The One Home Office Tech Essential You Can’t Afford to Miss – Your Battery Backup

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Millions of people around the globe now work from a home office at least part of the time, as the gig economy and freelancing workforce keep growing, plus more companies are recognizing the benefits for employees to work from home.

However, not everyone who works from home realizes this fact: In order to stay productive at home, even in the face of a power outage, you need some type of battery backup solution to keep various electronic devices running smoothly.

More than half of all workers around the globe work outside of their main office headquarters for at least 2.5 days every week, according to a recent study of more than 15,000 business people across 80 nations by IWG, an office space provider based in Switzerland. Globally, 75% of workers consider flexible working to be “the new normal” and 62% of companies have a flexible workspace policy, the study found.

And it’s proving to be effective: Gallup found that employees who work from home three to four days a week are 33 percent more likely to “feel engaged” and 15 percent less likely to feel “not engaged” than employees who report to the office each day.

A recent report by Regus (an IWG operating company) estimated that by 2030, the US could see an economic boost of as much as $4.5 trillion annually from flexible working – more than 20% of its current GDP. China and India could gain $1.4 trillion and $376 billion annually, respectively, the survey found.

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Battery backup is crucial to productivity and uptime

But those kinds of productivity boosts will only occur if remote workers remain connected. To accomplish that, you need to be able to weather the occasional utility brownout or blackout without losing valuable data or being left without Internet connectivity, leaving you unable to take advantage of the tools that enable effective communication and collaboration with colleagues, partners and customers.

Imagine you’re in the flow of work, maybe writing a document, working on a spreadsheet, or collaborating with colleagues on a web-based conference, complete with screen-sharing, whiteboards and perhaps video. Suddenly, the power goes out in your home office. Perhaps you lose whatever file you were working on, and you would certainly be disconnected from that conference. The flow comes to a grinding halt and the day’s productivity takes a nosedive.

A battery backup solution, such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), can prevent such events. Depending on the model, a UPS will provide at least a few minutes of runtime for a desktop computer – enough to gracefully shut it down so you don’t lose data (not an issue with laptops, which have an internal battery). Yet the routers that supply your Internet connection draw far less power, enabling a UPS to keep it running for hours. That would prevent that conference call from dropping and enable you to remain productive.

UPS protects expensive IT equipment

A good UPS also provides another important element for home office workers: protection against power surges. Surges are short bursts of power that can damage sensitive equipment such as PCs, monitors and printers because they deliver a higher level of voltage than the equipment is built to handle. And surges are not uncommon. They can result from a number of causes, including outside utility work, lightning strikes and other weather events, even from appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners as they cycle on and off.

In a home office, you have two options for protecting against surges. One is a power strip with surge protection built in, while the other is a UPS that offers surge protection. If you go with the UPS option, you don’t need a separate surge protector. It’s likely you can find a UPS with enough outlets to power the home office gear that needs protection. Many now even come with USB ports, to power smartphones and tablets while also protecting them from surges – and enabling you to keep them powered through an outage. Some are “smart” UPSs that support remote monitoring – a nice feature if you want to keep tabs on your office when you’re away.

You will need to consider exactly how your home is set up and where the various components that provide Internet connectivity are located. If your router isn’t in your office, it should have its own UPS for backup. And some services, such as Verizon FIOS, require an optical network terminal (ONT) – a box full of electronics that are likely located in the basement or utility closet. It, too, will need UPS protection in order for your Internet connection to remain live through a power outage. But look at it this way: it’s a small price to pay to ensure you remain connected and productive in the event of a power outage.

How to build power protection into your home office design

APC by Schneider Electric has a long history of providing battery backup and UPS solutions for all sorts of requirements, from the largest data centers to small, but important, home offices. To learn more, visit our home office web page, which has more information on the sources of power outages and the role of UPSs. Or, visit our UPS buying guide page, which includes a UPS selector that will guide you to the UPS that’s right for your needs. A small investment in a UPS can protect you against the risk of losing valuable data or even a single hour of productivity.

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