We are currently at Covid-19 Alert Level 4 and New Zealand is on lockdown. Those that aren’t essential workers are working from home.
If you are like me, you have other (little) people in your house that are not so helpful in allowing you to work effectively. Flatmates, older parents and pets can all make working from home difficult. Even if you are lucky to avoid these challenges, you still have technical issues to overcome: learn how to use Zoom/Teams/WebEx etc, getting your microphone to work properly, and generally setting up your ‘home office’. Maintaining a connection to your colleagues and being able to stay productive is even more important now that you are not physically in your usual workplace.
Regular phone and video calls can make a big difference. Below are some top tips for good video conferencing (and it’s a given that you need to get out of your pyjamas, brush your hair and wash your face!):
- Use a headset with a good microphone (I recommend this one)
- If not everyone on the call is using good headsets, mute when you’re not talking
- Sit close to the screen, so that your face fills most of it
- Position your laptop/camera so that a wall is behind you (windows cause lighting issues and no one wants to see your messy bed)
- Consider using software that automatically filters out background noise (both yours and others on the call). I use Krisp.ai and it really is a game-changer
- Talk slowly. Leave occasional pauses so that others can interject if needed
- Look at the camera or the person talking – not at yourself in the small window! Others will notice.
- Wear clothing you’d be happy to open your front door wearing (if you were allowed to have visitors at the moment)
- Use a laptop if possible, but if using your phone put it down at head height so that you’re not wobbling about.
While life in lockdown is not easy, now is a good opportunity to get yourself better set up and acquainted with new technology.
Keep safe, stay home and be kind.