tips for working from home

Zoom Is Boomin’ – It’s Zoomin’

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 made working from home (aka WFH) the future for so many companies. It once was something that was, in a way, a marketing tool for many startups. But now that it’s a health issue rather than a management request, the eyes of said management are looking at remote work a bit differently. More so, I believe that so many have adapted to it quickly. They’re seeing that nothing has changed. Business is still happening. And for some productivity may have even increased. I also believe that working remote shows executive leadership that in many cases, they have too many bodies in the office. Maybe too many bodies on the payroll.

Needless to say, 2020 is going to change how we work. Now and indefinitely. Knowing this, how do brands make the most out of virtual conferencing beyond working with their staff? Furthermore, how will virtual conferencing develop? I’m going to briefly hit on some tips and tools that focus on videoconferencing.

Don’t Be a Fool

General etiquette is already tough for some, let’s be real. And when a virtual environment is in place, it seems for some, that all forms of etiquette are gone. It’s like the keyboard warrior in them just amplifies through a tiny camera.

1. Mute yourself

This is seemingly so complicated for so many people. They’re running late to a Zoom, they jump in, and forget that they’re still talking to their drug dealer on the phone. Or worse, they jump into a call talking negatively about people who are hosting the call or participating. So the rule of thumb here: mute yourself. Many platforms allow you to enter muted in a default state. So do that. Live life muted. Okay? And as a friendly reminder, if you’re saying something on a conference call that you would not say in an open workspace, don’t say it all.

2. Understand what makes noise and what does not

This tags along with the above. Excessive jewelry seems to be amplified on many conferencing platforms. I know you love the 600 dangly bracelets that go with your #ootd but it sounds like someone let a monkey dig through a crate of pots and pans to find a treat on the call. Many people are also using an Apple laptop of sorts, your watch band scraping and banging across the keyboard picks up. Take it off. All of it, except for your clothes, which leads me to the next point.

3. Dress for success

Nobody is going to (at least they shouldn’t) give you a hard time for not having the camera on. If you are on camera, be aware of what you’re wearing and your surroundings. If you haven’t left college life yet and have half-naked women plastered on your walls, consider moving to another room. Or use a virtual background. Or don’t use the camera at all. And if you’re getting on a call with a manager or investor who you know will be dressed up, now is probably not the time to wear your pot shirt. Again, if it’s not something you’d have at your desk or wear in the office space, don’t have it on the video conference.

That’s about that, I know it’s a very high level but it covers the high level of video conferencing. I think the common theme is if it’s not something you would do, say, or have in a workplace then don’t have it on a call. Especially one that is being recorded.

With that being said, let’s jump into the fun stuff.

Video Conferencing Tools

You’re witnessing a new age. Or something like that. Video conferencing has been around, but now it’s in. With it will come new tools, systems, and processes. From friends just chatting to online doctor’s visits. Video conferencing will be at the heart of it. It’s wild to think that technically it’s been around for a while. Something that I noticed real quick was the adoption of virtual backgrounds. Some brands took off with this to create and curate lists of backgrounds to use. From media outlets like The Verge to brands like West Elm. But let’s take that a step further and get “on brand” with it.

Meet VirtualOffice

This neat online tool allows you to select your office room, upload your logo, and then download an image to use as a virtual background to make it be a little more on-brand. This is ideal when you’re on a call with those outside of your company. Since they probably don’t know (or care to) know your dog by name. Check it out.

Zoom Virtual Background Collection

We’re all in this together, right? While VirtualOffice is neat, it’s not free. Someone, I have no idea who (message me if it’s you), created an Airtable loaded with backgrounds that you can use, for free. Some of them are funny (ideal for internal use) and some are a little trickery (again for external use). Check it out.

Can I Get an Assistant?

Yes. Yes, you can. I have a feeling that this might get abused. I see people using an image of themselves as a virtual background at home and then having this handy tool running to transcribe their meetings. Yes, I know, I just spilled the beans that the downside of virtual conferencing is that you can essentially automate it all. Great for those in larger virtual conferences, not so much for small groups. Anyways, Fireflies AI is your FREE AI Assistant for Zoom meetings. It’ll record, transcribe and allow you to search across your Zoom conversations. Amazing. Check it out.

There we have it. A quick overview of how to use and improve your Zoom and other virtual conferences. If you have anything to add then please send me a message on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.