Working from home: 6 tips for better video calls
DURBAN - Even under lockdown Level 4, many South Africans across the country are still working from home.
This can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with tools like video conferencing.
Here are six tips to help you make your video conferencing experience easy and successful.
1. Choose the right environment
Video calls are more efficient than chat or email when talking through a complex issue or brainstorming on ideas. It also allows you to connect with teammates in different time zones across the world. When on a video call, ensure that the backdrop is plain and consistent (choose a plain wall, and avoid windows that will provide too much backlight). While on the call, if you are using a laptop, make sure that it is placed somewhere steady.
2. Invite anyone, anytime
Video conferences don't have to be scheduled; if you’re in the middle of a too-long email conversation, you can instantly set up a meeting and invite people within or outside of your organisation to join. Google Meet (which is now free for everyone, everywhere) automatically creates international dial-in codes so people can call on the phone from anywhere, and you can invite people via a Calendar event, by email, or by phone.
3. Can’t hear? Turn on captions
If you are in a loud place and don’t have super-fancy headphones, you can use Meet’s live caption feature to display captions in real-time (just like closed captions on TV). Start here.
4. Presenting? Only share what you mean to share
Don’t you love that moment when you’re sharing your screen and then, suddenly, everyone on the call is reading your email? To make sure you only share what you mean to share, present one window (rather than your entire screen). Check it out.
5. Want to read the room? Change the screen layout
One of the favourite features in Meet is changing the layout of the video call. If someone’s showing slides, but there’s a lively discussion happening in the office, you can switch your layout to focus on the people in the office, rather than the presentation. Learn how.
6. Be real
Everyone has a life outside of work. Depending on the culture of your workplace, it can be alright to show a little bit of the “real” life around you—like letting your kid wave to the camera or eating your lunch if you’ve been on nonstop calls all day. Showing a little bit of your life can foster deeper connections with coworkers and even create empathy for whatever you’re dealing with outside of work.
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