Turning a home office into an efficient communication and collaboration centre

Turning a home office into an efficient communication and collaboration centre

Article, 11/2021, 5 min read

While an optimal digital collaboration experience is a very organisation-specific issue, it has also become one of the most fundamental keys to employee productivity, engagement and business success. As work can often take place from anywhere and employee expectations keep changing accordingly, the essence of meaningful, fulfilling experiences can't be overemphasised

Especially in organisations where employees can freely choose where they want to physically spend the day, home is one of the most preferred places for working. Contrary to perceptions before the pandemic, home is the location people tend to turn to in situations where they need to be on top of their productivity.

"Employees stay home when they must focus on working or on an important meeting – and they head to the office whenever they want to socialise", Vincent Dal, Solution Architect Manager at Poly, explains. "In addition, today even most of the socialising takes place remotely, so the role of the office has diminished considerably".

Even in the hybrid world, boundaries are needed

Vincent adds that even though both work and life-related issues can seemingly be handled from one location, it is essential to have a curtain between them. While he himself has the luxury of a separate working shed (rather, a building that looks like an air-traffic control centre from the inside and a golf ball shaped UFO from the outside) in the backyard, Dal emphasises that it does not take nearly that much to create a separation. 

"If your work takes place at the kitchen table, the least you can do is close your laptop and slide it away when the work is done. Having any kind of a closure is important when it comes to recharging your batteries for the next day."

The working-from-home experience is a strong factor in productivity, wellbeing, and engagement. When video collaboration plays a significant role in any given workday, the setting and equipment can make all the difference.


Setting up your home for the next hybrid meeting

Since homes tend to differ from one another more than workspaces in an office, special attention must be paid to setting up the environment in the best possible way.

"Different departments, job functions, environments, and individuals all have unique needs and requirements, and these carry on to the hybrid world as well", Vincent Dal says. "The communication and collaboration conditions require individual consideration, just as the needs of an office desk are wildly different."

A separate room, let alone a building, is always an excellent choice of location for hybrid work at home. If that is not possible, one should look in the direction that is away from the most social and active sections of home. As long as there are as few distractions as possible close by, even a corner of the living room can be made adequate.

The background is another issue that deserves a closer look when setting up the best possible framework for productive communication and collaboration. Busy-looking skyline posters, avant-garde paintings and such complicated backgrounds tend to create distractions and allow focus to drift away from the subject at hand. Calm colours and solid walls do not cry for attention and allow everyone to concentrate on work.

Lighting can make plenty of difference as well. Daylight always works best but sitting right by a window should be avoided due to strong shade. The main issue with lighting is to make sure that there is enough of it.

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Choosing the right equipment

"Especially when it comes to audio, bad equipment makes you feel a lot more tired", Vincent Dal points out. "The conditions should be arranged so that you can work the way that suits you best: use a wireless headset if you want to walk around during meetings and so on. Personal preferences play an extremely significant role in working efficiency."

Another essential issue that is often forgotten at home is the fact that meaningful experiences are created – or missed – at both ends. Vincent Dal reminds that the ideal remote collaboration setup also takes the recipients into consideration.

"In addition to sufficient audio quality, the better the video quality, the more convenient it is for others to see your expressions and interpret your body language correctly. If you move around, a camera that follows you and adjusts accordingly is a big help for the overall experience."


Making every persona count

In the process of choosing the right equipment for working from home, the role of personal preferences surfaces again. Investing in an expensive headset makes no sense if there is no actual need for it: instead, attention should be paid to the fact that the chosen equipment will be put to good use.

To put organisations on the right track, Poly has created the concept of six working personas: stereotypes of hybrid workers into which 92 per cent of all workers can be classified. The personas have been created based on where they spend most of their day, how many devices they use to communicate, and the specific challenges they face while working.

In addition, there is the individual style and behaviour during meetings and collaboration. While some like to sit tight and focus on their laptops, some like to stand up, walk around – even beyond Bluetooth reach – and wave hands. Some surroundings require noise cancellation more than others, and so on. Every employee and home are different, and the focus should be on enabling each and every hybrid worker to communicate and collaborate in a professional manner.

"Providing the right equipment for these workstyles is critical to driving productive and immersive experiences", Vincent Dal mentions. "While the personas help create a list of suitable options that can help the employee in question, the final choice should always be made according to personal preferences."

Providing employees with state-of-the art solutions and support for working from home – or from anywhere for that matter – is a good thing for both people and for the business. When everyone can communicate and collaborate professionally, be their true selves and have meaningful experiences working from home, any organisation has a better opportunity to succeed. 

Vincent Dal

Solution Architect Manager EMEA, Poly

Vincent Dal is EMEA Solution Architect Manager at Poly, focusing on the Microsoft TEAMS ecosystem integration. 

His career started in telecommunications and grew through VoIP into Collaboration. Vincent has always been an advocate for the new way of working and, and thus always been an early adopter of new technologies. Working from home has become is preferred way of working, using high quality video and audio to optimize the experience. 

Follow Vincent on http://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdal

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