The Ultimate Guide to Communicating and Collaborating While Working Remotely

For most business professionals, working from home is becoming the new reality. This is a new change for some. Most of us either worked Monday to Friday in an office or had the privilege to work remotely every so often, at which time we saw it as a luxury.

For those who are used to working in an office, this change can be seen as a either a positive or a negative. Some may feel that they are more productive when working from home since they don’t have the constant office life distractions, while others feel that being home is a distraction in itself.

Our goal here is to hone in and highlight some key features, technologies, tips and tricks required to successfully work from home in an efficient manner.

Remote work and online collaboration technology are proving to be surprisingly helpful with hidden benefits like making teams work better together. "We've always had collaboration tools in place, but now we're really putting them to use and developing good practices around them," said Marissa Andrada, chief people officer at Chipotle. 
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Being Productive While Working Remotely

Being Productive Working from Home

When working from home it can be easy to get distracted and not be as productive as you should be. Here are some quick tips to help keep you on track and get you into a rhythm of working effectively at home:

  • Get started early
  • Pretend like you are going into the office
  • Structure your day as you would in the office
  • Have a dedicated workspace
  • Put limits on social media activity
  • Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time
  • Take clear breaks
  • Match your music to your task
  • Use technology to stay connected

The last point is extremely important - in order to be productive and stay connected while working from home you need to be sure you are using the proper equipment and technology such as Zoom or Pexip to stay in touch with team members and clients.

However, productivity doesn’t stop at having the technology, knowing how to use it effectively is crucial to success. 

When implementing new technology and software into your work-life routine, it’s very important to learn how to properly use it as well as all of the bells and whistles that you have access to. Setting up a learning session with your rep or watching video tutorials can be very helpful in order to get up to speed quickly.

This can become very handy, especially when you are planning on implementing new software that allows you to conduct virtual meetings. Understanding the platform and being prepared for your virtual meetings will help keep your meetings running smoothly, whether you are meeting with a client or fellow colleagues.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when hosting virtual meetings, such as being prepared, staying focused while you’re on the call, and implementing virtual meeting etiquette. Since you are either on video or using the voice-only functionality the etiquette that you portray during a meeting will decide whether it is a success or not.

Some etiquette points to keep in mind include:

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Avoid excessive body movement
  • Maintain eye contact (while on video)
  • Wear attire that is appropriate for the meeting
  • Avoid background noise and distracting sounds like pen clicking
  • Try not to interrupt other speakers in the meeting
  • Don’t have side conversations
  • Maintain a regular speaking level

Read More…

→ How to Host a Productive Virtual Meeting

Technologies and Software

Technologies and Software

When it comes to doing your job efficiently, it is crucial that you have the tools you need to get the job done, regardless of if you are in the office or working from home. When working remotely, the most common tool is either a desktop or a laptop. If your job is moving to a permanent work-from-home position we recommend that you ask your employer to allow you to take your work computer home. This will help ensure that company data is secure, as well as keep the devices that you own for personal use.

Another tool that should be implemented either with your team or throughout your entire company is cloud-based computing. This will allow you to access computer software wherever you have an internet connection. This will save you from needing to rely on local hardware and/or servers, and will give you easy access to the tools that you would be using regularly in the office.

When working remotely or from home you do miss out on the office communication and collaboration with fellow colleagues and team members. For this reason, it is crucial that your company implement audio visual (AV) and collaboration solutions that will allow you to properly communicate with clients and collaborate with colleagues. This could include using communication software such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom or Pexip - as well as investing in webcams and other video hardware needed to communicate in virtual environments.

Investing in better communication software and technology should be a priority, whether you and/or your employees are working from home or not. With the potential for business to be conducted all over the world, audio visual (AV) technology can make communicating easier, faster and less expensive. To learn more about the benefits of investing in audio visual (AV) technology click here.

If you are communicating with clients or colleagues around the world, some of the communication software options have helpful functionalities such as simultaneous language interpretation. This functionality allows users the option to include an interpreter in virtual meetings or webinars. Zoom, in particular, includes this functionality and it is extremely helpful when running international virtual meetings.

To learn more about this functionality click here.

Read More…

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How to Hold Multi-Language Online Meetings with Zoom

Crime Fighting from Your Home Office

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Regardless of where you are working, your company should have a security strategy in place in order to help prevent cybercrime. Now more than ever, with a lot more people working remotely or from home, cybercrime security must be implemented.

With more people video conferencing while working remotely, criminals are constantly searching for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in video conferencing software in order to gain access to sensitive information.

