The Hybrid Home Office
In October 2020, Jones Lang LaSalle analysed an online survey of 2 033 office workers spanning major industries across 10 countries aimed at understanding how workforce preferences are shifting workplace priorities for employees. A key takeaway was a transition toward hybrid work as a preferred way of working. Of those surveyed, 75 per cent expected their employer to support their work at home, one in three asked for an allowance, and for 72 per cent, work-life balance had overtaken securing a comfortable salary (69 per cent) in post-pandemic importance.
Workshop17 co-founder Mark Seftel offers some home office tips: find a quiet workplace, a good light source and decent active seating (so your core is activated) or a standing desk. “Many desks can power a laptop, phone, light and router – you want a hidden tray underneath where you can put all that cabling so you don’t land up with a spaghetti situation on top,” says Seftel. “And break the sedentary behaviour by getting off the chair and moving more.”
Seftel says sourcing a reasonable background for video conferencing calls or webinars is increasingly topical. A cluttered pile of folders and boxes won’t do. Office etiquette is another aspect: ensure a stable link and decent microphone so people can see and hear you. “There’s an obligation to be ready at the start time, and to be heard,” he says. “Wearing a headset is okay as you’re not disturbing those around you. It also shows others it’s a private call.”
Pea in a pod
A crafted David Krynauw Cozy Office Pod is one functionally stylish remote office option. Its compact design fits easily into an urban garden and the unit is air-conditioned. Installed, a Cozy Office Pod for two should set you back R136 800, depending on the configuration. The Deluxe Pod version (seating four maximum) startsat R169 800.
Tech up for the everything office
Home offices have evolved into an “everything office” says tech fundi Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx MD and editor-in-chief of Gadget. A remote office can run efficiently with only a laptop, webcam and internet connection. “But to thrive in the new era of personal branding, global positioning and slash roles, one may need a little more,” he says. An “everything office” can set you up not just for a video conference, webinar or virtual presentation, but also for complex meetings and events with multiple participants in different locations.
In short, a home office can double as a multipurpose meeting venue, and triple as a media centre with access to TV, streaming video and audio, and recording equipment.
The smartest speakerphone
In the era of business driven by video conferencing, a device certified for Microsoft Teams and Zoom offers a definite edge. Smart speakerphones need to be compatible with both hardware and software to ensure flawless sound in meetings. Goldstuck recommends the Plantronics Poly Sync 20. “It’s slim and portable so ideal for taking an office anywhere,” he says. It promises a 20-hour battery life and connects wirelessly through Bluetooth, or wired via USB, to smartphones and computers. “It picks up sound up to two metres away, meaning one can be heard clearly while walking around a home office, hotel room or small meeting area,” adds Goldstuck, “so no headphones are needed if moving while talking.” That’s thanks to a multi-microphone array, which also eliminates echo and background noise.