Since last week, all Crossphasers work from home - which means we get to play a lot of work-from-home-bingo. After many (video) calls with colleagues, I have some valuable tips for online meetings while working from home.
Every day, we start our day with a daily scrum stand-up in Slack. During this meeting, we discuss which tasks have to be done and by whom. One colleague guides the scrum. They ask everybody what they have on their to-do list. Which tasks can they do? The rest of the group have their microphone muted. This ensures that there is no interference, which means that all the attention is focused on the person speaking.
“We’ll wait for another two minutes,” or, “are we still waiting for someone?”. These questions kept popping up in our daily scrum. Because, sure… it’s useless to tell the same story twice, just because one colleague is late. We solved this by asking everybody to give a status update at the end of the day, in which they share what they did, what still needs to be done and whether they plan on joining tomorrow’s scrum. By doing this, we know who to expect every day.
Want to discuss a specific subject, or show a colleague what you did? Share your screen. This clarifies what you’re talking about and ensures that you’re talking about the same thing. “Can you see the link I’m pointing at with my mouse?”, you could ask, for example.
If you plan on sharing your screen during a meeting, check the system settings of your laptop before joining a digital meeting. You often have to give permission to share your screen in Chrome or Slack. After doing this, you have to restart the application to let the changes go into effect. If you don’t do this before the meeting, you’ll have to restart the app during the meeting, which’ll just take more time.
5. Use your camera
Switching on the camera on your laptop or your phone works well during meetings. This is a bit more taxing on your internet connection, but it does have its advantages. It’s nice to see your colleagues respond during a conversation - it helps you gauge what they are thinking and how they feel about what you’re saying. You’ll also be able to see when the connection breaks up and you should restart the application.
6. Use headphones
No sound, screeching background noises or the echo of your own voice: sometimes, audio doesn’t really work that well during a video call. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use (in-ear) headphones. No more messy audio - you can hear everything at a reasonable volume through your head-set.
“Learning by doing”, is our motto. We have to collaborate in new ways and learn from our experiences. If we help each other, working from home becomes a bit easier every day. Like to have more tips about working from home? Please, let us know. We’ll keep you posted.