Now, you don’t have to be a celebrity to live on camera. With Zoom, Skype, and other virtual team chats becoming more common, being on camera at work is a frequent occurrence. Whether you are in the process of designing a home office, or your home office needs an upgrade, Office Upgraded wants to help you make your office “zoom-friendly” and ready for your 15 minutes of fame.
To set up your office, you’ll need a few things, including:
- A room with a door for privacy
- A desk with ample space
- Sufficient artificial or natural light
- An uncluttered backdrop
- A desktop or laptop computer with a built-in or external webcam
- Adequate internet speed
- Headphones or high-quality speakers
- A microphone
- A USB Hub to charge your phone, tablet, or computer
- A voice assistant to help create meetings, set reminders, and answer questions
We imagine that everyone has already chosen their “home-office” set-up, at this point of working from home. However, your space may not be “Zoom-friendly” or private.
Because sound waves can carry through the air, and through wood and metal, it can be hard to effectively sound-proof your office. Particularly if you don’t have a door, privacy can be an issue and meetings can be filled with background noise and distractions.
There are a number of solutions, including a temporary door, like a curtain, slider, or folding door. While curtain and curtain rods are easy to find and install, doors can be a little more challenging.
Check out the list below for a few great options:
- The Oakmont Interior Multifold Folding Accordion Door provides easy installation and maintenance free operation. Instructions are included, and the vinyl panels are easy to install and remove, depending on your preference and the size of your doorway.
With the door, mounting hardware, and track included, this will provide a great temporary barrier between your office and the rest of the house.
- The RYB HOME Portable Curtain provides noise insulation and blackout light protection, emphasizing the importance of privacy in your home. This curtain allows you to split rooms harmoniously, or block off your home office for some privacy during meetings and work. With compatibility for a variety of door frame sizes, this curtain offers flexibility and functionality.
- The Homlux Heavy Duty Sliding Barn Door offers a quick and easy installation for privacy and noise cancellation for your home office. With a stable and quiet track and pulley system, this door is easy to move from side to side and saves space that a traditional door takes up.
This door is strong, high-quality, and perfect for any home office currently lacking privacy.
Besides a door, a desk with ample space is important for a Zoom-friendly home office. While you may need lots of notebooks, scrap sheets of paper, pens, and charger cords to complete your work, you might not want to show those off during meetings. With a big enough desk, storage and organizational problems will be a thing of the past.
One of the best options, the TOPSKY Computer Desk is fashionable and affordable. With a large working surface that allows you to work on any project, shelves for storage, and adjustable feet caps for stabilization, this desk is an ideal choice for any home office.
Considering the “Zoom-friendly” desired nature of your home office, this desk is a stylish addition. Made of a thick, waterproof material, this desk is resistant to stains and scratches and comes with an easy access port for cables – perfect for organization.
As one Amazon user says:
I absolutely love this desk. It’s huge and can easily fit my two monitors, a keyboard, my printer, my huge mousepad, my nintendo switch, and there’s still plenty of room for drinks/various other objects on the desk.TOPSKY Computer Desk – amazon.com
With enough storage and space to keep your office neat, this is one of many great options.
The third necessity for your home is adequate natural or artificial light. If possible, arrange your home office in a room with a big window – not only will this provide better lighting, it will improve your mood and productivity throughout the day. Lighting has been shown to improve one’s energy, alertness, mood, and concentration, as well.
You also should consider placing any artificial lighting to avoid glare and shadows, particularly if you video call frequently. For instance, an overhead spotlight situated behind you can result in glare on your computer. It is best to situate lights to the side opposite from the hand that you write with. If on the same side, your hand and arm may cast shadows, making it harder to see your work.
A great option for desk lighting is the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with a USB charging port and 5 lighting modes. This light is gentle on your eyes, customizable, and naturally fits with any type of office decor.
It is also energy efficient, helping you reduce your electricity bill.
Now that you have lit up your space, it is more important than ever to have a clean, uncluttered, and professional background. This backdrop can be a way to show your creative side and aesthetic tastes, or you can play it safe and stick with a blank wall or neat bookcase. Neatness is a priority, and avoiding distractions, like placing your back to a window or clear door, is important.
Make sure to include work appropriate decor, like photos, a clean bookcase, or a blank wall in your Zoom backdrop. BUT, make sure to avoid the conference call digital backgrounds. Although these mean you can avoid cleaning up that pile of laundry or work to be done, they are typically blurry and take away from your presentation.
It is best to stick with a background that exudes positive vibes and brightens the mood of your home office space and meeting.
Now that you’ve set up your lighting and background, it’s best to have a desktop or laptop computer with a built-in or external webcam. We are all on more web conferences and video meetings via Skype, Zoom, Google Meet and WebEx lately, so it is important to make a professional impression.
