Essential Tools You Need for Effective TeleWorking

August 2, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 

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Teleworking working has become a regular part of life for many of us, especially if you run your own business. There are many things to learn and get used to, but it’s much easier if you have the right tools. Here is everything you need to work remotely.

A Good Computer with Reliable Internet

The very basics are a good working computer and a reliable internet connection. A PC gives you a bigger screen and more power, but a laptop gives you the option of working on the go. Your regular household Wi-Fi is probably enough for remote working, but you may also look at your usage and consider adding more bandwidth.

Communication Tools

Remote working requires some kind of communication tool beyond email to talk to your colleagues and clients. Email gets clunky and hard to manage. Messages pile up on threads. It’s especially inconvenient when you have a team of people talking together. A chat platform like Slack or Skype is a much better option. You can talk throughout the day as if you were together at the office.

Video Conferencing

It’s highly likely that you’ll sometimes have to attend meetings. For this, you’ll need video conferencing software. With a program like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you can have virtual meetings where you can see everyone and take advantage of features like screen share and presentations.

Project Management

If you’re collaborating on projects with other people, you’ll need a project management program like Asana, Jira, or Basecamp. These programs allow you to see and edit the progress of projects, share and edit documents, and communicate together as you work.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows you to store files in the cloud rather than on a physical device. The advantage is that you can access these files anywhere. It also gives you more storage in addition to what your computer can handle. The simplest and most popular are Google Drive and Dropbox.

Pocket Wi-Fi

If you’re going to be taking your work on the road, you may want to buy a pocket Wi-Fi. This is a small device that gives you your own hotspot. It allows you to use Wi-Fi anywhere and not have to rely on unsecured public networks. You can also use it as a backup at home if your Wi-Fi goes out.

Organizational Tools

Finally, there is a wide selection of tools that help you get and stay organized. When working remotely without a boss or office, this can be quite helpful for staying on top of things. These tools include online calendars, time management tools, automated to-do lists, and time trackers that help you audit how you spend your time at work.

Many of these options can be found for free and are very easy to use. They make work easier and more efficient for remote workers.

Do you want to learn more about using Zoom effectively? Check out my course, Communicate & Meet with Zoom, which teaches you the A to Z of leveraging all aspects of video conferencing.  Free for a limited time. Click the Image below.

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7 Tips to Run an Effective Video Call When Working Remotely

July 28, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 

If you’re working remotely, you almost certainly have to make video calls. Some remote workers are constantly on video calls throughout the day. If you haven’t participated in video calls often in the past, it can be a bit awkward and difficult to get used to at first. Here are some tips and best practices on how to make your video calls smooth, natural, and effective.

Check Your Connection

Before your call, make sure you have a strong internet connection. A bad connection can be extremely distracting and even drop your call. Check with any devices you’ll use and have a backup ready in case there’s a problem with one. Make sure others in your household aren’t placing a burden on the Wi-Fi while you’re on the call.

Pay Attention to Presentation

Even though you’re working at home in your pyjamas, you should be dressed in business attire for video meetings. This not only creates a good impression, it also puts you in the correct mindset for work. Pay attention to what’s in the background of your video. For example, remove hanging clothes or kids’ toys. Experiment with the angle so that you’re not too close or too far away.

Act Like You’re in a Meeting

During the meeting, keep in mind that people can see you. They can see your facial expression and can tell whether you’re listening or not. Non-verbal clues like nodding and smiling are even more important on video calls than in person to confirm that you’re present.

Experiment with Lighting

Before the call, check out your lighting. See how it looks on the camera. You don’t want to appear too dark or too washed out. Try out different lights to see what looks most natural. Make sure there isn’t any light behind you which would backlight.

Meeting Timing

Just like any meeting, be on time. We’re often looser with time when we’re not hurrying to get anywhere, but just like a regular meeting, everyone should take it seriously. Create an agenda and stick to it, wrapping up the call at the appointed time so participants can get back to other things they need to do.

Use the Mute Function

Especially if there are several participants on the call, mute yourself when you’re not talking. There may be background noise you’re not aware of that everyone can hear such as cars passing outside, household noises, or the sound of you moving.

Have a Backup Plan

There are bound to be some technical or connectivity problems, so have a backup plan ready. This might be an alternative time slot for the meeting or switching to audio-only if video slows down some participants’ computers. Another option is to record the meeting in the case that someone can’t connect and participate.

The good news is that we’re all getting increasingly used to holding video meetings and the technology is better than ever. You can hold important meetings without everyone in the same location and there are customization options you can take advantage of to make meetings more productive.

Do you want to learn more about using Zoom effectively? Check out my course, Communicate & Meet with Zoom, which teaches you the A to Z of leveraging all aspects of video conferencing.  Free for a limited time. Click the Image below.

