What we've learned after our first week of working remotely
As we get used to this new reality of connecting remotely with our teams, friends, and family, it can be tricky to find the best video-conferencing options and the right rhythms and routines to use the technology effectively. As our team settles into our second week of adapting to a remote office, here are some things we’ve learned that you might find useful.
Keeping the team vibe strong and our home offices comfy:
- We established a daily 10:00 a.m. "check-in" where team members catch up over a video call if they're available (this is a time and place to share everything from project and office-related work to just sharing our we're feeling)
- We're taking home our monitors, office chairs, and everything we need in order to have a comfortable and functional work environment
Practising good video conferencing etiquette
Regardless of the platform you use:
- Wearing headphones and using a microphone (most modern earbuds have a mic built in!) will always improve the audio quality for both you and the others on your call
- Muting your microphone when you’re not talking is a best practice that should always be followed.
- If the connection is bad you can turn off your video, but seeing each other’s faces brings a little more joy and a deeper sense of human connection – so we encourage video chatting!
Using a video conferencing platform that works for you
There are so many options out there! It's important to go with an option that works for the attendees and works with your team's budget.
1) Google Meet: You can schedule a free video conference easily from within Google Calendar – just create a calendar event and then in the “location” field, choose “add conferencing” and it will automatically generate a video conference link. This works best if meeting attendees already use Gmail/Google Calendar, but the conference can still be joined by those on other platforms, like Outlook. This is the option that our team has been using so far and we have been pleased with the ease of use!
2) Facebook Messenger: Facebook has great video-conferencing abilities, and most of us are already on the messenger platform! Depending on the audience or group you want to meet with (for example, friends or community members), messenger is a great option. All you have to do is tap or click the little video camera icon in the top right corner of your messenger chat and it will start a video call with everyone in the chat
3) Zoom: Zoom is one of the leading options for a more professional, high quality paid option. For teams able to allocate some budget to video-conferencing, this can be a good way to go. Paid plans start at about $20/CAD per host (A host can organize and schedule a meeting; the number of hosts is also equivalent to the number of concurrent meetings you can have). Non-profits can also access discounts for Zoom – message us if you want to know how!
4)GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting offers similarly high quality to Zoom, starting at $16.25 USD per host per month. They have a free option but calls must be under 40 minutes and 3 people or less. We’ve been invited to participate in meetings hosted on GoToMeeting by partners who subscribe to their software and both the user interface and audio-video quality have been awesome!