Before many office workers transitioned to remote arrangements, the thought of working from home sounded like a dream. Who doesn’t love the idea of ditching the commute and staying in your sweats? But those of us who have been working from home for years know the reality, and it isn’t always as stress-free as it sounds.
At Fast Company (SA) we reached out to two executives from Headset Solutions, Tony Brown and Rodney Wearing, who have been enabling organisations to use tools that improve productivity. They shared insights that will still enable us to remain productive while working from home. Here are some of the habits they suggest you adopt:
USE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Professional equipment shows who takes their professional duties the most seriously. A home-worker with decent quality equipment, who can be seen clearly, heard crisply, shows they’re taking their duties as seriously as ever.
Quality Camera: Your built-in web-cam, on your computer or lap-top, is okay to start with, but it’s not a proper business solution to work from home.
Quality Headset: On the subject of “sound”, there are two essentials: “noise cancellation” and “active noise cancellation”. The first one cancels out all the background noise, when I am speaking to you. Like my neighbor’s dog barking! The minimum standard here is called “wide band”.
The second one cancels out the background around you, when I am listening online. So, this blocks out all the noise around me. This is essential to allow me to focus, and not be interrupted by distractions.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORKSPACE
Your home is now your place of employment. And your partner’s workplace. And your kids’ classroom. And your student child’s virtual university. This requires a fundamental new look at the space available to you, your family and/or housemates.
So it’s important to reevaluate what the optimal use of all your space is, to ensure everyone at home can now manage this full range of activities effectively – giving everyone the space, they need, to each fulfill their most important tasks.
Is there a ‘team home office’ you can all share, together? To keep up a sense of companionship and camaraderie? Yes, it may be a shame to give up that big lounge, for example. But perhaps it’s worth it.
Or do you need private office or quiet space – like a professional-looking corner in a bedroom, so you can close the door and work uninterrupted?
Think about this all carefully and re-arrange your home and furniture to what works best for those for those 30, 40 or 50 hours a week of work at home. Only you can know what’ll work best for you all, in your home.
Then, in your new workspace: Create your best view of yourself, online. Raise your laptop, so others don’t see you squinting down at them. Set the scene you want others to see.
Think about light. Is the window behind you too bright, turning you into a silhouette? Does it change – depending on the time of day?
All these elements play a role in how you are perceived online – but most importantly, they impact they way in which you are able to perform in this new, uncertain world of work. Having the best equipment and surroundings to suit your needs will only give you a positive push in the right direction and allow you to live up to your professional potential – from the comfort of your own home.