As hybrid home-office models proliferate, so too do concerns about how to keep communication and performance consistent when employees’ environments are regularly rotating. A common misconception among employers is that without the structure – both technological and physical – found in the office, remote employees will be less reachable and less productive. For employers who trust employees to remain meticulous and simply desire to standardize the way they work, wherever they work, the best bet is to make employee home offices as similar as possible to the communal office. This starts at the foundation – not of the buildings, but rather the power that keeps everything online, in both locations.
In home office settings, disruptions in the performance of electrical equipment can often be traced to the power quality within that environment rather than the equipment itself. Power anomalies in the form of swells, sags, surges, brownouts, and everything in between can cause disruption, and that’s bad for business. These bothersome disruptions are often curtailed at the office because as a commercial property, the power to the building has likely been analyzed by a power conditioning system which identified potential issues and had power solutions installed to resolve them. It is not that the office has perfect power – such a thing does not exist – but rather that the office has proper power management. When employees shift to remote work, as they did in 2020, a new obstacle becomes apparent: residential power is often more unpredictable than commercial, with less defense in place for protecting against power anomalies and more decentralized locations to manage within the workforce.
To better empower those you manage, better manage their power
Power analysis is expected for commercial properties because smart businesses are proactive about preventing problems before they arise so that if an issue occurs, customers and clients do not experience any interruption or downtime. Within the residential environment however, problems tend not to get fixed until there is an issue and in the case of power quality, those issues are difficult to detect.
For the average person, simply seeing that the lights are on leads them to believe their power is all set: not so. Power availability is not the same as power quality. Unaware of this distinction however, remote workers rarely have the tools to analyze and manage their power properly. While this would normally not be a concern to the business if employees were in the main office all the time, under the growing need for a hybrid remote/work model, home offices of employees are now extensions of said business. Employers should therefore take the same preventative power management measures they do at the office in the homes of their employees.
This is needed more now than ever, as the uptick in work-from-home and learn-from-home models have strained power infrastructures beyond their usual burden. Previously, it was entirely likely that a remote employee would have the house to themselves with children in school or partners also off working. With recent and widespread COVID-imposed restrictions, the home is crowded as families adapt. This added power demand throws off power quality for the entire energy environment. So, what can businesses do to keep employees’ power quality adhering to the smooth sinewave electrical engineers love to see?
Analyze the Environment, Arrive at Solutions
First, conduct a power environment analysis using a power conditioning system. This process is simple and only requires a technician to plug in a tool that needs to remain in place for a month or so. During that time, while employees are conducting business as usual, the power conditioning system will provide technicians both visibility and control into the power conditions on site via data reporting and analysis. The system will provide power protection and conditioning as it runs, and once the data is collected, technicians are able to reach conclusions about the likely causes of power equipment disturbances and which technologies can best alleviate them. Granting the installer remote access to view and resolve power disturbances is as simple as remote employees plugging their diagnostic advice into the wall.
Depending on the needs of the power environment, the proper power management solutions will change. The burdens plugged into outlets throughout the home will vary since not every employee requires the same devices and not every home has the same number of occupants. In any case, the standard style of solution typically needed is one that will measure electrical parameters, including voltage, current, power, frequency, power factor, and crest factor, while also providing advanced surge protection and power conditioning in an appropriately sized form factor. A variety of these products exist but you’ll want to be sure that the one you choose eliminates surge, rather than simply redirecting it, as those products are notoriously temperamental – a trait you don’t want when consistency is the goal.
The goal of power management products in business-related applications, especially as the need, request, and demand for hybrid remote models skyrockets, is to keep critical electronic systems online and avoid dreaded downtime. With more of the workforce upgrading, creating, and installing home offices in an effort to log on to work from home in compliance with an adopted hybrid workplace model, it’s more important than ever for businesses to consider those home offices as extensions of their business and put measures in place to establish a solid power foundation – just like they do at the office. Empower remote employees by ensuring their environments are protected by power anomalies that can plague productivity.