Powering the Small Office – How to determine the power requirements for your specific business

Just as businesses come in all shapes, types and sizes, so do the offices that they are run out of. Whilst no two companies are exactly the same, there is one thing that they all have in common; they all need power. Here we take a look at small companies and how the right power modules and distribution can make a big difference, focusing on the following areas:

The small office

Small businesses, or SME’s (Small/Medium Enterprises) account for over 99% of UK businesses, employing over 12 million people. One of the challenges these new and growing companies face is managing the demands of an expanding workforce within a tight budget.

Once a business outgrows its initial start-up location and requires designated office space this signifies a big change in the functionality, not to mention the additional outgoings, of the company. Aside from deciding on location and furnishing of the new premises, there are other considerations that can make a significant difference to the smooth running of a company, namely the power set up.

It’s all in the planning

Determining the most efficient power set up for an office space can sometimes be a bit of a minefield, and is often an area that is not properly thought through in the planning stages. This either results in offices not having enough power outlets to meet the employees needs, meaning the inevitable spaghetti junction of lengthy extension leads crying out to be tripped over, or an over-specification of power in offices that rely heavily on remote working.

Taking the time to work out the power requirements for your specific company will ensure that employees are set up to start work safely and efficiently the second they sit at their desks.

Keeping costs down

One of the main considerations for most companies, when kitting out an office space, is inevitably going to be budget. Where appropriate, the most cost effective approach is to go down the open plan route rather than opt for individual offices, hence most small companies opting for an open plan layout. This is for the following reasons:

1. Open plan layouts allow for more flexibility. More workers can fit into the space and layouts can easily be rearranged to     accommodate expansion.

2. One larger work space will naturally have less heating requirements than several individual offices.

3. Large, open spaces require less targeted lighting than smaller individual rooms and natural light can be used to its full     potential.

4. Power modules can be shared between workers and communal hubs naturally lend themselves to phone charging     points.

Creating a productive office layout

Rather than randomly positioning desks around a room and hoping for the best, considering the layout of the space can make a huge difference to employees. So much so that a study carried out on the impact of office layout on productivity revealed that 79% of professionals directly link the quality of their working environment to their sense of job satisfaction.

Before you start, consider the following:

  • Available space
  • Natural light
  • Accessibility and maneuverability
  • Power sources
  • Department groupings
  • Need for communal spaces
  • Need for private meeting rooms

Power to the people

Different office layouts will naturally have different needs, but as a general rule of thumb, each employee will need at least one power modules or two sockets for the most basic set up of a phone and a lap-top. Then, factor in computers consisting of towers and monitors, add in a few desk lamps and a couple of printers and the socket counts starts to mount up.

A basic power set up for each employee consists of:

  • Under desk power for PC and Monitor, and lamp if applicable.
  • Accessible desktop module for mobile phone and laptop.

It’s getting hot in here

The way we work has evolved considerably since the days of the traditional allocated desk. In fact, these days, the average desk occupancy doesn’t often rise much over 50%. Although the prospect of hot-desking is often met with a mixed response from workers, the idea of creating a flexible workspace makes sense in terms of saving on resources.

Creative environments can benefit from moving away from the traditional desk set up, certainly as part of a hot desking environment. are great for creating more informal meeting/brainstorming areas, fusing a relaxed working environment with functionality.

Invisible access

Innovative products can simplify the type of power modules required, especially in smaller offices where employees are more likely to work in an open plan space and possibly even hot desk.

In desk power modules are becoming Godsends in many offices, especially when they appear and disappear at the touch of a button. Going a step further and integrating power modules that combine traditional plug sockets with USB ports, plus data, audio and even international sockets cuts down on the need for multiple adaptors and immediately enable any given desk space to be used by anyone.

Open plan spaces immediately open up the opportunity for communal mobile charging areas and shared power modules which can seamlessly integrate into the office environment whilst providing essential on the go power.

Even the traditional conference room isn’t immune to change, with power modules now being integrated directly into boardroom tables, making it easy for anyone within any meeting to create instant presentations on the go.

For more help determining the power requirements for your specific work space, take a look at our info-graphic.