There’s a ton of chatter about Work from Home (WFH), Work From Anywhere (WFA) and Hybrid/Remote work environments these days. The emphasis on remote work is not misplaced, and companies are grappling with their go-forward strategies in these areas.
Many integrators put together little guides for WFH products that include better webcams, microphones and ring lights. For most of them, this was more of a service to their clients than a business strategy, as many of the items recommended were low-margin, consumer-level gear that most people would buy on Amazon. If they were really savvy, integrators may have helped their clients’ IT departments curate WFH kits that could be deployed to every remote employee, and perhaps sell the hardware in kits to the company as well to provide some small revenues amplified by the scale of the rollout.
However, you’d have to sell a lot of personal webcams to make up for losing a single conference room.
I have seen some chatter about commercial integrators offering services for home offices, but the response is typically that these are residential applications and not in the commercial integrator’s core capability, nor are the projects large enough to warrant new entry.
To that I say, maybe our thinking is too small. What if we developed a strategy to build “Work Havens?”
I’m coining the term Work Havens to differentiate from a home office. Just like a man cave denotes another level of AV, a Work Haven is a step up. It’s not about teleconferencing and a ring light; it’s about creating a full environment.
The obvious additions are enterprise-grade home networks, cellular booster antennas and multiple monitor workstations with a professional-grade microphone and camera. But think beyond that basic home office scenario.
Shelves with lighting, books and pop culture artifacts for teleconferencing backdrops. Green screen or LED walls to create studio effects for recording videos. Acoustic treatments and coatings for studio-grade sound. Key, Fill and backlighting systems. Video production equipment consoles and production switchers connected to multiple PTZ cameras for streaming capabilities. Colored lighting for different scenarios. Branded neon light signs.
If the last era of the “executive” was characterized by the corner office with a large opulent desk and guest chairs, the new era of C-level swank is having a place where they can do professional meetings, host a virtual keynote, create professional product launch or company communication videos or pitch multimillion-dollar deals … from home.
Musicians build home recording studios, why wouldn’t executives build Work Havens?
Of course, variations of this could be done at multiple price points to address more than the C-Suite as well. This may require a little creativity on the part of the integrator as well as a willingness to blend some analog and digital equipment, but when you differentiate and customize, you create additional value and step outside the traditional commodity equipment purchasing cycle.
The other great part about this strategy is that there are a lot of great #AVtweeps in the live event industry who could easily help with these types of studio-style environments as well. Work Havens may be a way to add a profitable arm to your commercial AV business while adding some new skills to your team, which is always a great idea long term.