Back at the beginning of lockdown, none of us quite knew how long this would all be going on. Just under a year later though and most of us are still working from our laptops in a cramped corner of the house, making do with what only inverted commas could make an ‘home office’.
Sure, you might still be holding out for when you can get back to the office proper and leave all this cabin fever behind, but given that every company’s now adjusted to this new normal, who knows if that’s ever going to happen?
Rather than crossing your fingers that you’ll be able to escape the apartment at some point, instead try making the most of the space. Just because you were forced into a home office, doesn’t mean you can’t make it as productive a space as any company-bankrolled conference room. And your laptop’s built-in mic and speakers won’t cut it.
Instead, some of the more innovative home tech companies have been developing solutions to make working from home indistinguishable from the office, at least as far as your business contacts are concerned. And none have taken the concept to heart quite like smart home specialists Crestron.
If you have a few smart additions to your home, you’ll already understand the benefits of connectivity. Turning your heating on before you get in to take the chill out of the air; turning the lights down without having to sacrifice your sofa spot, all the daily joys that make smart home integration all the more satisfying.
Well, the UC-MM30-R – or snappier-named Crestron Home Tabletop Conferencing Device – extends that effortlessness to the workspace. Part console, part tablet, the new home conferencing solution combines a sleek, 7-inch touchscreen with a high-fidelity speaker and a four-microphone array. No more fading in and out of mic range and no more crackly laptop sound quality.
The console is also linked to any and all other smart home functions you have hooked up throughout your house, meaning you can use it to adjust the lights, music, thermostat, whatever you’d like. Perhaps more importantly, you can pre-set your ‘on a call’ settings.
Rather than scrabbling to turn off the music, turn up the lights and whatever else you need to be ready for a call, just hit one button and the system will set the scene automatically. All you’ll need to worry about is what you’re wearing. We don’t judge; your shareholders might.
Still, while you can light yourself well, there’s not much you can do about a small space. Which is why there’s also HomeTime. A collaborative system between Crestron and Zoom, HomeTime essentially combines a camera, microphone array and speaker designed to make the most of small spaces, with Crestron’s smart home interface.
A wide-angle lens makes sure you can be seen nice and clearly and the video coming from your colleagues can be played through a TV screen, making sure you can see them. If the Crestron Home Tabletop Conferencing Device is the ultimate solution for call quality, HomeTime is its visual equivalent.
Hopefully over the next few months we’ll all be able to get back to the office now and then. But if you were hoping that it would mean a return to normality you might want to plan accordingly. You’re probably not the only person that’s gotten a little too comfortable working from the sofa in your old trackies. So rather than hold out for a better working environment, make the most of what you have. Crestron’s innovative solutions are a very good start.
Now you have the technical set-up, it’s time to give your office a facelift. After all, if there’s one thing we’ve seen more than ever since everyone’s been working from home, it’s inside people’s homes. Make yours the envy of every call.
Artifox Table in White Oak, $2,100
All the furniture pieces from Artifox have two things in common: sleek, minimal design and plenty of space-saving measures. This deceptively simple table in natural white oak is no different. The hardwood, aluminium and steel construction is hardwearing, and the underneath is designed to hide any and all unsightly cables that might come from your conferencing set-up.
Available at The Artifox.
Dom Edizioni Vicky Wheels, £1,490
Forget those old, slightly dangerous office chairs with the inevitably broken adjustment lever; the Vicky is pure Italian craftsmanship at it best… on wheels. The minimal design is elegance incarnate but with all the adjustments you could need to suit your home working set-up. Throw in comfortable leather construction and you have the perfect touch of office chic.
Available at Dom Edizioni.
Highgate Home Federico High Bookcase, £1,085
Want to prove you know what you’re talking about without having to say a word? Load this charismatic bookcase with a few artfully placed books on the subject and make sure they can be seen from your conferencing camera. The combination of metal and glass with wood accents lets you show off in any combination if books and objet d’art you could want.
Available at Luxdeco.