organizing your office space has many aspects aside from the electrical component, such as the interior design, ergonomics, building safety, accessibility, and the like. As each aspect requires utmost attention, you should be meticulous in designing your electrical plan as it can make a huge difference in your operations.
As industries shift to digitization and automation, most office operations rely on tools and devices run by electricity, such as computers, network routers, printers and scanners, and telephones. Not to mention, electricity also powers up the primary living needs of a workplace, including heating and cooling systems, lighting, and employee-owned appliances like refrigerators, coffee machines, toaster ovens, and more.
Most importantly, a faulty, inefficient electrical layout can lead to increased energy costs. Since it poses many electrical safety hazards to employees, they may become slower and less productive in their work, which can significantly hurt the entire business.
Workplaces have specific electrical needs to allow the achievement of short- and long-term goals of a company. If your building’s electrical design can satisfy these electrical needs, the higher your efficiency and productivity can be.
Designing a commercial electrical plan tailored to your needs and requirements should be designed with office compatibility in mind. First and foremost, the electrical layout should be reliable and stable enough to support numerous workstations working simultaneously. Also, placing power sources in accessible and convenient locations will help employees fulfill their power needs without disturbing others.
Moreover, you can’t establish efficiency without safety. Compared to electricians, power plant workers, and construction workers, office employees don’t work directly with electricity. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse for employers and business owners to neglect electrical safety in the workplace.
Lastly, contributing something to the environment isn’t optional anymore. As a giant consumer of energy, offices with an eye on sustainability are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. An optimized electrical layout maximizes your establishment’s energy use and strives to reduce electricity going to waste. (2)
Creating an electrical plan for your business may initially look complicated, but it’s almost similar to creating one for a residential property. With the supervision of electrical experts, you can draft and transform your commercial electrical plan in no time.
Whether you’re working on the electrical wiring of a new or existing office space, take note of these steps to guide you through a seamless process:
Electrical work is never a DIY project for personal and business purposes. The first step to establishing your electrical wiring is finding the right professionals to help you with installation and maintenance. An affordable electrician with good and quality work is a perfect candidate.
Since residential and office spaces have differences in electrical requirements, the highlight is to find an electrical contractor with established experience working with offices and commercial establishments. When finding one, focus on reviews and testimonials written by businesses rather than homeowners.
Start your research by taking a look at your competitors’ electricians. Electrical companies providing specialized services to office buildings are your best option. Once you have a list of your candidates, verify their qualifications, licenses, and insurance for electrical practice. A licensed electrical expert should be more than happy to share these documents with you.
Lastly, hiring cheap electrical services isn’t always the best. Since your office operations will rely heavily on electricity, it’s only fair to pay a hefty price for the electrical job, particularly if the plan covers continuous support and maintenance.
Commercial electricians charge around USD$95–120 per hour, which is 10%–30% more than residential services, so make sure to prepare more than this amount ahead of time. Their costs are much higher as commercial electrical projects are on a larger scale and require more advanced tech talk. (3)
Power sources are a key component in determining the efficiency and convenience of your electrical wiring layout. Before deciding which wires and cables will be fixed to specific places, find the correct placement, location, and orientation of your electrical circuits and outlets first.
You shouldn’t shortchange power in individual workstations, collaborative areas, and conference rooms. For individual computers, you should install as many power slots as possible to each office user so they won’t have to reach for a power strip for additional power needs. If you have a higher budget for the project, consider fitting individual outlets into desk and table surfaces as protection from hazards.
When mapping out which appliances are plugged to which outlets, prioritize electronics closer to the outlet’s location. Also, don’t forget to check each piece of equipment’s power consumption to avoid overloading outlets and circuits. Investing in surge protectors and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can minimize accidents caused by outlets.
