The economy-shaking events of 2020 have forced business owners around the country to constantly adapt to shifting local health guidance, major changes in consumer behavior and spending, and an uncertain timeline for a return to ‘normal’ business operations. Work from home technology needs have stolen the spotlight, and will likely continue to do so until a vaccine is widely available.
Remote work and contractor-based employment are not entirely new trends, but the rate of employers adopting this practice went from a trickle to a flood in 2020.
Unlike professionally designed and outfitted office buildings, however, most people’s homes don’t have the technology infrastructure to ensure reliable high-quality video conferencing, internet speed and data protection that is vital to any modern business.
The most resilient custom integration firms, the ones technology managers and decision makers should be partnering with, will be those that take action to diversify their clientele and expertise beyond commercial projects to provide for those evolving work from home technology needs.
Here is what you should know about work from home technology needs and what you should ensure your chosen technology integrators are adept at providing.
All Video Conferences are Not Created Equal
Employers and workers today are very comfortable with video and audio conferencing on a daily basis, but the quality of the experience still varies wildly from platform to platform and even day to day.
In general, the most important aspects of a video conference system are a reliable, fast internet connection, a high-quality video camera and microphone, and a platform that is easy to use.
With the right products, professionally designed video conferencing systems can be applied in home offices as easily as in a boardroom.
Whether a newly-working-from-home client wants to integrate their living room TV as part of a video conference system or simply wants improved performance from their desktop computer monitor, custom integrators can provide solutions for just about every budget.
From PTZ and ultra-wide cameras to USB microphones and better speakers, integrators have access to all the tools required to transform an impromptu home office into a modern powerhouse.
Enterprise grade networking gear can be applied to ensure ultra-reliable connections and speeds, and integrators familiar with specific digital conferencing platforms can provide insight into what equipment works best for each platform.
Companies Still Expect Control over Employee’s Devices
Small- and medium-sized businesses are among the most agile and able to adjust work tactics, but they also may lack the strict control over system access and data deployed by larger companies.
For businesses that are new to remote work, extra steps may be required to guarantee that employees use their work devices for work, and to keep them safe from viruses or malware.
This could include adding a VPN to a home network, upgrading networking equipment and encryption, and adding software that provides oversight of company-owned devices.
At the same time, the company must be able to easily enact system-wide updates without physically accessing each computer or device.
Remote System Monitoring Eliminates Frustrations
In order to keep every customer happy and maximize trust and appreciation for the installed networking, audio, video and control equipment, integrators should explain the benefits of remote system monitoring and management through IP protocols.
The ability to respond immediately when a router malfunctions can be a game changer for many projects, as frustration stemming from equipment issues can easily overwhelm non-technical homeowners.
Power control solutions, tied in with remote management services, enable instant equipment resets or adjustments.
In a home with other technologies, such as a home control system, integrators can deliver enhanced benefits by integrating scenes for specific video conference participants, daily schedules or customized alerts, which can all be programmed remotely, without need for physical interaction or having to roll a truck for a five-minute fix.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
“Work-life balance” had become a buzzword in recent years, but it got turned on its head when millions of people’s work and homelife became one and the same overnight.
Whether in an apartment, a house or a sprawling estate, any client working from home is a prime candidate for a home control system or targeted improvements such as professional-grade outdoor audio.
Commercial integrators’ experience designing and outfitting outdoor spaces with impressive AV and control technologies translates extremely well to the residential market.
When speccing a home video conferencing system, for instance, integrators can discuss adding multiple zones of audio for a more flexible work experience, or simply to provide more leisure activities.
If a control system is required or desired to handle multiple rooms of audio or video, suddenly the door opens to an entire world of upselling.
Integrators can detail the benefits of connected lighting, motorized window shades, garage door integration and advanced security/surveillance systems, branching off the home office needs to supply a more peaceful, customized environment.
Many homeowners may be “happy enough” using their laptop cameras and microphones for video conferencing, but that is only because they don’t know how to improve their home setup on their own.
They need professional guidance that only a custom integrator can provide.
Tech managers that seek out the right integration firms can help their end user employees better perform in work from home environments.