If you live in Ontario or The Niagara Region, you'll know about being in lockdown again. We are not debating in this blog post whether it was a good decision to be in lockdown or not. We are here to talk about working from home again, after having high hopes of being back in the office. Our dreams of being able to sit down at our desks in the new year and start fresh at work are no more. So how do we handle the transition? Again...?
Do you have an external Webcam?
If for some reason you could stay in the office last lockdown and need to transition to a home office now you may still have a shot to get the tech you need. Need a webcam? Look to Amazon first before looking at the big resellers most have a 5 week wait. Order now or you might miss your chance. In the beginning of the pandemic all major webcam providers sold out all products by April 9th of 2020. If you’re hovering over the add to cart, make sure to order sooner than later. You'll thank us for it.
Not looking for a webcam but another way to reach your employees. Maybe you’re a CEO reading this can you want to engage with your team and keep their attention for longer, maybe you also want to look like you have a professional camera crew on the other side of your laptop screen. Well, Skycomp has some advice that can get you there for a decent price. We explain more about the ultimate virtual meeting setup here. Some of those prices can be a bit daunting to some. You can always go cheaper! Read about it here: The ultimate budget setup. You can amazon stress shop now - and thank us later. Audio and Video quality are important. Could you binge watch an entire Netflix series in 720p? We don't think so, not after watching all these new shows shot in 4K or MORE.
Making the most of you at home setup.
Background is everything in past articles we've written about keeping your workspace clean for your focus and sanity, we've also mentioned briefly that having a strong background in your virtual meetings is important. No not putting your vacation beach landscape photo as your virtual background, or making it look like your back in your high-rise office. Those virtual image backgrounds can help with your sanity for a few moments - but that won't last long. We are looking at keeping you sane for a longer length of time.
Think like a 'YouTuber'
If you don't know this term 'YouTuber' you need to get out more, digitally get out more we mean. Thinking like a YouTuber means thinking about how you vlog - we aren't vloggers with millions of subscribers. But we can still take the concepts and ideas from the backgrounds and 'sets' of these famous people. They have millions of people every day watching their videos. You must admit they must be doing something right. When you look at your work from home setup - what do you see behind you? Maybe a picture frame, or a stack of papers you were supposed to sort? This is okay to start - defiantly real and a raw background. I think what we are looking to achieve is something that says more about you, your family, your career, and goals. For example, we have lots of IT technicians that work with us at Skycomp. They have some sweet backgrounds. It might be a conversations starter - a collection of action figures, or even a painting or artwork your daughter did. Just something other than a boring blank wall. Now maybe you don't have the budget of a YouTuber. But you can get creative and find ways to make what's behind you in your webcams field of view interesting. Who knows maybe someone has the same hobby as you, and wants to trade action figures? That might be just an IT thing though...
The above example is Skycomp's YouTube Channel - New videos every week! This is a picture of Marc, our Project Specialist showing you what a UPS is. Don't look at Marc, but look at the background. The Logo on the TV, the blue wall the accent white wall. This background is very simple yet packs a huge punch. Maybe this can give you some inspiration for future video calls or conference calls?
Be Better on Camera:
This one can be tricky for some of us introverted and awkward types... But more people are getting better at it because well they must flip on the webcam, speak, and present. You have a few options to get better at this. Follow these simple steps and you'll be hosting a Zoom call like Jimmy Fallon:
- Make Eye Contact with the Webcam or Camera and not the Screen - Makes people feel like you are talking to them and not to your laptop.
- Keep People Talking - This will take some practice - But know when to break a silence and when to keep the conversation flowing.
- When Presenting: (For Recorded Zoom Content or Live Presentations) - Keep Talking, be an expert on the subject, you will not fail.
- Keep asking if anyone has any input - it’s hard to tell when someone can speak in a virtual meeting. If you’re the host - give people openings.
- Know your meeting software: Be the best host you can be. If you know how to mute the guy whose dog is barking in the background - do it!
- Find creative ways to keep people engaged and webcam on. Grab a screenshot to share on social with #workfromhome (Let people know this is happening in advance of course.)
These are trivial things - some are more challenging for different applications. If it’s an eight am meeting, chances are people are not going to want to have the webcams on as most of them just rolled out of bed and into the meeting. Maybe a way to avoid this is to host a pre-meeting with the promise of a prize to the person who got up early. It might be as simple as an amazon gift card - but it could encourage a few of your team to make it dressed and showered to a meeting. Bribing your team isn't a long-term solution... but it could work for a couple meetings. If you are a teacher trying to engage students, you might go broke with the gift card idea. But maybe offer to take away an assignment - or boost a grade if the webcam is on? We at Skycomp aren't teachers, but you could probably boost the participation mark, right?
These are just a few more ways of dealing with lockdown 2.0 and whatever comes with it. You can trust that Skycomp's team is along for the journey with you. We are looking forward to life when we can just hop in the conference room and chat. But for now, using technology, staying positive and helping everyone we can with our advice is all we can do! It is up to you to make this year great! Let’s work together and get your technology solved, so you don't have to!