Upgrading My Home Office
I don’t do post like these but as we are in this new norm it is fitting to do so. I have been a remote employee for almost ten years now. I started in a delivery capacity and now I am focused in pre-sales. When I was in delivery my setup was simple. Enough to keep my machine’s up and running to do my job. Well, that evolved moving to pre-sales. I was traveling more. Doing client meetings or dinners. Even the occasional talk at a conference or customer event.
When my needs were lighter the investment in to anymore equipment at home wasn’t needed. I traveled so new suitcases or a travel bag where a typical buy. I guess that is what spurned my obsession with bags. I have more than my wife and she loves to point that out to me. But at the same time my home office wasn’t occupied. And with any premium space in the house it was co-opted. And as I was spending less time my wife and her Peloton moved in.
That all came to abrupt stop. Traveling wasn’t happening. Being on any client site even if it was local wasn’t happening. We went from no one working from home to everyone at home. From a pre-sales side this has pushed me to being more creative. What I could do in a 30 min meeting was much longer remote. I had to learn how to communicate better over the wire and not rely on being in person. Yes, I know it is worse for people in sales.
Not only was I at home, but the rest of the family was as well. At first it was full time. But now as we are opening back up it’s more hybrid than anything. This along with having to do my job remote has presented some interesting challenges.
First, I needed to get my office back. This took a coordinated effort on getting our basement cleaned up and the Peloton down there. Next I needed to start getting my office in such a way where I can expand. I knew I needed some more equipment but I didn’t know what and how much I needed. Was it a few new monitors? Or more than that. What I knew was that this was going to be an iterative process. I had way too many unknowns and my needs weren’t all known yet.
First was dealing with the echo. Nice rug, a chair and even drapes helped dampen the echo. The echo wasn’t bad until I had to close the doors as not to bother others in the house. I took the time to actually update the lighting. Elgato Key Light Air helped with keeping me front lit. Not a huge deal but as this is the new normal I wanted to try to make it as nice as possible for anyone on a call with me. They also integrate very well with the Stream Deck XL. Now I bought this device without knowing what it was actually for. Yes, I bought it to have quick buttons to open apps.
For a camera this was a bit harder to find. But I managed to find a Logitech HD1080p webcam. Better upgrade from the little camera on my MBP. Being that there is a shortage on any office or home office equipment anything I find was instant buy. But with these upgrades I am able to present and talk with a higher production than what I had. Cannot be in person but I am going for the next best thing.
I also took the time to upgrade the hardware around the home network. I had a decent Night Hawk router from Netgear. But having to manage more devices and more networks this became more of a job. So my co-workers took the time to educate me in the world of UniFi. I picked up the Dream Machine along with a BeaconHD. The Dream Machine was a great investment. Cleaner interface and easier to set up than the Netgear. The BeaconHD was not needed. It does allow the kids to work further away from my office while I am on a call.
This is the new reality. This isn’t going away anytime soon. Take the time to create a home workspace that works for you. The smallest improvements can make the biggest difference. Not only in how you are communicating with your customers or co-workers. But also in the quality of life in your every day office.