Outlets are a common source of electricity-related accidents. Refrain from placing them in spots where they’re exposed to flooding, moisture, and heavy foot traffic. Also, avoid making daisy chains with outlets and surge protectors as it can cause overloading. (4)
If it’s your first time setting up an office, you’ll avoid any mishaps when you’re meticulous with your office items, appliances, and equipment. Before anything else, you should only purchase registered and approved electrical equipment in your office. While you may save upfront costs from cheaper yet substandard components, you’ll be risking more than your money, but you’ll be jeopardizing the lives of your employees and other tenants. (4)
After purchasing your electrical components, examine each component’s condition and check for any physical and functional damage. Many business owners and employers don’t initially think of this, but this step is crucial to safety, cost-effectiveness, and time. Furthermore, you should make a checklist of all your electrical equipment, for safe record-keeping to know which component needs upgrading.
Moreover, ensure that your appliances are in good shape before use. The more electrical appliances plugged into your office power supply, the higher the risk of future electrical incidents. Inspecting your appliances also helps in assessing potential safety hazards.
Tangled wires and cords are an unpleasant sight to a productive workspace. Many companies become overwhelmed in setting up their office, and oftentimes, they tend to forget proper cable management. As cables are essential for electricity and data transfer in the office, practicing cable management can significantly boost employee productivity and well-being.
Specifically, here are top reasons why you should organize your cables and wires:
An excellent way to have a clean wiring layout is to eliminate the clutter itself by going wireless. Today, most devices and peripherals such as mice, keyboards, microphones, and printers have gone wireless. However, wireless devices tend to be more expensive than their wired counterparts.
If you can’t get rid of wired electronics, you can still find your way around by arranging the cords, cables, and wires neatly. Here are a few handy cable management electrical tips:
Lighting is a vital part of an office’s energy consumption. Appropriate lighting can make everything 100% better. Since office operations involve many tasks requiring good lighting conditions, proper lighting in all parts of the workplace assists your employees in delivering high-quality output in a shorter amount of time.
Before installing any light fixtures in your office, it’s more advisable to design a lighting layout to find the best light placements. Poor positioning of light fixtures is no different from having poor lighting in the first place.
Natural daylight is an excellent light source when contrasted to artificial lighting. It brings a plethora of health benefits, including a boost in vitamin D absorption, improved sleep quality, and increased energy levels. But it doesn’t always favor workplaces, as some buildings may have little to no access to daylight. Also, most office tasks need more focused lighting, so artificial lighting comes into the picture. (5)
If your office possesses appropriate lighting, that’s a win-win for you and your employees. They can significantly feel and perform better at work, boosting their morale and satisfaction, while you reap the benefits of their excellent performance.
Safety pays for everyone. Now that you’ve done the technical side of your office electrical wiring, it’s time to share the knowledge and electrical safety tips with other people present in the workplace—your own employees. Electrical training is a crucial requirement for worker safety, and you shouldn’t risk not training your employees around electrical hazards.
Furthermore, possessing enough knowledge about electrical safety helps employees respond in the event of an electrical accident. Electricians aren’t present 24/7 to attend to your office electrical problems, so your employees should know how to manage these issues and avoid further harm to life and property.
To teach your employees properly about electrical safety, your best option is to seek experts that offer training to companies. For additional references, you can provide resources to supplement their training, such as the standards of electrical safety established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (6)
Lastly, take note to keep every employee under the radar. Whenever a new employee is onboarded into the company, make sure to schedule their electrical safety training to help them get used to the electrical plan of the office building.
What happens when a power outage doesn’t exempt offices and commercial establishments? If you don’t have backup power, this means disruption of office operations until power is restored. Worse, sudden, unanticipated blackouts may lead to loss of work and productivity decline.
In an office situation, you should never let this happen. Thankfully, generators have got your back. By acquiring high-power generators for your establishment, you have an added layer of protection during electrical outages.
When buying a backup generator, the best tip is to assess how much you’ll need and want in the event of a blackout. You’ll definitely need a more powerful one to run workstations, heating and cooling systems, and lighting.
Engaging in the process of drafting, planning, and creating your office electrical layout is indeed a learning experience. As electricity is an essential resource for your business’ productivity, it’s fair to dive deeper into the technicalities of an electrical plan as it’s an outstanding indicator of your establishment’s operational efficiency, productivity, and safety.