Just imagine your super long commute from the bedroom, to the bathroom, to the office (in your home). More and more employers understand the need for today’s workers to work from home. While the reasons may vary for your at home workplace, the importance of pre-planning for the possibility does not. Below we have listed some considerations as you plan your new home office.
Wiring: much like insulation, we forget what’s inside our walls until it’s too late, and then you see 100 cables and devices surrounding the floor of your new home office. The number one suggestion from Robert Kohl, IT Director at Monte Hewett Homes, “Add cable outlets on EVERY wall. Adding cable or internet locations after drywall is the top mistake by most home buyers. Plus, ask an IT Professional for an hour to help you plan your internal wiring structure. The idea is to keep most of the hardware in one neat location with very few wires showing.”
- Cat 5e vs. Cat 6. The industry standard for home and office is still Cat5e for internet outlets. BUT, with increasing demands for video, teleconferencing, and VoIP (voice over IP), home buyers should consider Cat 6 if a home office is VERY important to them. With this upgraded cable, you can send and receive more data.
- Cable Outlets, Coax Cable. Just a few years ago, you only installed a coax cable where you wanted a TV. Today, you need these cable outlets in locations for:
- Satellite hookups (note: run 2 coax cables from your roof to your network closet location for Dish and DirectTV vs. paying the satellite installer additional money),
- High Speed Broadband Internet (where do you want to place your modem, hopefully inside your network closet location), and
- HDTV locations (note: once again run two cables to your main TV location to view and record different programs on TIVO or DVR)
- Wireless Internet. Wireless has come a long way, but problems do still exist with drop zones and dead locations. In addition, wireless still isn’t as fast as a hardwire cable. Regardless, your wireless device will still need to connect back to the main network location for service. You should consider hiding these devices inside closets. Be sure to run Cat 5e and electrical to these locations.
- Telephone vs. VoIP (internet telephone). Fact: traditional telephone service is expensive. More and more homebuyers are considering VoIP (interent telephones) for their homes as cell phones become more mainstream. Once again, the hardware will need a connection back to your main service location, if not located in the same area. Consider running Cat5e (vs. Cat 3 for telephone) to all possible locations for a standard telephone unit. This will allow you 3-4 telephone lines in one location.
- Service. Once the wiring is done correctly, any service provider will work. Remember there ARE choices. Be sure to research the benefits of each, bundle services with one provider where possible, and DEMAND good service.
Technology isn’t going away, and Technology is always changing. Following some simple planning during the construction of your home can save you thousands of dollars as time goes on, and adds significant value to your home.