Power for the Large Office

Once a company employs more than 250 members of staff it outgrows the title of ‘medium’ company and begins to be classed as a large-sized business. More often than not, this growth also signifies the need to expand or change the office premises, which naturally comes hand in hand with a long list of considerations, namely:

Accommodating Growth Spurts

Many start ups begin operating from an office on a single floor, sometimes even from a single room. Then, over time as the company starts to grow, departments start to form and the layout of the office naturally divides out according to disciplines. This is the stage where companies start to spread over multiple floors, or even buildings, with different departments commandeering entire spaces.

How much space is required for each employee?

An increase in staff obviously signals the need for more space, but how much space exactly is required per person? According to the study of Human Dimension and Interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik, the following social requirements apply:

Application

Minimum requirement

Two people in an office with a table/desk between them. For example a supervisor and employee.

152-183 x 228-320cm

Worker has a primary desk, and a secondary surface.

152-183 x 152-213cm

Executive office where three to four people can meet around one desk.

267-330 x 244-313cm

Basic workstation. For example a call centre.

107-132 x 152-183cm

Whilst these figures suggest the minimum space required per person, it really is worth keeping in mind that a happy workforce is a productive workforce, and being packed in like battery hens is never going to promote a healthy work ethic.

When choosing an office space and determining the layout of the departments, try and keep in mind the basic rule of the workplace; ‘You can never have too much space or natural light’.

Bespoke Power

When determining how to arrange departments over different floors or buildings a good place to start is to determine the power needs of each department. Ask yourself the following questions:

There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to kitting out a large office as particular areas/floors are likely to have very different power requirements. By taking the needs of different departments into account, you can begin to structure how you can effectively power up a large office.

Certain areas will have a very high emphasis on uninterrupted power (server rooms being a prime example). Here is one area where it is worth investing in Clean Earth Products, such as Rotasoc Clean Earth and Betatrack Clean Earth, to ensure that you are receiving the optimum levels of power to meet your needs.

On the other end of the scale, areas that aren’t in constant use, such as Meeting/Conference rooms will not only need less consistent power, there will also be less individual power requirements as the primary use of the room will be on a focal technology point, such as a projector or large screen. It is also worth considering the need for   for these rooms to accommodate any type of presentation.

Prioritize your power

Getting the right power distribution for individual needs is key, as it is not just desk users who will require power. Consider who else is going to need access to power and for what usage, for example maintenance and cleaning staff and visitors to the office. A common reason for fuses being blown in offices are when plug sockets intended for powering a computer are ‘borrowed’ to power a vacuum cleaner. This breakdown will give you an idea of the different power requirements needed for different applications:

Portable Appliance

Amps Required

Watts Required

Laptop

<0.5

65 – 100

Desktop computer

3.0

700

Computer monitor

<0.5

100

Mobile phone charger

<0.5

<12

Printer

<0.5

50

Landline cordless telephone charger

<0.5

10

Television (42″ HD)

0.5

120

Kettle

13

3000

Toaster

9.0

2000

Microwave

4.5w

1000

Vacuum cleaner

9.0

2000

Once you have determined your layout and decided on priority areas for additional power, you can look at the different types of modules that are available and what is most suited to your needs.  Recommendations for powering a larger office include:

Betatrack underfloor busbars

Flushfloor or underfloor trunking

Lighting busbars

Rotasoc multi socket power and data sockets

Office Dynamics

Upgrading to a larger work space can change the dynamics of a company significantly, especially start-up businesses that may have experienced a rapid growth. The two main reasons for this are:

The ‘Small Business’ mindset is often integral to a new company’s ethos. This will naturally have to evolve to suit a larger scale work force and the growing demands of the company. Many companies manage to successfully maintain this ‘one big happy family’ mindset as the company expands, namely by maintaining the core element that the company was built on in the first place, communication.

Secondly, the up-scaling can affect the way in which employees interact, on practical and emotional levels, especially if the premises have undergone a significant expansion. Having departments that regularly interact together positioned on different floors can sometimes interrupt the flow of projects, which begs the question as to whether individuals are best split into departmental groups or project groups.

Integrating more communal hubs throughout the company is a good way to allow seamless interaction between departments. Informal meeting rooms, ‘chill out’ zones, media rooms and in-house coffee shop/bar areas are also great for bringing staff together in a less formal way and maintain the small office ethos.

There are numerous power solutions that can make these hubs work efficiently, including   and  ,  , plus integrated power modules within sofas.