If your computer doesn’t come with a webcam, Logitech has a number of options. Two of the best are:
- The Logitech BRIO 4K Ultra HD webcam offers the widest, fastest, and sharpest video services. Offering HD video up to 4K and advanced RightLight 3 light correction for pro-quality video calls, streaming, and recording, this device is sure to give your meetings a professional flare.
- The Logitech – C920S HD Webcam offers autofocus and light correction to help you look your best during meetings. With a snug-fitting lens cover, you can protect your privacy when not on a video call. Enjoy high-definition video and photos, sharp imagery, and crisp and clear detailed recordings with this webcam.
In order to help your webcam and video conference work properly, make sure you have adequate internet speed. Otherwise, a wifi router is a great investment. Check out this TP-Link Smart WiFi Router for wireless internet. This dual band router upgrades to 1750 Mbps and has 3 external antennas for long range Wi-Fi – meaning you can access your internet regardless of where your home office is.
To add to the quality of your calls, a good pair of headphones is a must have. Check out these Sony Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Dual Noise Sensor technology for next-level music listening opportunities. These industry-leading noise cancelling headphones offer a touch sensor that controls the pause, play, and skip buttons, and you can activate your voice assistant and answer office phone calls.
As one reviewer mentions, these have a number of advantages, like:
- Being 100% charged right out of the box
- Connecting to many features in the Sony Connect App
- Automatic firmware updates
- Voice clarity on both ends of a call
- Easily connected to multiple devices
- Quick and easy Bluetooth setup
If you would rather speakers rather than headphones, there are a number of great options. If you already have an Alexa, Echo Dot, or similar home assistant, stick with that! All home assistants will allow you to answer phone calls, listen to music, and participate in work chats.
Along the same line, a good microphone is also important for two-way communication.
The Yeti Blackout USB Microphone is a great option, creating unparalleled recordings with your computer. With pristine, studio-quality, this is great for vocals, music, podcasts, interviews, or lectures and presentations. This microphone is also Mac and PC compatible, perfect for any home office.
Similarly, the MV7 Podcast Microphone offers high-quality sound and can be connected via USB. With a ShurePlus MOTIV app to control vocal tone and distance from the microphone, it is easy to set this up to fit your needs. With Auto Level Mode, you can let the microphone do the work and ensure that you have flawless sound for any presentation or meeting at work.
With communication at an utmost importance when working virtually, a microphone like these is one of the best purchases to make your home office Zoom-friendly and ready for anything.
With all the new device options, a USB Hub to charge and connect your phone, tablet, or computer is a vital addition to your home office setup. A few options from Amazon include:
- The Sabrent 60W 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub provides power that charges up to 2.4 amps per port. With 60W power, you can charge phones, tablets, or other devices simultaneously. Its fashionable mirrored surface, along with its compact design, make it easy to fit in with your current office style.
- The Sabrent 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub allows you to instantly add four USB 2.0 ports to any compatible device. While this hub doesn’t charge, it makes it easy to support connectivity between devices. Designed to be as thin as possible, it also helps you maximize your work space or bring it to and from the office with ease.
- The USB Hub 3.0 Splitter has seven USB ports, for support for flash drives, a mouse, keyboards, printers, or any other device. It is also compatible with any older devices, making it easy to use old and new technology together. Each USB port comes with an individual power switch, allowing you to either unplug or turn off ports when they are not being used. With super-fast data transfer, this allows you to easily connect and get your work done.
And finally, to add to your new technology collection, a voice assistant to help create meetings, set reminders, and answer questions is a great purchase for your home office. According to reviews.com, there are a number of great choices available.
- For the best device compatibility: the Amazon Alexa, from amazon.com. This device allows Alexa to play music, set alarms and timers, answer questions, control smart home devices, and more. It fits into any space easily, and with voice control, it is easy to communicate in your home office.
- For the best responses: the Google Assistant, available at google.com. With a number of options, including the Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub, and Nest Hub Max, it is easy to find a speaker that fits your needs.
- For the most popular mobile assistant, Siri. If you have an iPhone, you are in luck, and already have this great resource to help make calls, play music, ask questions, and connect to other technology in your office.
With so many great resources, although we aren’t all celebrities, we can all look good on camera. With Zoom, Skype, and other virtual conferencing becoming more common, it is important to look prepared and professional for all your home office meetings. Check out the products at the links below, to make your home office “Zoom-friendly” and ready for any meeting you might have.
- Oakmont Interior Multifold Folding Accordion Door
- RYB HOME Portable Curtain
- Homlux Heavy Duty Sliding Barn Door
- TOPSKY Computer Desk
- Novogratz Computer Desk
- Jensen Desk
- TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
- Logitech BRIO 4K Ultra HD webcam
- Logitech – C920S HD Webcam
- TP-Link Smart WiFi Router
- Sony Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- Yeti Blackout USB Microphone
- MV7 Podcast Microphone
- Sabrent 60W 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub
- Sabrent 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub
- USB Hub 3.0 Splitter
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
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