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Home First Months Corporate Culture 3 Tips for creating a productive home office

3 Tips for creating a productive home office

Richard Henn
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The working office is evolving, and home offices are becoming more commonplace. Working at home has many perks; however, often executives working at home will neglect to invest in a working office that can assist in improving productivity, or choose technology that can make the home office more comfortable and efficient. In an attempt to remain connected with colleagues or the outside world, many people are using a wide range of video and audio conferencing applications.

The working office is evolving, and home offices are becoming more commonplace. Working at home has many perks; however, often executives working at home will neglect to invest in a working office that can assist in improving productivity, or choose technology that can make the home office more comfortable and efficient. In an attempt to remain connected with colleagues or the outside world, many people are using a wide range of video and audio conferencing applications.

 

Video and audio conferencing applications allow us to collaborate and contribute while away from our formal office space. Often, these tools are provided by our corporate IT department but the implementation of these applications into our home offices is left up to us – which could make working at home a bit challenging. There are some easy tips to follow on how to use these from your home.

1. Good-quality audio is a must

Of course, with home offices you are working with what you are given and, more often than not, the question of cost comes up. But you don't have to be elaborate in your set-up, or spend big money on acoustic treatment and noise insulation. Sometimes, a simple fix is enough.

One tip for creating good-quality audio is to use a headset as one with noise cancellation will cut out most of the unnecessary ambient noise in a home office and make working at home so much easier. This is important for the other participants in your call as nobody wants to hear the doorbell ring or the dogs barking while you are on a business call. Remember to place the microphone as close to your mouth as possible because the closer you are, the less likely the overall experience will be influenced by room reverberation, outside noise, or other distractions. A lapel or table-top microphone can also be used for a more integrated or sophisticated look.

2. Have a well-lit home office

This may sound like common sense but more often than not, meetings from home offices via video will have at least one participant sitting in darkness, or out of the video frame.

Before the call is initiated, use the self-view function to see how you will appear to the other participants so that, if needs be, you can quickly adjust your set-up before the session starts.

If you have the budget, a fluorescent tube above your desk will create the perfect professional lighting look and won't break the bank. If not, a standard desk lamp shining on your face from behind your PC monitor will work just as well.

Light and sound reflect and bounce off hard objects such as wooden floors or blinds and glass windows, so using a thick pile carpet or soft curtains is a cost-effective way to sound treat your room.

3. Don't sit in front of a bright background

This will create a poor video experience for the participant on the far side as you will create a hallow effect and they won't be able to see you face. Don't forget that the light in the room will change over the course of the day as the shadows move around the room, so remember to use that pre-call set-up opportunity to adjust your environment for a good experience.


Richard Henn is the CEO at Kathea Communications and has been with the company for the last five years. He has a B Comm., in accounting and finance from the University of Stellenbosch.

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