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Telecommuting Tips for Remote Work

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With an increasing number of companies mandating social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, there’s never been a bigger time for telecommuting and remote work. Here are some guidelines for maximizing the productivity and ensuring the security of meetings while working from home.

Your Environment

Pick a noise-free room. Take audible distractions into account if you have pets, or if schools are closed be sure the kids are not playing in spaces adjacent to your workspace. 

If you are using video, choose the right background. A single-color background is the best choice. Avoid setting up in front of wallpaper or artwork. Be sensitive to windows. If located behind you or beside you, windows can make it hard for you to be visible. That said, in many cases, PC cameras are able to adjust to low light.

Check your Wi-Fi signal using your phone or PC. A good test is to go into airplane mode and try making a FaceTime call on your iPhone, or use an app to test your internet connection. For a quality video experience you should have at least 1-4 Mbps up and down. If there is any less you will have challenges. If you work in a creative industry that requires high-definition content sharing or streaming, you may need much more capacity.

Your Device

Try joining your desktop client ahead of time. Set up a test call with a colleague and practice muting and unmuting to avoid interruptions. Content sharing is always a challenge—be a native before you get on your first call and share something you didn’t intend to. Get on a call with a friend, share content with the app, and learn how to share your screen.

Take audio into consideration. Having video is great, but it is even more important to be audible. There are plenty of wired and wireless headsets on the market. if you want your audio to be simple and certain during uncertain times, attach a good ole-fashioned wired headset to your laptop.

Be familiar with how to specify cameras and microphones on your device. It is best to have any external mics or cameras plugged in and operational before you access the meeting.

Security

Security should be a paramount consideration considering the potential sensitivity of business documents and conversations. Talk to your IT team—do they have approved tools in place already that you can leverage?

Not all security tools are made the same; some are encrypted and some are not. Make sure the security tools you use are effective and that your work from home experience conforms to all policies.  

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Noel Gish is VP of business development, Office of Innovation, Yorktel