As the #LifeGoesOnline transformation sets in, work-from-home migrants are learning that setting up a home office may be a little trickier than they first thought. From tech setup to interior decoration, there’s a lot of little adjustments that can make a huge difference.
Rather than taking the trial-and-error approach to home relocation, here’s a list of tired and wired” trends that you can use to avoid common mistakes and make the most of your time working remotely:
Tired: The Spare Room. There’s a reason you don’t go into that windowless, cramped cubbyhole of a room. Many people are setting up their home offices in the most convenient spot, usually the last space in the house without any good furniture, only to find their productivity dives and their drive decreases.
Wired: The Sunny Room. Let the sunshine in! According to a study cited by Psychology Today, participates were observed to be more productive when in sunlit areas. Further, those working in sunnier areas reported fewer occurrences of physical problems and increased quality of life. So try dragging that desk out of the “dungeon” and pull it out into the bedroom, the living room, or even the kitchen; wherever there is more invigorating light.
Tired: Wireless Internet Connection. Nothing beats the freedom of wireless. Your personal laptop may have never even been plugged into an ethernet connection even once; however, when bandwidth-hungry applications start running, it’s easy to tell which person on the on a stuttery video conference isn’t plugged into a high-speed source. Not a great look on an important virtual meeting.
Wired: Wired Connection. You just can’t beat a hard connection for internet speed. There are several reasons for this, but in general, wired internet has less lag, disconnects less frequently, and is generally better for cybersecurity. Try moving your router or modem with hardwire distance of your workspace, or set your desk near the modem or ethernet port.
Tired: Self-Conscious Video Conferencing. Do you ever cringe when the computer camera kicks on and you see your face flash on the screen? You’re not alone. Most people hate the way they look during video conferences. According to an informal survey done by video conference software vendor Highfive, the most common complaints people had about regarding their on-camera appearance were their hair (35 percent), facial expression (39 percent), teeth (24 percent), dark eyes, (24 percent) and double chin (22 percent). When you’re looking bad and feeling self-conscious, it’s hard to inspire confidence in others.
Wired: Confident Conferencing. The truth is that almost everyone looks bad in a video conference. It may not be your face’s fault, nor even the cheap camera’s. The main culprit, most always, is poor lighting.
Don’t worry; getting the right light is an easy fix. Here are a few lighting tricks to get you looking more professional:
- Sit facing a light source. Move your lamp behind your camera and face the bulb toward you (if it’s not too bright). Alternatively, set your workspace up so that it’s directly in front of a window.
- Get a gadget. Portable, affordable light sources such as the Lume Cube can provide just the right aesthetic without blinding you.
- Go the cheap route. If gadgets aren’t your thing, you can always just get a light clamp with a dimmable bulb and clip it to your monitor, pointed at your face.
Tired: Piecemeal, Improvised Set Up. Most people are having a go at DIY home communications set up, only to find their telecommunicating technical difficulties regularly fill up half the squares on a video-conference bingo card (“Sorry, I was having technical issues, etc.”)
Home tech setup times can drag too, with many apps being installed on an as-needed (read: last-minute) basis. While many people are forgiving of technical difficulties during the transition, delays can get frustrating, especially for the conference-savvy VIPs you’re most often trying to impress.
Wired: Turnkey Set Up by Pros. A newer, valuable service has emerged during this outbreak: low-cost home-office-in-a-box tech setups from tech companies and telecoms. For less than $100 in most areas, you can get a complete phone and teleconference solution set up in less than one hour. Features vary, but the best services will handle implement conference bridges, file sharing, whiteboarding, and call handling, all at once.
Get Comfy . . . Your Home Office Might Be Here to Stay
Although the quarantine is temporary, the massive “work from home” experiment may finally prove that normal, functioning adults can be counted on to work remotely without issue. That might lead to more home office options in the future.
As such, it’ll pay off to set up your space thoughtfully and with the right tech from the get-go. Set up facing the light, get your stage in place, and look for a technology partner who can take care of the tech so you can be at your WFH best.