What is work-from-home technology? Is it different from the technology we already use at home and elsewhere?
The short answer is: Yes, it’s different.
Technology that supports a work-from-home practice is broader than just tech gadgets and software. It considers other work-from-home items not typically thought of as ‘Tech’ – for example, a sit/stand desk.
At wofome, we start with the practice of working from home – then look at what is particularly suitable for that purpose.
Firstly, we look at tech designed primarily for working-from-home.
Then we look at tech that may be helpful while not explicitly designed for working-from-home.
Lastly, we look at homemade tech stuff Wofomers* create for themselves to overcome their own unique challenges. It’s amazing what great ideas people come up with!
If you have created something yourself, we’d really love to hear about it.
(* a Wofomer is a work-from-home-er)
What should work-from-home tech include?
wofome’s broad tech family includes:
- Desk tech & desk accessories (rigs, jigs, supports, mounts, cabling)
- Sitting & standing tech (orientation and elevation)
- Wellbeing tech (posture, ergonomic and exercise)
- Environment Tech (lighting, acoustics, backgrounds, backdrops, image manipulation software)
- Personal Body tech – (headsets, microphones, cameras, facial enhancement, augmented/virtual reality)
This list is not final. We are adding to it all the time.
A spotlight on a work-from-home Tech item
wofome focuses on specific work-from-home items that satisfy a particular work-from-home function. These insights each need a dedicated blog post to do them justice.
How to hide a messy background on a Zoom call
Have you ever needed to jump on an unexpected video call knowing your background is a mess? You’re in a panic. You’re worried it may reflect poorly on your online image. What to do?
- Try to change the direction where your webcam points. Do you have an alternate (ideally tidier) background area in your current workspace? One solution is to add castor wheels to your desk. That way, if you have the space, you can quickly orient the entire desk (including the webcam) towards a different background at a moment’s notice. Don’t forget to make an allowance for any change in cabling lengths.
- If your work tools (computer/smart device, webcam, keyboard etc.) are easily portable, look for a good background somewhere else in your home. Pay attention to the lighting and acoustic conditions of this area. Test it out before you get that unexpected video call. We recommend this option be for emergencies only. Your time is best spent on improving the background options in your established workspace.
- Software fixes. Software fixes have become popular. Most notably, digitally blurring your background, adding a favourite background image or using a Chroma Key Green Screen. We plan to do a more in-depth review of this technology in the future.
- Room dividers. These are panels you can easily make or buy. Look for panels that are lightweight, foldable, on wheels, and have a nice appearance. They can be stored easily, do not take up too much room (when folded), and can be quickly and easily swung into position when needed.
- Pop-up backdrops. These are typically used for signage at event exhibitions. The good ones are lightweight, and easily assembled/disassembled. If you work for an organisation, ask them if they can give you one (for free!). If it has their branding displayed, that’s free advertising for them. It will give you a more professional look as well.
- Roller Blind. A roller blind can quite easily be installed and dropped down for your zoom call, then be rolled out of the way once you’ve finished the call. Here’s and example. It neatly hides some messy office shelving. A roller blind only takes five seconds to deploy or retract.
Have you created your own homemade solutions? What are they? Often the best solutions are also the simplest.
To sum up, work-from-home technology is much broader than the way we usually think about technology. It extends beyond gadgets, devices, hardware and software into furniture, lights, acoustics, room treatment, ergonomics, props and more.
wofome’s Technology blog topic groups these often disparate subjects into a single domain to benefit our readers.