With Covid cases dropping and vaccinations rising, many of us are beginning to see what post-pandemic work will look like. For some of us, this involves the ability to continue working remotely. For others, this means working in a hybrid model (a few days in the office, a few at home). As we begin to prepare for long-term working from home, setting up the perfect executive home office is crucial for comfort, productivity, and communication. Below are our six ingredients that make for an ideal recipe for your executive home office setup.
1. A well-built network
The first and most important aspect of a perfect home office is a well-built network. While a basic setup from Comcast or your local ISP might get you the speed you need to work from home, it rarely contains the network protections necessary to prevent cyberattacks and protect both your data and your company’s. 54% of IT professionals believing that remote workers pose a greater security risk than on-site workers*. Given this, having a network set up professionally is critical.
This is especially true in smart homes or homes with even just a few smart devices. Anytime a device connects to the internet, you are leaving yourself open to the possibility of a cyberattack. For homes with intelligent lighting, security systems, window treatments, AV, and more, this can be a huge problem. Off the shelf smart home devices often lack even the most basic security features. If this is the case, consider partnering with a smart home integrator (especially one with in-depth networking and cybersecurity knowledge). An integrator can partition your network into separate networks, called VLANs (virtual local area networks) so that your critical work devices live on a different network from your IoT devices. Check out our article on home cybersecurity for more information!
Pro Tip – At TSP, we recommend using Cisco Meraki for your home network. Meraki is not only backed by enterprise security heavyweight Cisco, but it’s also used in some of the world’s most cyber secure organizations, such as MIT, Montefiore Hospital, and our client Accel.
2. A Good Microphone and Camera
Not only should the perfect executive home office be comfortable and encourage productivity, but it should also allow crystal-clear communication. There is often no replacement for in-person meetings. Still, with the right microphone and camera, it’s easy to emulate this environment, avoid quality drops, and ensure nothing is lost in translation. Most laptops and desktop computers have built-in cameras and microphones, but their quality often pales compared to products from companies like Shure and Biamp that specialize in communication solutions. Picking the right microphone and camera is more complicated than just grabbing the first one you see on Amazon or the shelf at Best Buy. Room size, acoustics, and budget all factor into finding the perfect fit for your home office. Check out our article on microphones and speakers for what to consider before purchasing equipment.
Pro Tip- while there is no universal one-size-fits-all solution for your office’s microphone, many of our conference room installs utilize the Logitech Rally camera. This ultra high-quality camera features automatic tracking, following and focusing on the person speaking at any given time.
3. Speakers and Acoustic Treatments
Just as you want your voice to be heard in high quality by your coworkers and clients, hearing them clearly is just as important. Plus, listening to a few tunes while you work is always made better with high-quality sound. The first way to accomplish this is with quality speakers. At TSP Smart Spaces, we love the audio solutions Amina Sound, TDG Audio, and Bang & Olufsen provides. TDG and B&O create amazing speakers that both sound incredible and fit almost any home’s specific design. For a more discreet solution, Amina is the creator of the Invisible Speaker. Hidden in your office’s wall or ceiling, Amina Invisible Speakers sound amazing and are completely hidden from view.
Even with the highest quality speakers, the sound in your office will fall flat without acoustic treatments to optimize sound to optimize sound by eliminating echo which is a killer of “intelligibility” – industry lingo for being easily heard. Consider investing not only in treatments designed to absorb and diffuse sound, but in bringing in an acoustic expert to help you correctly place and install the chosen treatments. A diffuser or absorption panel isn’t going to do a lot of good if it’s not placed in the correct location!
Pro Tip – Artnovion (seen above) creates nearly endless styles of solutions for diffusion, absorption, and more. With a wide variety of materials, styles, and colors, Artnovion’s acoustic treatments not only improve the sound of your space, but add to your design narrative as well.
4. The Right Location
The right location can make or break your executive home office experience. A few factors play into selecting the correct location. If you have kids or family members at home, you might even go as far as building a shed or addition to your home in your yard. This is also helpful if you don’t want to disturb the rest of the household with a late-night call. Consider where the sun is during the day and try to find a location that gets plenty of sunlight. If you can’t find a place with natural daylight, consider investing in energizing lighting, more on that below!
5. Energizing Lighting
Most of us have preferred lighting, whether we enjoy a warm, soft glow or a cool, crisp environment. Being able to set lighting to specific settings, can help to set the tone for our workday. By investing in smart LED lighting, you can not only set all the lights in your office to your specific preferences; you can do it all from a single app on your phone, or via voice control through Amazon’s Alexa. Setting specific commands such as “Meeting Time” to brighten your office to the fullest during a Zoom call is not only convenient but gives your office a feeling of professionalism. If the light changes in the middle of a meeting you can change the curtains and lighting without needing to disrupt the meeting.
Pro Tip – Looking to bring your office lighting to the next level? Consider investing in Ketra LED lighting. Ketra emulates the sun’s natural light throughout the day and helps keep your circadian rhythm in check!
6. Window Treatments
Nothing is more distracting to your workday than glare on your computer screen. Keep the sun off your screen with automatic roller shades (we prefer Lutron’s!) Not only can automatic roller shades help you keep the sun out during the day, but they can also provide you with privacy at night time. This prevents neighbors or passerbys from seeing into your lit office. If you’ve already integrated smart lighting into your office, automatic window treatments can synchronize with your lighting to raise or lower when your lights turn on or off.
Taking it further
These ingredients are what we consider the most important for the perfect recipe for your home office. That being said, there is always room to improve further, whether that includes a nifty standing desk, a powerful mouse, or even a faithful office companion. Check out our favorite work-from-home products and let us know what items you can’t live without in your home office. Looking for a professional AV setup for your home office or conference room at work? Contact us today to get started! We’ve built conference rooms that deliver unparalleled communication across the world.