Have no place to cowork and working from home has got you down? Set up an office-to-office connection with a friend to recreate the effect of shared office space.
Scott Hanselman and his friend Phil Haack both work from home. As anyone who works from home can attest, while there are quite a few benefits, one of the down sides is you no longer have the sporadic conversation and accompanying breaks that comes with simple office interactions.
Their solution to home-office isolation was to repurpose spare computers, some webcams, and use Skype to create a window between their two workspaces and recreate the effect of sharing an office.
Scott has shared a step by step guide including handy shortcut and Skype-setting tweaks, including these two setup tips:
- We dedicated a machine/camera each to this exercise, rather than using our existing machines. This is important because it reinforces the "Portal" aspect. This is an appliance, a hole in space, not my main, or even secondary computer.
- The cameras don't point at our faces. Because that would be creepy. If he's my cube-mate, when I look over, I should see the side of his head. In both cases we set it up so we have to push our chairs back and turn our heads to see the other person. Just like a cubicle.
It's a novel approach to the problem of office isolation, although certainly not for everyone—especially if your favourite part about working from home is the lack of coworkers to converse with. Check out the full article for a step by step guide to setting up your persistent portal with Skype.
Have your own method for dealing with the downsides of telecommuting? Sound off in the comments.