Posts Tagged ‘remote working’

Remote Meetings – Rules of Engagement

May 19, 2020

Over the past few weeks from toddlers to elder lemons, we have all had a baptism of fire when it comes to remote meetings.  

While we are well used to them at this stage you can see already an A to Z of how people are great or not so great using them so I thought it was worth writing this as we can all get a little bit better – it’s all about Communications!

Love them or hate them, they are here to stay, so I have some tips that have helped me through this new way of working and could help you as well.

For us at Fuzion, it gives us the opportunity to say that we are very much open for business, sleeves up and ready to help. And it’s working for us – we even have won new business for the first time ever without ever having met the client face to face!

When the lockdown was announced first, we thought that was the end of all of our Social Media and Media Training as well as our Brand and Communications Workshops, but we quickly adapted and we have been busier than ever thanks to Zoom.

Remote meetings will never replace the valuable face to face connectivity but if we can get remote meetings right, think of the time we can save, not to mind the benefits to the environment and our pockets. 

It could mean that when the world “reboots” if we embrace remote meetings we will be far more productive and effective as individuals and as organisations and we might even win back some more quality of life.

Here are some of my learnings since conquering the fear of my laptop camera!!

  1. Be mindful of your image

Treat remote meetings as if you are all in the same room.

Wear work appropriate clothing and be mindful of your backdrop. If you have a home office, how about using one of your company’s pop ups, or if that’s not feasible either have a blank wall, or a backdrop that is clutter free.

The first week I just wore my gym gear – who cared…. It turns out I did. 

Part of my ability to thrive and not just survive during this time is keeping to my rituals and that includes giving myself time to look well every day – that way, if there is a last minute meeting – well I’m ready for my closeup!!!

  1. Turn your camera on – don’t hide

Pre Covid the majority of people kept their camera off and blamed the wifi! Now it’s becoming less acceptable to have your camera turned off.  

Now most people almost resent it where people leave their camera off.  You almost feel that they are hiding something, or that they don’t want to engage with you fully.

In most cases no one will say anything but they will see you (or not at all!) in a different light if you are the hidden one.

  1. Have the right light

Don’t sit with your back to the window or to strong lighting – all people will see is your silhouette. Use soft natural light to illuminate you in front or to the side. 

If you don’t have good lighting, invest in an LED Ring Light – They are great value, can plug into your laptop and offer a variety of lights and strengths depending on the natural light in the room.

In my room, I work with the light behind me, so I have positioned my laptop on books to the side with one of these LED lights behind the camera, so when I’m on a Zoom call, I turn the light on and it really softens the lighting.  

  1. Frame the camera correctly

Try out a number of positions/locations for the camera – which may also change during the day depending on light. 

Show all of your face. Place the camera at eye level or higher. Looking up at the camera makes you look more engaged (so they say!!)  And look into the lens, not at the screen. That’s where the people are, and that is how you make eye contact.

I have been on one or two meetings, where the other person’s camera was pointed at the ceiling, which is definitely worse than not having the camera on at all!!!

  1. Drown out noise

If you are in an environment where there are other people working near you, or there might be other distracting sounds you might consider using headsets. They could be the typical ones that come with your phone.

I’m working in an office on my own so I find the mic and the speakers on my laptop work fine, however some colleagues that run workshops and webinars prefer to use headphones or a headset with a mic.

Click this link that I found on the Zoom help resources on best cameras and headsets

  1. Sit up straight and proud

Don’t slouch, sit on a chair, rather than a couch if possible, so it feels more like a meeting setting. Don’t move as much as you might during an in-person meeting, and stay within the camera frame.

Saying that, I work from a couch, with cushions supporting my back as I work. 

I have my laptop to my side, connected to a big screen on a coffee table in front of me and my cordless keyboard on a tray on my lap. Very comfy as as it makes room for my new work colleagues – my dogs Honey and Bert either side of me!!! 

When it comes to meetings, I lean toward the edge of the couch, sit up straight, turn towards the camera which is to the side, so that the backdrop is the wall rather than all the cushions surrounding me. It keeps me focused sitting at the edge of the couch and I have my cordless keyboard and mouse on a tray, so I am able to access the screen if I need to.

  1. Look engaged

Remember it’s not a mirror, so don’t go fidgeting with your hair, or don’t click away on your computer keyboard while someone is talking. If you really have to click away or if there is any external noise like the dogs (or the kids) acting up, then mute when you are not speaking.

I was at a meeting the other day, where one of the ladies kept on tying her hair up and then down. She forgot that everyone could see her.

I think I preferred her hair down lol!!!

  1. Be on time

And that means joining the meeting a few minutes before the start time, to make sure your connection is working OK.

It’s sort of like getting the meeting room ready for the meeting. When I worked in the office, I’d always make sure the room was in order before the meeting and this is my way of making sure I create the best possible impression by being on time and that everything is working properly.

  1. Keep Meetings Short

Some people find remote meetings more draining than face to face meetings. So try and keep them to less than an hour. After the meeting walk around for a few minutes, grab a coffee or give the dog (or kid) a treat for behaving during the meeting!!

I find that I have to focus much more during remote meetings. I want to be sure I hear what everyone is saying and that I’m 100% engaged. So afterwards I feel really drained, but I find it helps keeping them to under an hour if at all possible.

  1. Go Zoom

I know there were some security issues regarding Zoom during the first week or so of the lockdown, but we find this platform really reliable and the quality of audio, visual and screen sharing functionality really good. 

