DIY: From commuting to telecommuting

As an independent consultant and trainer for the last 18 years, I used to fly around the world to perform consulting engagements and educational events. I felt lost after COVID-19 confinement started worldwide. Clients postponed projects and training indefinitely. Instead of panicking, I asked myself, “Well, how can I continue doing business from home under the new normalcy?”

Even though I have a home office, I’ve realized that from now on, 90% of my work will be telecommuting and 10% commuting. It used to be otherwise. It was time to upgrade my home office to create a professional environment with three key goals in mind:

  1. Create a quiet place to be more productive and comfortable.
  2. Ensure decent audio and a professional-look visual space.
  3. Restart my scheduled projects and training after convincing my clients that virtual meetings and training sessions will be as good as onsite.

Under the new normalcy, investing in a home office setup is, in many ways, an investment in yourself. To invest wisely, do your homework and research for options that fit your needs and budget. If you already have a furnished office space with essential equipment, consider these ideas:

  • Add a quality IPS monitor to reduce eye strain.
  • Replace your headphones with a USB hands-free speakerphone with noise reduction and 360o voice pickup. It increases mobility and reduces interruptions produced by wireless technology.
  • Get a high-definition webcam with at least 78 grades field of view.
  • Subscribe to a video-conference cloud service (ZOOM, GoToMeeting, and WebEx are my favorites). Microsoft Teams and Google Meet are good options, but they do not fit my training needs.
  • Convert your desk into a standing desk with a desktop converter. Research shows that standing can increase productivity, boost mood, improve health, and decrease back pain.
  • Get a virtual background application or a rollup shade to hide your office mess during meetings and webinars. The virtual background works better with a green backdrop.
  • Unless you do not share your internet with household members, the internet service must be reliable, stable, and have a consistent bandwidth of at least 50Mbps (download and upload).

If you are planning to deliver virtual live training or webinars, you will need these items.

The new normalcy also opens new opportunities. I have discovered new skills while converting my courses based on PowerPoint into interactive online training. My clients are very pleased, so I added this service to my portfolio. You might be interested in doing the same.

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