Telecommuting and Electricity — When Your Job Relies on Power
With the recent rash of tornadoes and hurricanes, and the power outages that ensue, the issue of electricity and stable power supply is critical for telecommuters to consider. While telecommuting has increased nationwide by nearly 40 percent from 2006 to 2008, and continues to grow, most utility companies haven't modernized in ways that help teleworkers, leaving telecommuters vulnerable to mother nature.
Whose Responsibility is a Steady Electric Supply for Telecommuters?
Losing a few hours of juice isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of work projects, but losing a day, or, in worst-case scenarios, a week or more, can jeopardize any teleworker's position.
While many large companies require telecommuters to create workaround arrangements to ensure steady work operations, employees of smaller businesses may not have the same requirements, but may find themselves quickly replaced if they don't get power and get back to work — fast.
Before you run out to secure the power you need, clarify expectations your company may have regarding how to handle a residential outage when you work from home.
Solar Power Options
Solar energy is the most stable solution, especially off-the-grid options. While federal tax breaks through 2016 heavily subsidize solar set ups, most of us don't have the $25,000 or more to set up full systems that generate enough kilowatts or store enough energy in battery back-up solar power systems to weather serious breaks in service.
A small solar charger can come in handy, though, to power a smartphone and allow for web access and email access if your corporate policy allows. If you don't have tens of thousands to buy whole-house solar, spring for a $30 solar cell phone charger.
Generators for Backup Power Supply
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Generators provide a decent backup source of power but can fry delicate computer systems. If you use a generator to power up your computer, keep in mind if your Internet provider is down, the generator won't help your work situation.