To help ensure that cybercrime doesn’t affect your company we have a few tips that will help you host a secure virtual video conference, see below:

  1. Protect video conferences with effective settings and passwords
  2. Invest in new audio visual (AV) solutions and update software
  3. Implement a company-wide policy for all video conferences and meetings
  4. Make the most of expert support

Cybercrimes are able to attack through other methods as well, such as phishing emails, server hacks, ransomware, malware, etc. Ensuring your internet connections are secure as well as updating your passwords on a regular basis can help prevent cyber-criminals from hacking your system. Working in a secure environment is extremely important to the companies security, therefore if you don’t currently have a cybersecurity strategy in place we would recommend putting this at the top of the to-do list.

Read More…

Preventing Cybercrime: Creating a Strategy for Secure Video Conferencing

Hosting a Successful Video Conference

Hosting Video Call

You have tips to keep you productive while working from home, you have the technology and software, you are aware of cybercrime and have (or are implementing) a security plan, now what about hosting successful virtual meetings from home?

As mentioned before, video conferences are essential when working from home, they ensure that your team is able to communicate and collaborate and that you’re still able to meet with clients and customers.

However, just because you are working remotely, you want to make sure that all of your virtual meetings are successful, productive and efficient. Here are some tips that we recommend to host a successful meeting. Follow this handy advice, along with the video conferencing etiquette tips mentioned, and you will become a video conferencing rock-star:

  • Ensure that your equipment is working before you join the meeting
  • Be on time
  • Have an agenda (whether you are the host or not - think about what you want to get out of the meeting)
  • Provide participants with all of the connection options available for the meeting, including toll-free and local phone numbers in case they are unable to connect to video
  • Use your video, unless you have a poor connection, then do everyone the courtesy of turning your video off to help improve bandwidth
  • Try to avoid scheduling meetings during the busiest times, typically 11 am and 1 pm local time
  • Schedule your meetings to start at the “5s” - i.e. 9:45 am or 2:15 pm
  • Mute yourself when you’re not speaking
  • Position your camera correctly
  • Pay attention and take notes

By following these tips you should feel more confident to go into your next video confident and run the meeting like a boss!

Read More…

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Overcoming Issues when Joining a Remote Meeting

5 Tips that will Empower you to Run Your Next Video Conference Like a Boss

How to Use Zoom Like a Pro: 7 Hidden Features and Advanced Tips to Improve Your Video 

Body Language Etiquette During Virtual Meetings

Body Language

Something else that should be kept in mind while you’re on a virtual video meeting is your body language. Video meetings allow you to use body cues and body language rather than relying on intonation when you’re having a phone call.

However, similar to when you have a meeting in person, it is important to be conscious of your body language and physical cues. Maintaining eye contact and using your hands or gestures allow you to convey messages in a more effective way rather than just sitting still.

To help you maximize your video meeting potential, here are six additional body language tips that you can follow:

  • Be attentive
  • Avoid fidgeting
  • Don’t stress
  • Sit with good posture
  • Don’t cross your arms
  • Smile - acknowledging facial expressions and reactions are crucial

Read More…

8 Body Language Tips that you need to know for your next online meeting

Body language in a virtual meeting

Old Habits Die Hard - Reasons to go Virtual

Reasons to Go Virtual

Congratulations! You’re now an expert at hosting video conferences while working remotely, and you are completely set-up to be successful and efficient - now what? The COVID-19 pandemic is going to cause changes in our lives for quite some time - and, unfortunately, we are unsure for how long, therefore we need to adapt.

Business is conducted differently in every industry, some of us rely heavily on human interaction and building relationships with customers and clients. Events such as customer lunches and tradeshows are no longer acceptable at this point in time, and who knows when this will change. So how are we going to keep the sales cycle going for our company?

While keeping with the theme of working remotely, let’s branch into some streaming media solutions to make working from home that much easier.

Streaming media solutions include webcasting (ie. town halls) and virtual events (ie. virtual tradeshows). These solutions allow you to extend your reach virtually anywhere, while still able to track attendance, attendee behaviour and more - similar to an in-person event.

This is an adjustment for everyone but in order to keep business moving it is crucial to implement one or more of these solutions to stay in the game and remain competitive in your industry. 

A lot of businesses have started to implement streaming media solutions in their organizations so that they can stay in touch with employees, clients and generate new business with prospects.

To learn more about streaming media and see if it’s right for your business click here.

Read More…

Implementing Streaming Media Solutions to Adapt to the New Work Environment

Why You Need Video Collaboration in Your Business

Technological advances have freed us from the boundaries of walls and borders, with most workplaces utilizing remote workers as well as offering work-from-home options. This new trend comes with its own set of challenges.

Video Collaboration is the answer. It allows you to be in the room no matter where in the world you might physically be, not to mention the ripple effects of increasing efficiency and productivity.