Whether you’re a seasoned work-from-homer or still adjusting to it in these Pandemic Times, you’ve probably run into the whole “all hours are now potential work hours” problem. Without distinct separation between home and office, it’s hard to know when to work and when not to—especially when you’re combining work with parenting, cooking, exercising, taking your dogs out for their daily walks and everything else that goes into a typical day.
Tagged With work from home
Custom Zoom backgrounds prevent you from having to show off the same boring wall, messy apartment or kid-caused chaos in every meeting. And if you grew up on BBC shows like “Doctor Who,” “EastEnders,” and “BlackAdder,” you can now bring nostalgia to your conference calls with backgrounds from your favourite TV sets.
Forget trying to find the perfect desktop wallpaper. Now that everyone’s using Zoom—or one of the many Zoom alternatives—it’s all about picking the right virtual background. Swapping in one of Zoom’s built-in backgrounds might’ve elicited a chuckle back when teleconferencing was a new thing, but now that we’re all work-from-home pros, the real power move is uploading your own custom backgrounds. We’ll give you tips on finding the best-quality backgrounds out there, plus highlight some resources where you can download some for free.
The world now runs on video chat and telecommuting apps, but as we’ve come to discover over the last few weeks, they can be a security risk. Recent reports of “Zoombombing” and account stuffing have raised concerns over several difference video chat apps, but it’s not just hackers and trolls you have to worry about: You also need to be wary of the companies that own these platforms.
If you’ve been working from home during the shutdown, the past eight weeks have probably felt twice as busy and stressful as usual. After all, you’ve had the difficult task of staying productive while learning new tools, figuring out how to communicate with remote coworkers, trying to balance productivity and parenting (not to mention homeschooling), and keeping a household running when everyday tasks like buying groceries are much more complicated than usual—plus all of the anxiety associated with living during a global pandemic.
Google is cutting the price of its Google Meet video conferencing app all the way down to “free.” All you need to access it is a Google account—not a pricier G-Suite subscription, like before. (Though, as part of the launch of this Google Meet free version, G Suite subscribers also get free access to the enterprise version of meet through September 30th.)
Are you feeling burned out? Do you find yourself working more, not less, even while working from home? Award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee joins us on The Upgrade this week to talk about how the toxic culture of busyness is harming both our brains and our bodies, and what we can do about it. Celeste is the author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, and most recently, Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving.
One of the struggles of working from home—something many more of us are doing for the first time—is a constant pressure to be present. Your Slack dings, and you feel a nagging sense of guilt if you can’t contribute an answer or participate in a discussion. Conversely, it’s easy to get annoyed when people aren’t being responsive with you.
Depending on how creative you’re feeling, virtual backgrounds can make video calls a lot more fun. But they also have a strong potential to be used for evil. Case in point: In Zoom, you can make a virtual background from most any image or video file. That means you can use the feature to display a looping video of yourself—perfect for those times you are supposed to be in the meeting but really don’t want to be in the meeting.
Working from home necessitates reliable communication tools, and while it’s likely many of us are participating in more Zoom calls lately, paying for a premium or enterprise-level video conferencing app can be difficult for smaller companies or freelancers. There are several decent video-chatting apps available, but many lack essential video conferencing features like screen sharing.
Now that many of us lucky enough to be working are working from home and hosting our meetings virtually, we’re hyper-focused on making video conference calls less terrible, starting with making sure we look good on camera.
But how sure are you that you actually don’t look terrible or that there isn’t something embarrassing in view behind you? Don’t you want to check one last time before hopping onto that Zoom call? You should probably check.
It has been a week. Schools across the world have shut down—some for the rest of the school year—to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Parents have been scrambling all week to work from home or find child care or set up schedules that kind of, sort of resemble a school day. It feels like a victory to have arrived, mostly intact, at Friday afternoon. And so I hate to be the one to say this, but... this is only the beginning.
I woke up this morning genuinely confused about what day it was. It was either Wednesday or Thursday, I was pretty sure about that. For as long as the week has felt, it should be Saturday, but nowadays, Saturdays are going to resemble Mondays, so does it even matter what day it is? It’s definitely Thursday (Friday?).
With the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, now shifting into pandemic mode, we're likely to see more restrictions placed on travel, public gatherings and other activities that could lead to the spread of the virus. With schools now looking at closures and workplaces either suggesting or ordering staff to work remotely, chances are you might have multiple people in your household. What do you need to do to ensure your home doesn't descend into a war-zone when packed with people confined to quarters?
Coronavirus is a pain in the arse—to put it mildly. We’ve seen big cancellations of large group events and conferences, and your employer might be encouraging you to work from home until everything blows over. To help ease this process, Google and Microsoft are stepping up to offer free conferencing tools for a limited time. While it’s a little bit of altruism mixed with a pinch of good PR, free software is free software.