 

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20 Remote Work Tools to Help You During the Pandemic

May 10, 2020 / Roberta Hill  / 


In the past two months, business owners and employees have had to adapt to working remotely. The probability is high that even after we have a vaccine, there will be a paradigm shift. More of us are going to be working from home, and that means we’ll all need to have tools to help us manage our assets, collaborate, and connect with one another.

With that in mind, here are some of the best tools available for working remotely, now and in the future.

Asset Management Tools

A lot of companies have moved to cloud-based backup systems, but some haven’t. If you need a way to manage your data and assets online, so everybody can access what they need, here are some suggestions.

  • Google Drive is a free tool accessible to anybody with a Google account. While it updates frequently, and that can be frustrating, it’s easy to use and allows you to work on documents with colleagues. It also tracks changes.
  • Dropbox is a tool with free and paid options where you can have employees and freelancers put documents for you to access. It’s easy to set up folders to organize your content.
  • Canva is one a tool that’s intuitive and easy to use for creative content. They have a free option, but the premium account is ideal for business content and collaboration, even for people who don’t have any design experience.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud is one of my favorite tools to create and collaborate on visual content. You can add team members as needed and give them editing privileges.

If you’ve been reluctant to embrace cloud technology for file sharing and asset management, now is the time to embrace it.

Time Tracking Tools

If you bill clients hourly – or pay employees hourly – then you need a way to track time spent on projects. Here are three tools to try:

  • Harvest is a simple tool that allows you to create projects or to-do list and track the time spent on each item. It’s best suited for tracking personal time, but not the best tool for managing employee productivity.
  • iDoneThis is a tool that tracks team progress on projects. If you have multiple employees working on the same project – and you want to avoid duplication of effort – this is a useful tool to have on hand. It will send everyone on your team a digest to recap what everybody did.
  • Time Doctor allows you to create projects and track time spent on them using a clock. It’s ideal if you need to manage employees or freelancers.

Tracking employees’ time helps to keep people accountable when they work from home.

Virtual Meeting Tools

Virtual meetings are everywhere these days, and I’m willing to bet you’ve already tried some of the tools I’ll cover in this section. Keep in mind that some of these may be useful for keeping in touch with friends and family as well as for business meetings.

  • Skype is the original video calling tool. It’s not the most sophisticated tool on this list, but it’s suitable for one-on-one calls with colleagues or collaborators. There’s a chat feature where you can put links and other information.
  • Zoom is the video conferencing app that’s received the most attention. It’s useful for large group meetings. In addition to real-time conversations, you can share screens and record meetings for later viewing.
  • GoToMeeting is ideal for speaker meetings where you want people to be able to dial in and listen to a speaker or host. You can also record meetings to share later.
  • Google Hangouts are a free and convenient meeting option, especially if you’re already using Google Calendar or Google Docs.
  • me is a great app for screen sharing meetings. You can also use it to create a dedicated meeting room for people to visit when they need to meet with you.

Keep in mind that Zoom’s free option limits meetings to just 40 minutes, but their paid plans start at just $14.99 per month. That will get your meetings up to 24 hours with up to 100 participants.

Remote Login Tools

Depending on your situation, you or a member of your team may need to log in to a computer in your office while you’re at home. Here are some tools that can help you.

  • Remote PC allows you to access computers and create teams to allow for easy collaboration with your employers or freelancers.
  • TeamViewer has a free option for personal use and a business option where you can allow multiple users to log in remotely.
  • LogMeIn offers a free trial and account options for business owners and IT professionals who may need to log in remotely to fix computer issues.

Keep in mind that for any of these tools to work, the computer being accessed must be turned on.

Project Management Tools

Even small businesses may have ongoing projects where multiple employees must collaborate to complete their work. Here are some of the best project management tools to try.

  • Asana allows you to create projects and tasks, assign them to employees, upload files, and communicate via live chat.
  • Trello gives you an easy-to-use dashboard where you can track projects, mark them as urgent, and even colour-code them to make it easy for collaborators to see what they need to do.
  • Basecamp has calendar management and project management tools on a convenient dashboard. You can grant access to employees and freelancers for easy communication.
  • Microsoft Office Teams allows you to download Microsoft tools such as Word and Excel onto your computer and collaborate with employees.
  • G Suite is a Google-created tool that allows teams to collaborate and manage products using Google Docs and Google Slides, as well as creating and working from a shared calendar.

The likelihood is strong that working remotely will be the norm in the future. It’s going to be essential for business owners and employees to have the best tools to help them keep track of their assets and collaborate with one another. The tools on this list are some of my favourites.

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