Hopefully by now you’ve gotten your “home office legs” and have settled into a semblance of normalcy. If you’ve not worked from home before on a regular basis, you probably had to gin up some quick fixes and stop-gap solutions early on into this creeping crisis, but now that we are a month in, some of those hacks are probably not holding up. Like last week, I’ll be recommending products with Amazon links but I do not receive any sort of compensation or consideration for recommending these products.
Workarounds for Home Office Challenges
- Need a better webcam? The popular webcams are still sold out everywhere so if you need something quickly, you might be able to use an “action cam” like a GoPro or Akaso plugged directly into your PC as a decent substitute. Keep in mind not all models have this capability; older models may require some extra software or firmware to work as a webcam. I’m using an Akaso EK7000 as my current webcam with a desk-mounted clamp and arm to position it. Bonus – it can be used as an action cam once normality resumes!
- Using your phone as your videoconferencing device? If you are solving the webcam issue by using your smart phone, you can position it better using an adjustable arm. It’s also great for keeping your phone handy, even when not being used as camera. If the arm is too bulky, you clip it to the top of your monitor (if it’s thin enough) with a clamp like this. Make sure you check the thickness of your monitor, and if it doesn’t have a bezel, know that the clip may obscure part of your screen or even damage the screen. Pad accordingly!
- WiFi signal not great? You can hard-wire your home office workstation without running cable by using Ethernet over AC devices like this one. Install is pretty easy, but keep in mind that electrical wiring in older and/or larger (+2500 sq/ft) houses may not be well suited to this use, depending on where the two endpoints are installed. With these types of devices, the higher-priced models equal better performance, so budget accordingly, and make sure you keep your receipts in case you have to return them.
- Where’s the dang charger? In our house, we have at least a dozen mobile devices, and never enough USB chargers. I fixed this by setting everyone up with magnetic cables. This way, the cables work for all devices, and with some strategically placed chargers and cables, everyone can be sure there is something nearby that they can use. Keep in mind that these are for charging only – they do not transmit data. The little magnetic bits will usually fit most devices, including things like Bluetooth headphones, but may not work with some cases or unusually placed USB ports.
- Videoconferencing background NSFW? A lot of us have set up to work in areas of our home that can create less-than-professional moments for videoconferencing. While I don’t have a gadget for creating a private office for you in your home, you can use a pop-up, chair-mounted screen to keep your background safe for work. A rolling garment rack and sheet will also work great, and can be set up and broken down quickly for repeated use. Bonus – it can be pressed into regular laundry-day usage when not helping you with your internet close-ups!
Image by thedarknut from Pixabay