How to Untangle Your Office Wires
Technology is such an important part of our daily lives. And with more tech comes more cords and wires. For most–if not all–machines, cords are a necessary tool to make sure everything is connected and functioning effectively. But we can’t deny that having them around can be a pesky nuisance at times, taking up precious office space, becoming trip hazards, or causing a tangled mess in the unknown corners of our rooms.
How can we manage our cords effectively for cleaner spaces without compromising the benefits? Here are three questions to ask yourself and some simple solutions to help you out:
Do you even need that cord?
Safety is a crucial consideration when it comes to cord management. Ensure that the cords you’re currently using are in good working condition, free of any wires hanging out. Even a tiny nick exposing the cord’s inner wires could cause serious damage, especially when near wet areas. This poses a hazard to unsuspecting pets and young children.
All cords serve their primary purpose of conducting electricity, but not all are created equal. This should be no problem for cords that come with specific equipment, but the use of extension cords and off-the-shelf generic wires is another story. To prevent any mishaps, you should check the appropriate wire gauge for the level of electrical current you expect to use.
Optimal cord length is another issue that many overlook. While it’s tempting to buy the longest cord available, these could also be a big hassle when it’s underutilized. As such, the best cord is still the one with the length that’s just right for the job. It might mean buying more cords for options or trying out cable ties to shorten your cords in an instant, but it makes for a more fuss-free user experience.
Lastly, there’s the existential question: Is a cord even necessary? In the age of Bluetooth and the Internet of Things, practically anything can operate wirelessly given the proximity and a strong internet connection. Consider switching to a wireless mouse and keyboard. Or try rechargeable devices and skip the cord entirely.
Does it have to join the work clutter?
Once you’ve established that your wire is necessary, the next task is to make these wires a productive addition to your space. You can use polyethylene, nylon, or fiberglass wire sleeves to protect wires from the elements. Some sleeves feature resistance to overheating, are impervious to tears and punctures, and repel harmful chemicals, reducing the risk of damage to your electronics.
Aside from wire protection, wire sleeves make for great aesthetics as they neatly bunch up clusters of wires. This is especially applicable in wire hotspots like computer setups and electrical grids. Its various colors can serve as a label of sorts to differentiate cord groups, helpful in servicing or troubleshooting purposes. You can also take the direct route and use cord labels to make sure the variety of cords hanging about don’t get lost in translation right when you need them.
Many work and life essentials are powered by delicate travel cords such as phone chargers and earphones. Wire clips are an excellent solution for these not to get lost tumbling around your bag or on your desk. Assign a small section of your desk as a wired area and slot all your cords through the clips to keep them within arm’s reach when you need them and not flailing about when not in use. Using charging docks can also help segment delicate cords to one desk area.
Wires also creep along walls and floors as certain electronics serve as last-minute solutions or result from poor electrical planning. Try putting cable protectors on top of the cables. Choose protectors that blend well in the room. These also serve as covers to protect against tripping hazards or damage from foot traffic.
Do you need to see it?
The answer here is a resounding "No". Wires are connectors, but it doesn’t mean they need to be seen to be effective. In fact, the less you see wires, the more effective they become–bringing you convenience minus the mess.
Finding furniture that keeps this insight in mind is a big plus when shopping around. If you’re still in the design stage of your space, look for specialized tables that come with cord routing channels to guide wires cleanly across them. Accessible power outlets are also another benefit. Some desks or cabinets allocate space for built-in power outlets to keep things sleek.
If your tables don’t come equipped with solutions, you can always get creative. Leverage the underside of your desks and other blind spots in which wires can run through in a concealed manner, then tape them securely in place. If there’s no way to hide the cables, you can also consider dumping them in a plain acrylic box to keep things neat. Detachable cord storage solutions such as cord reels and cord pouches can easily keep wires as invisible as possible, especially when not in use.
Wires and cords are a vital network to many activities. But they are also something we can’t take for granted. Most electrical hazards in the workplace or otherwise will involve cords, so learning how to handle these responsibly is key to an effective workplace.
Remember that while cords are useful, balance is vital for proper management. If you can use other cord-free electronics, opt to do so. But if they are necessary, contain them through various wire accessories to cause as little disturbance to your work as possible. And lastly, allow them to camouflage into the background safely and securely through specialized fixtures, unseen corners, and sturdy containers.