The home office has taken on a much more important role since the pandemic began and will continue to be a crucial element of work and communication.
CEO, Home Technology Association
With the home’s new role as a workspace, it is vital to build an environment of professionalism. Here are the five tips that can help homeowners strike that balance:
1. Internet connectivity/network
A high-speed, secure, and rock-solid home network is vital to productivity and professionalism, as it reduces lag and poor quality picture and sound. The best option is a wired network connection as it provides greater consistency compared to Wi-Fi. Back this wired connection with the fastest package possible from your internet service provider and make sure that you have an enterprise-grade network (business class) to provide you the fastest, most reliable, and most secure connection possible.
A qualified technology integrator can configure your network to prioritize your internet bandwidth. Video streaming and online gaming can eat up a big chunk of your home’s connection; your integrator can design your network to prioritize video conferencing so you always look and sound your best.
Sound quality is the most important part of building your home office. Start with a high-quality microphone so your clients can understand you clearly. A headset with a built-in microphone or a dedicated wired microphone that connects to your computer is recommended. To reduce echo, add sound-absorbing acoustic wall panels. If you are building a new home office or doing a major remodel, hire an acoustical designer. They will be able to help with a much higher level of sound isolation through special wall, floor, and ceiling construction techniques.
A high-quality video feed adds the personal factor that is crucial to building client relations. Use a high-quality external camera to ensure clarity. Better cameras will allow you to adjust the field of view so you can prioritize the focus on you. Placement is key — having the camera in the right place creates the illusion of eye contact that helps create the atmosphere of a live meeting.
A well-lit room improves the video conferencing experience and will better simulate an in-person meeting. Be sure your face is well-lit from the front so as to not create shadows under your eyes that may result from overhead lighting. Ring lights and other purpose-built lighting are easy to add for this purpose. Human-centric lighting is a more involved solution that also carries productivity benefits.
5. Smart home office control
Smart home automation will make your home office more convenient and productive. Since your home office has lighting and very likely a TV and music system, make life easier by having a technology integrator create preset scenes for you that instantly change the use and feel of your office. For example, a preset scene called “on a call” can brighten lights, close shades, pause music, and trigger an indicator light outside the door to turn red, alerting the family to not disturb. When the call ends, tap on a touchscreen to trigger an “off the call” scene which returns the office to its prior state.