Tips to Working Remotely- How To Be Productive & Not Go Stir Crazy if You Work From Home

March 14, 2020

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TIPS TO WORKING REMOTELY

Remote work is here to stay, and the recent 2020 Corona Virus has escalated the need for employees to work remotely from home. Technology advances have made it easier for digital nomads to start their own online business and work from anywhere in the world and still communicate with their clients face-to-face.

I am lucky to work to be able to work from home, building websites and SEO consulting. Zoom video meeting software (free and paid plans), Facetime, and many apps have made it easy for me to to work effectively and to collaborate and communicate remotely with my clients. I also utilize co-working spaces, coffee shops with wi-fi, when I want a change of scenery and to socialize more and to meet clients in-person (when we are not quarantined at home).

Tips for Using Zoom for Video Meetings with Your Team/Clients

 

1. Have good LIGHTING – natural or selfie lighting

Use window light where you can it produces accurate colors and skin tones. Position yourself so that you have natural light from the window coming in from one side. Directly facing the window or having it behind you will result in light that is either too harsh or have that dark silhouette effect! If you have a window with a white curtain, that’ll diffuse and soften the light a lot, making it look really good. To conquer bad lighting and to also help you look a bit more presentable, a selfie-ring light is the way to go. You can get one from Amazon, starting around $13, you get a stand for your phone too.
Selfie light for phone and computer

2. Feeling rough? Use “TOUCH UP MY APPEARANCE”

In video preferences check “Touch Up My Appearance” – it retouches your video display with a soft focus, to help smooth out the skin tone on your face, to present a more polished looking appearance, so you don’t need to put on makeup before joining a Zoom Meeting from home (no judgement!).
> On your Mac/Windows – in your Zoom client, login, then click ​​Settings​, then click ​Video​​.
 >Alternatively, you can start or join a meeting, then click the arrow next to the video icon and choose ​​Video Settings​​.

> In the Video Settings dialog, click ​​Touch up my appearance​​.


> Check this option to display your video with the touch up.

Zoom remembers your preference and uses it the next time you start or join a meeting on this computer.

3. Check “Turn off my video when joining a meeting”

Do this so that your face doesn’t appear on a huge projector screen as you join an all-hands meeting (so embarrassing when this happens).

4. Change your BACKGROUND

You have the option to change your videoconferencing background to make it more professional, or more exciting, or you want to hide your messy office (bedroom!), and to respect another person’s privacy, you/they can customize your Zoom preferences in video settings and your new background will apply to every Zoom Meeting you attend. Choose from a free Zoom background or upload your own.
Zoom preferences for background

5. How to SCHEDULE of Zoom meeting

Watch this quick video to learn How to schedule a Zoom meeting – https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362413-Scheduling-meetings.

6. MUTE yourself when you’re not speaking.

This is a basic rule of video conferencing etiquette! Mute yourself when you’re not talking to cut down on any distracting background noise, not to mention kids/dogs. In your preferences, set yourself to be automatically muted when you join a meeting. When you’re ready to un-mute yourself, you can save yourself a click by pressing and holding the space bar if you need to chime in for a brief second.

7. SECURE your Zoom meetings

There are a number of settings in Zoom that can help you keep your meeting safe. Lock down your meetings with passwords, mute attendees on joining, and lock down screen sharing so that an attendee can’t take over your meeting with their screen without your permission and also learn how to kick out attendees if in a Zoom Room. Very important for teachers to know this!

8.  RECORD important Zoom meetings.

You can record meetings to your device or to the Zoom cloud for later reviewing. Do this if your meeting involves multiple cross-functional team members and if you’re kicking off a long-term project to make sure everyone is on the same page, and also for members of your team who are out of the office/unavailable, it’s a good practice to record those meetings for future reference and viewing.

> Log into Zoom. Start your meeting as the host by clicking Meetings.
> Under Upcoming, select the meeting you want to start and click the blue Start button.
> Click the Record button on the right-hand side of the Zoom toolbar.
> Select either Record on this Computer or Record to the Cloud to begin recording.
> To stop recording, click Pause/Stop Recording or End Meeting.

9. Using Zoom with SLACK

If your team uses Slack to communicate in real time, your admin can integrate Zoom and Slack for easy video conferencing on the fly. Instead of going through booking a Zoom meeting on your calendar, you can type “/zoom” into Slack, and a meeting link will appear directly in your Slack conversation for you and your teammate to join, it easier to discuss a complicated concept on video than texting it via Slack.

The ultimate guide from Trello! Lots of tips and tools for working remotely.

Read or Download the PDF for:

  • Dispelling Myths & Providing Tips – remote work gets a bad name when in fact there are easily identifiable behaviors and policies that are causing the problems.
  • Communication & Collaboration – best practices for virtual discussions and meetings.
  • Digital Tools – the best software for effective remote work.
  • Company Culture – how to build a thriving team across many time zones.
  • Jobs & Hiring – places to source remote jobs, and tips for interviews and hiring.

I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME

Working remotely for four years, I have the freedom to not work when I am not feeling creative or up to it, and to be able to start my work day around 10:30 am. But don’t be fooled into believing that  remote workers are slackers, far from it!  I work weekends and evenings until very late, though I am trying to get better at managing my clients expectations of me being available at any time, sometimes I am on a creative streak or in the zone I lose track of time.

In my corporate job, workflow was constantly interrupted by “bagels in the conference room” or chatty co-workers, office gossip/politics, and having to take one hour  lunch breaks at  noon, The thought of working in a little cubicle for corporate America from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday, and having to commute,  unnecessarily long meetings, and working for mean bosses, makes me feel sick to my stomach now, I can’t believe I did that for 25 years!

I am blessed to not have that feeling of dread on Sundays, and saying “I have work in the morning”. I earn way less now and don’t get paid for holidays or when sick, which can bring some anxiety,  but I am so much happier and I’m loving being my own boss and the freedom it brings, my distractions now are, “Want to go to the Beach” on a Tuesday,  or going to a matinee movies on a weekday. 

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