Show of hands: how many of us ever imagined in mid-March that by summer’s end, we would single-handedly be producing our own morning, afternoon, and occasionally late-night shows from our basements?
And yet here we are – trained production assistants (and on-screen talent!) And for some of us, the show must go on, at least through the remainder of the year – and likely into the early months of 2021 – as we get ready for our close-ups, again and again and again in our home workspace.
If your company has extended its work-from-home policy for the immediate future, it may be time to consider upgrading your home workspace with the following tools:
- Lights: Not many of us wake up camera-ready as we roll out of bed. Admittedly, in the midst of a pandemic – while homeschooling the kids and relearning calculus – setting up a lighting package to ensure a 3 p.m. sales call has “that J.J. Abrams’ feel” was initially the farthest thing from our minds. But as we adapted to a new way of working and long-term strategies were made – we hit a sort of stride. And now may be a good time to invest in some simple setups that can enhance your video conferences and provide a stellar impression with clients. LED ring lights offer even illumination for your grid-framed face. This model comes with a tripod outfitted for your smartphone and three different lighting schematics. A solid alternative: Slightly less expensive, this device from Lipety offers USB-powered portability.
- Camera: Over the last eight months, we’ve grown accustomed to being on video for Zoom meetings and conferences. But what if the built-in camera on your laptop goes on the fritz? Your boss will give you props for having backup. Not only that, but gear like the Logitech C270 is phenomenal for personal use and arrives complete with a small stand for your desk and/or monitor. Cameras like these also make mobility during a presentation a snap. A solid alternative: try the Hrayzan webcam that clocks in at under $60 on Amazon. Cheaper, but it gets the job done.
- Action: Working on the go? A mobile hotspot is invaluable for tethering multiple users together. Your phone provider may be able to hook you up, while others are already unlocked (you will still be responsible for purchasing data, however). Unlocked hotspots are typically faster and more versatile than mobile, connecting to all kinds of devices. If you’re a Verizon customer, the Jetpack, available at Best Buy for just shy of $200, can be added as another line, connecting up to 15 devices at once with a battery that lasts 24 hours. Not a customer? A two-year plan will be necessary.
When overhauling your home workspace, it also may be wise to consider a second computer monitor to ensure proper face time with your team while walking everyone through your PowerPoint presentations and the like. Affordable options abound, and with Black Friday deals popping up in stores earlier than ever throughout the month of November, now may be a great time to shop.
Our altered way of working continues. While a new year may yield new opportunities and a return to a more normal office dynamic, making the most of our current situation is integral to our success. And how we showcase ourselves to colleagues, coworkers, and – most importantly – clients, will be a huge part of that.