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There is light at the end of the tunnel

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
Hopefully for this pandemic as well, but I’m referring to our new office construction. As I write this, the post-construction cleaners are about to arrive to give the site a thorough cleaning. Still, a few more things to do, but nothing that will make a big mess anymore.
A couple weeks ago I started thinking about the technology setup at each desk. I like things done right. O.K., I prefer perfection, but that’s a pipe dream… I’m lucky enough to have some pretty tech savvy colleagues. I reach out and start the discussion about what an optimal desk setup looks like for our team. Within a few days, I get a list of links to purchase all the goodies online.
We’re setting up each desk the same way. I want to make sure the technology setup at each desk was easy to plug into and could accommodate all recent laptops. We have desks that will be used by the same people when in the office, but we also have some desks that will be for guests, visiting colleagues or the occasional sick kid.
For almost all the desks, we opted for electronic sit/stand desks with three pre-programmed heights. This will allow our team to stand and get some blood flowing rather than spend all day sitting. Hopefully it will help with energy and posture. Ultimately, we want to give the option.
I then want to make sure we had a good chair. I’ve cheeped out on office chairs before and learned my lesson. When you’re sitting in a chair for hours on end, it makes such a difference to sit on a quality chair. Once the new office is open, I will have the office furniture supplier in to give everyone a run through on how to properly adjust your office chair for optimal comfort and ergonomics.
Next, I was looking to simplify the connection at the desk for our laptops. We’ve all had laptops for many years and have travelled or worked from home with them. So when we come back to the office, it’s nice not to have to get on your hands and knees to plug stuff in. We found a great docking station that is universal and compact. It has one USB-C plug that powers everything up. You pop your laptop on the desk and plug that one cable in and it charges your battery, powers the two monitors, the high-end video camera, the video conference light and has more ports for other accessories. Just one cable. Neat and tidy.
The two monitors at each station are 27-inch smart monitors. They connect to the internet and have Netflix, Apple TV and other apps built-in. I know some of you are wondering why you would want employees to have Netflix built into their monitors at work, but if you have to worry about employees watching movies and not doing their work, there are bigger problems. I see no issues with employees taking a break or eating lunch with a show as long as the work gets done and they perform to high standards, which they do. The monitors are easy on the eyes and mounted on a dual arm stand clamped to the desk so they raise and lower as the desk raises and lowers.
We opted for an external camera for the video conferencing calls so it can be well positioned above the monitors and offer the best view of the person at the desk. We coupled the camera with an LED videoconferencing light. In my office for example, there’s a window on the right side. The light illuminates the left side so it looks a million times better. Well, as much as my mug can anyways…
I had a natural opportunity to upgrade our workstations because we were building a new office, but there’s never a bad time to look at your office setups and see if they could be upgraded?
For the people who work long hours at their desks, there’s a huge opportunity to enhance their work life by setting them up right.
If people have a great office environment and workstation to work at, they will want to come to the office and take advantage of it.

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