It’s free to use to host meetings if they are under 40 minutes and it’s also free to use if you are just joining in on a meeting. You just need to download the app the first time you use it.

Their website is really great as well for tips on how to use the platform as well as general help with organising webinars, meetings or just working from home. Click here for a blog post from them I found really useful – tips on how to meet like a pro while working from home.

The biggest reason for using Zoom at this stage, is that it is quickly becoming the standard. People are becoming very familiar with it and if it is a meeting, a training session or a webinar make it as easy as possible for them and don’t place any barriers to entry, such as another platform they may not know.

So, that’s all from me – I hope you find these simple tips really useful, and you never know I could be meeting you soon, on Zoom or even better in person!  

Deirdre Waldron, Fuzion Communications, PR ConsultantDeirdre 

Deirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Top tips for Remote working – for leaders and their teams 

March 26, 2020

Working from home

If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home during this time, we wanted to share with you a few top tips to be as productive as you can be and also bust a few myths about working from home too. 

In a lot of companies the idea of remote working can seem daunting and a lot of people are very skeptical of it. “How do you know people aren’t slacking off?” is a common question people ask when the topic of working from home comes up. But effective remote working starts at the top with the leaders. 

There is a perception that if you can’t see your team working, then they are slacking off but any worker regardless of where they are working from can slack off if there isn’t proper communication in place. If someone understands clearly what work they are responsible for and works accordingly, they should be able to get the job done no matter where they are located. 

So the first tip is of course Communication! 

Communication is key. 

Offline working – A lot of remote workers might feel they need to constantly be online and show they are working at all times but if you need to delve in to a big task – communicate this and let your team know you might be offline working on a project for a few hours, add it to your calendar or your chat status. 

Speak in person – Hold a catch up call with your team and keep in touch, it’s not as easy to have a quick chat with your co-worker when you’re working from home but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Check in with your teammates and see how they’re getting on – just make sure to brush your hair before the video call! 

Chat tools – Use chat tools like Google Hangouts, and Zoom. These tools can really make working from home and communicating with your team a lot easier. 

Track your workday as you normally would – set tasks and take breaks.

Task planning – It’s really easy to get distracted when working from home, so assign yourself a few big tasks you need to get done that day and try your best to get the worst one out of the way first.

Take your breaks – Working alone at home can be hard so take a coffee break/lunch break as you normally would – walk away from your work station/go to a different room and take a break, pet your dog, talk to you mom, call a friend, go for a walk or maybe even do a quick stretch but be sure to assign yourself a time to come back to your desk at, as it’s very easy at home to take too many breaks and get distracted so keeping yourself accountable will do wonders for your productivity. 

Remote working

Get dressed and set up a workstation away from your bedroom if you can. 

Sitting in your PJ’s all day will not help your productivity…as tempting as it is! 

Fuzion Cuppa

Create a remote team culture

Your company culture doesn’t have to take a hit during this time. Implement a fun way to stay in touch with your co-workers. For instance here at Fuzion we have our Fuzion Cuppa everyday at 11am where we make a cup of tea/coffee and catch up with our colleague and see how everyone is. This is a fun way to let everyone know it’s business as usual and we’re all still staying connected with each other. 

Exercise 

If your day looks something like bed to chair to couch to bed then make sure you get outside and get some fresh air and some steps in. It’s not only important for you to get some exercise, but it’s also important for your mental health to get out of the house at least once a day. 

Have a dance party at home(sure nobody is watching anyway!!)

Know when to log off 

This can be one of the most challenging aspects for remote work, as the world is becoming increasingly connected but it is important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night. 

And last but not least: 

Embrace the perks of working from home. 

This is a tough time for us all, but if you are able to work from home enjoy the positive side of it. No morning commute, endless cuddles with your pets, nice views, midday dance parties, the memes, the tiktok’s, more time spent with our loved ones – the list is endless!

Michelle

Michelle Harrison is part of PR team at Fuzion Communications, working from our Dublin office

Managing Remote Working Effectively

March 26, 2020

remote-work-tips

 

Some very practical advice on working from home from our good friends Laura & Frank – HR for Better Workplaces

 

With working from home being a key means for many workers and organisations to keep going during the Corona Virus outbreak, we have collated some top tips to help you and your team get the most from remote working whilst looking after employee well-being.

 

Managing Communication

  • Be very clear on agreeing ways of working
  • Ensure everyone is well informed and aware of company expectations
  • Have very regular meetings to check progress and communicate effectively
  • Embrace the use of technology to communicate on a daily basis.
  • Operating this way helps to maintain and improve communication whilst also creating social interaction to help combat isolation  
  • Having phone, video or group conferencing is an effective and easy method  
  • Test some products like Zoom, Skype, Loom, Webex and there are many more

 

Managing Well-being

  • Try working in different areas of your house until you find the most comfortable setting
  • Adapt your working space from time to time to allow change in your usual routine
  • Make sure you set a daily routine and take regular breaks
  • Set working hours and stick to them
  • Get showered and dressed every day
  • Take regular daily exercise, joining an exercise group online can be motivating and provide interaction with other people
  • Create a healthy eating plan and be organised around preparation of this
  • Go outside in the garden for a break and plenty of fresh air
  • Join remote working communities online for support and social interaction

 

HR for Better Workplaces provides a bespoke consultation service, with over 50 years combined industry experience. They specialise in practical advice and offer a wide range of HR and well-being services.  Laura or Frank can be contacted through their website https://www.hrforbetterworkplaces.ie/

 


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