From our tech experts: Ten quick tips, tricks and best practices for those working remotely
The majority of businesses and organizations that have gone remote made the transition a few weeks ago. While many might be settled in and getting used to the work-from-home lifestyle, there are always ways to make collaborating and communicating remotely even better. Through our Go Remote program, ScanSource is working to equip our partners – and their customers – with all of the solutions, education, and resources they need to operate effectively through this challenging time. Last week, our very own Kyle DeWitt and Gerry Davis shared some of the most recent FAQs we’ve received from our partners regarding remote workforce solutions. You can read those here. This week, our teams of ScanSource Solution Architects and Intelisys Solution Engineers want to share ten helpful tips, tricks, and best practices to make communicating and working remotely easier for our partners.
If on video, be aware of what is in your background. Are there pictures or other items that could be distracting, or that you don’t want others to see? If necessary, use the background blur feature available on many web conferencing tools to keep your colleagues focused on you, not what’s in the background. Also, don’t forget you’re on video! It can be easy to get distracted and forget, especially if video conferencing on a regular basis is new to you.
We suggest wearing a headset or purchasing a high-quality USB microphone to use during virtual meetings. Try not to use built-in microphones that come with webcams or laptops. Nothing can ruin meeting productivity more than poor sound quality or having to repeat yourself several times because, to your colleagues, it sounds like you’re in a tunnel.
Ensure your laptop software (including operating software and any frequently used applications) is up-to-date and your laptop is fully patched. Many company-owned machines are set up to update (and even perform backups) automatically. However, patching ensures any identified vulnerability is secured, which is more important than ever when working remotely.
Ask your company what they are doing to filter your email from phishing attacks. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain information by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity. You may receive an email that looks official and harmless, but it could be from an attacker. During times like these, we must remain extra cognizant of phishing attacks and internet scams, especially as we are seeing an uptick in the amount of “organizations” asking for donations. Email filters can reduce questionable traffic.
Leverage instant chat solutions like text or Microsoft Teams chats for “water cooler” talk. This keeps emails business related so everyone can stay on task when working through emails. This also helps prevent the feeling of isolation when you have the ability to chat with your “neighboring colleague” from a virtual standpoint.
If you have settings available through your home router or internet service provider, prioritize your work computer and voice traffic. This will ensure your work is given first priority over the video game systems, smartphones, tablets, and other streaming services your family might be using that could potentially hog your bandwidth – which leads to poor voice and video quality.
If you are presenting in a web conference call or participating in one where you might be called upon to share your screen, close other open windows before you start the conference. This will avoid showing any confidential content or emails you don’t want others to see, and it should also speed up the time you can present since you aren’t having to constantly switch windows or close out of multiple programs.
Try to look into the camera when speaking during a video meeting. This might seem unnatural at first, but it really does give others the feeling that you’re engaging with them, just as you would in person. This would be similar to what a newscaster would do.
Stay focused on the meeting. If you are on video constantly checking email, or browsing when someone else is talking, they may feel like you aren’t engaged, or even worse, that they’re wasting your time. If someone addresses a question to you, you want to ensure you’ve been following the conversation – something that can definitely be more challenging when meeting virtually.
Lastly, take walks from time to time. It’s easy to plow through the day, but remember to get up, take a lap around the house or neighborhood, refresh, and refocus. Also, try to check your calendar before bed and in the morning. When working from home for an extended period of time, it can be very easy to lose track of your days, as sometimes the weekdays and weekend can start to run together.
As always, ScanSource partners can contact their dedicated technical sales support team and Solution Architects at 833.231.1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Intelisys partners can find their assigned Intelisys Solution Engineer through MyIntelisys, or by working with their Channel Manager for support.