The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many businesses’ and in turn led to many adapting to new working patterns to adapt and improvise to overcome this issue, therefore keeping ‘normal’ business flowing. Recently, more and more companies have been returning to work or adopting a flexible hybrid work pattern of both home and office working. According to the Office of National Statistics, a recent survey saw that of those adults who are currently working from home, 85% wanted to permanently adopt the use of a hybrid approach.
When considering your business’ imminent return to the workplace, at least in some capacity, it is important to have the best pieces of equipment and space to best help the transition back into the office be as seamless as possible. Highlighted are some key items that will help any business get back into the office space routine.
With working from home becoming the new ‘normal’ around 18 months ago, for employees to stay connected, video conferencing was utilised to allow fluid communication throughout the business. But even with the return to the office, having a good webcam is essential for quality communication. Although some may use the built-in camera that is provided by their laptop, it is important to consider some external webcam options.
Our Fitz Pick is the Microsoft LifeCam Studio, which has been designed specifically for business conferencing and presentations, delivering a stunning picture and crystal clear sound with extras such as 360-degree rotating capabilities. Additionally, we recommend the Logitech BRIO 4K Pro, which provides an ultra HD resolution with omnidirectional mics and noise-cancelling technology. However, we tip the Microsoft LifeCam due to it being significantly cheaper than its Logitech counterpart.
Having clear camera quality is essential for communication, making it easy to illustrate things visually to the person you are talking to so get ready for your return to work with ultra-high quality cameras at a fair price.
Fitz Pick – Microsoft LifeCam Studio
Good Alternative- Logitech BRIO 4K Pro
Having versatile headsets that can be used at work or in an office-like environment is another important factor to consider when returning to work. After time away, we may be forgetting just how busy and loud an office space can be, so finding a headset that cancels out background noise, as well as having something comfortable enough to wear all day and long-lasting battery life, may be few and far between. However, our recommendations tick all of those boxes. Providing a comfortable, yet effective headset with excellent noise-cancelling features.
Our Fitz Pick, the Jabra Evolve2 65 is used by all of our employees at Fitzrovia IT. A comfortable headset that boasts strong noise-cancelling technology, Bluetooth capabilities, and a 37-hour battery life makes conference calls that much easier. Our other recommended alternative would be Plantronics’ Voyager Focus UC, another high-quality and comfortable headset with smart sensors for conference calls.
Fitz Pick – Jabra Evolve2 65
Good Alternative – Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
3. Privacy Screens
While working from home, we often did not have to consider privacy when working, but upon returning, if you work in a crowded office space, a privacy screen is one of the best ways to keep your data private. Often attaching to the top on your screens monitor, these provide an extra layer of privacy which can be crucial when reviewing a classified document or working on a spreadsheet that contains private information or even working in a shared workspace with other businesses. Additionally, privacy screens prevent unnecessary glare, which helps reduce the stress on your eyes.
Our Fitz Pick would be VINTEZ’s privacy screen due to its price point and easy-to-apply functionality. Another strong alternative would be Kinmiee’s Privacy Screen, which has the same easy-to-apply functionality but is at a higher price point than VINTEZ’s screen.
Fitz Pick – VINTEZ Computer Privacy Screen Filter
Good Alternative – Kinmiee Computer Privacy Screen Filter
4. Universal Docking Stations
With hybrid work becoming more and more popular, having a universal docking station is ideal for this new business model. Allowing you to connect to external monitors – all while charging your laptop as well, and therefore reducing the amount of equipment you need to bring in to work. Both of our recommendations are effective docking stations that allow for a seamless transition between working from home and office-based work.
Our Fitz Pick would be the Manhattan USB-C 8-Port Hub/Dock/Converter which contains enough ports to effectively connect quickly and efficiently to any external monitors, without any added hassle. Additionally, the Dell D3100 Docking Station provides an Ultra HD video, providing a crystal clear quality for the user. Both stations have various compatibilities including USB-C, HDMI, and various phone outlets.
Fitz Pick – Manhattan USB-C 8-Port Hub/Dock/Converter
Good Alternative - Dell D3100 Docking Station
5. Video Conferencing Suite
Having a video conferencing suite or a meeting room provides a variety of benefits for businesses, and with the sharp upturn of video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, its advantages include:
- Higher engagement rate than audio conferences
- Saves on travel expenditure, replacing the need for expensive trips
- Improves communication with clients/members as you can meet more often
- More people can attend if they do not have to leave their desk to attend
- Offers a place where many people can sit in and collaborate during a call
While there are no particular picks for a video conferencing suite, it is still a very useful tool to be utilised upon the return to the office.