Out of the Bathroom into the Home Conferencing Suite...

One assumes that very few professionals working from home would choose to locate their office in a bathroom, although by the sounds of many a call, that’s precisely what they’ve done. These days we can all enjoy the luxury and advantages of clever collaboration software, such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business or others such as Webex or Zoom, but to use them effectively at home, we need to more carefully consider our immediate environment. All the brilliant software in the world won’t help your colleagues if you sound like you’ve got your head in a bucket and look like a shadow puppet...

Here are POLAR’s top tips for successful home working:-

Tip 1- REVERB: Start by tackling sound on the rebound... 
One fundamental problem that can cause issues even in a good audio setup is the reverb caused by hard surfaces in your beautifully appointed, but acoustically challenging home. Laminate floors, picture windows and hard furniture might all look lovely – but on a video-call, they can make you sound like you’re in the bath or a large medieval church. Solve problems by breaking up hard services with some soft furnishings, or why not address your echoing walls using sound treatments such as Primacoustic - room kits? These can be painted or even printed with pictures! Your colleagues will thank you and your calls will be less tiring... 

Tip 2 - SOUND: Be heard...
Now that you’ve given yourself a chance by thinking about room acoustics, consider actual audio quality. Poor audio is the bane of any video-call, often resulting in echo issues. Solve the problem using a dedicated speakerphone that performs echo cancellation and allows you to work without the hindrance of a headset. Some speakerphones like the Phonum from beyerdynamic allow you to connect your mobile and use this for audio calls at the same time as it’s connected by USB to your laptop. (Also enhances your music streaming service…) Isn’t it great now that you can hear properly?!  

Tip 3 - SIGHT: Collaborate like a pro...
Poor visuals mean distraction and irritation. If you’re going to get together on a video call, why on earth would you want to be represented as a slow-mo, flickering apparition? Remember, not all cameras are equal! Often, built-in cameras in laptops offer poor quality images and deliver poor performance in, for example, handling adverse light conditions. Be sure to use a high-quality external camera like this one from Avonic: CM20. That’s better. You’re out of the bathroom, you can hear, people can hear you and they can actually see you...but for best results, please take heed of the next tip... 

Tip 4 - LIGHTS: Camera, action...
“Ow! what’s that bright light?” comes the cry...So now you have the equipment, it’s time to make sure that you use it correctly. For example, try not to point the camera at a bright light source such as a window, as this will render you a silhouette and make you difficult to see on a video-call. Your colleagues may even wonder if you are an imposter... 

Tip 5 - WARDROBE: Keep it functional...
You never know when a persistent postman will require a signature for a parcel, so make sure you’re not sitting there in your undies, thinking you can stage this super-sharp video call with just your top on! It’s preferable (certainly for your collaborators) that you do not parade on camera in your under-garments. 

Tip 6 – FAMILY EMBARGO: This is work...
Pre-warn your family that you’ll be on a video-call. There are few things worse than a loud family member running through your video-call in pursuit of a cat/dog/child. Encourage your loved ones not to vacuum the floor during the meeting with your boss in which you’re explaining how great it’s been to work from home – it might appear that your carpets are getting a better return than your company. 

See! 

Working from home CAN be conducted in a professional, productive, enjoyable, rewarding and technologically enhanced way - the POLAR way. 


Check out our Working From Home Technology page, giving you the tools to effectively work from home.