Like millions of Quebecers, Jean-Pierre, a manager, discovered the joys of working from home in 2020. “I never had a home office before. I would sometimes work at the dining room table in the evening or on weekends,” says the father of three. When the lockdown started, he set up his office headquarters in the basement, away from the commotion caused by his family. “I had to reorganize my schedule to allow for the presence of children in the house, but I also had to learn how to work remotely with my team. Let’s just say my life was a never-ending meeting,” says Jean-Pierre, a man for whom videoconferencing no longer holds any secrets. Sound familiar?
Two years later, remote work is still a reality for Jean-Pierre. Given the context, his Hilo smart home is like having an ally. Jean-Pierre starts his day off with a hot coffee – his coffee machine, connected to a smart plug, turns on automatically when he wakes up. Then, instead of driving 45 minutes to get to work, he heads to the basement where a smart thermostat maintains the right room temperature. “Since I spend the day in the same room, comfort is a top priority,” he says. Jean-Pierre can adjust or program all of his Hilo devices through the mobile application. “Instead of going into each room to adjust the thermostats, I can make the changes in just one minute.”
More comfort means increased performance
According to Tiiu Poldma, a professor in environmental design at University de Montréal’s School of Design, our workspace has an impact on our performance. “By working at home, we have more control over our environment and can benefit from more comfort, which will help us to be more productive,” she says. In addition to a flexible schedule, working from home gives us the latitude to organize our office based on our needs – which isn’t always the case at a company office, where we have to deal with cubicles and open spaces.
“Even if we live in a small apartment, we can easily set ourselves up in a comfortable corner,” states Poldma. “The important thing is to feel comfortable where we are.” According to her, the main focus has to be on ergonomic furniture: namely, an adjustable table and chair. She also suggests combining several light sources, such as a light fixture, an office lamp and a window with plenty of natural light. Why? Because having only one type of lighting creates contrast, which can interfere with concentration. Her recommendations include making the most of your smart home by programming different types of lighting that can be used alternately throughout the day, based on the tasks at hand or the amount of natural light. The idea is also to minimize any possible distractions. “For example, if your lamp is making a crackling sound, or if you feel hot or cold, you’ll likely get distracted,” says Poldma. In terms of comfort, a smart home can offer better performance than a company office, where air conditioning and heating are often a contentious topic of discussion!
More control means increased peace of mind
When his children are out of school due to a professional development day or because they are learning from home, Jean-Pierre is happy to be able to spend more time with them. Although working under the same roof with his kids is still a challenge! But there again, his smart home makes life easier. He has plugged the TV and video game console into a smart plug, enabling him to better control the amount of time his children spend in front of the screen. When they play outdoors and the light turns on at the time he programmed it, they know it’s time to come in. “It’s a classic strategy that my parents used to use! Now, I feel like I have better control over what’s happening in my home,” he says, with some relief. This peace of mind helps him better concentrate on his work.
3 ways to make the most of your smart home while working from home
- Eliminate distractions by controlling your home’s temperature; neither too hot nor too cold.
- Alternate between types of lighting depending on your mood and productivity cycles.
- Make your life easier by controlling everything that happens in your home via an app.