Sometimes working from home doesn’t feel as comfortable as it should. For yourself but also for the colleagues that have to see and listen to you. Here are some ways to improve the experience for everyone.
Transforming a space dedicated to work at home is not easy
… I say it is.
As long as you have space for a desk, the way to a good home office experience is not that hard. Of course, I’m only talking about the physical part of working from home and not the emotional one. Colleagues with kids, I feel for you.
A good desk is undoubtedly the most important thing in any office, also at home. Don’t use the kitchen table if you don’t want to destroy your back. A desk with adjustable height and a good chair is the best option to go for.
I went for a custom table-top from a carpenter of my choice combined with TIPTOE table legs that are assembled very easily. The benefit is that I can replace the table-top at anytime and reuse the legs.
I hate to see cables. They destroy every desk experience and I’m sure they have the worst feng shui that anything in your home can have!
The best option I found was a cable canal with holes on each side, that can be attached with sticky tape. I got enough for the whole length of the desk so that I can slide cables all the way in, when they are too long.
Ok, I got that you are well-educated and that you read a lot. But I don’t want to see your bookshelf anymore. Teams or Zoom have custom backgrounds that are far more entertaining than that.
I admit that I’m not the best background designer. The option I went for recently were two wall shelves with nerd stuff on it that I got from jobs in the past. I want to improve that in the future and for that I try to get inspiration from streamers on Twitch or YouTube. They often have very creative solutions so that it’s worth checking them out.
Now that you have a great experience it’s time to care about your colleagues. A good sound is the first thing to go for. These days some notebooks have good microphones, but they still have a hard time filtering out background noises.
One of the best options would be a USB Microphone with cardioid characteristic that only captures your voice. Some would say that is too much for a video call and that is probably true.
So, the most used solution I see these days are the AirPods, that I usually use as well. You don’t have cables, you can use just one while the other one is charging and the second iteration has a good mic, too.
Now that your colleagues can hear you properly it’s time to improve your video quality! Obviously, the first step is to get a good webcam if your notebook doesn’t have one already.
Almost equally important is good lighting. When you have a window in front of you it’s enough in most cases. If you don’t have natural lighting you can get a ring light that can be simply attached to your webcam. I eventually went with a LED soft box with adjustable intensity and temperature which I really like. I fixed it on the wall with a mount that is usually used for security cams or VR sensors like the ones from Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
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