Author: Phillip Pini, Director Residential Sales UK at Crestron

        Over the past year and a half, we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of living, working, and learning. While it felt confusing and difficult at first, we can’t deny that some aspects are becoming normal.

        As human beings, we try to innovate and evolve to make our lives easier. Technology has always played a big role here. And while COVID-19 didn’t change the requirements of the workplace, it did accelerate the process. Activity-based work, where you decide where you work based on the nature of what you’re doing, is the perfect example. It’s a term that has been around for years, but because of COVID-19, the adoption rate is increasing dramatically.

        Working from home will remain an option in many organizations. In fact, some of the world’s largest companies plan to keep remote work as a long-term business strategy, causing homeowners to evaluate the best setup for their home office space. Architects and developers are designing homes with dedicated office spaces and more flexibility to accommodate working and learning. This is true for both new builds, as well as retrofits where a home office space had not been necessary before. Depending on whether the project is driven by the homeowner or their employer, the requirements for these spaces can be different.

        If a homeowner is looking for a setup that will ease the way they work in the home office, they’ll usually request a desktop solution that combines home control and audio conferencing, using a separate video camera when needed. This solution undeniably has its perks, as it allows the homeowner to turn off the music or raise the shades from the same device that they’re taking a business call from.

        If the home office is driven by the company, the requirements are different. While the company wants to help its employees battle meeting fatigue by providing a dedicated device, this also means they suddenly have an exponentially greater amount of technology and spaces to manage, without an increase in IT staff to manage them. Companies want to make sure they can remotely provision, monitor, and manage devices across their entire enterprise; home offices included. And more often than not, they want a device that enables you to natively join the company’s preferred collaboration tool, such as Microsoft Teams® software. As a result, companies are looking for a dedicated device that’s always enabled and ready. This enables the employee to see his/her Microsoft Teams calendar and join meetings with one touch, while working from home.

        It’s important to equip employees working from home with the tools that keep them connected and engaged with their colleagues. With the right technology platform, they can enjoy a consistent experience throughout their workday. Whether working in-office or from their home office, organizations must empower their employees to work effectively with a reliable technology standard from wherever they choose to work.

        But of course, the ideal home office is more than just picking the right technology. Good natural light will improve the mood and help boost performance. Background distractions should be eliminated to keep the attention of the employee focused during their video calls. Additionally, enough table-surface should be available, so workers can comfortably spread out devices, papers, and other content necessary for their day-to-day responsibilities. The office chair should keep the body forward, shoulders back, and support the lower back. The correct alignment to the keyboard will impact typing accuracy, which in turn impacts cognitive performance. 

        If you’re a residential installer, given the increase in home office requests, it’s worth exploring the benefits and expectations of homeowners in these spaces. After all, the hybrid workforce is here to stay, so it would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity.


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