As social distancing requirements around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) stand, Australian workforces are being presented with the unprecedented challenge of adapting to remote working.
On the 24th March 2020, the Australian Government issued the advice that Australians should work from home, where practicably possible.
In response, collaborating virtually and using videoconferencing software is now a daily requirement and for many, with little previous experience. From being required to watch live events or webinars on YouTube, to dialling into video conferences through programs such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. There are a few simple considerations to ensure that beginners in videoconferencing are able to successfully remain connected, no matter where they are working.
Here are our simple tips to ensure your videoconferencing success.
1. Be prepared
Any new work environment should be tested to ensure it is functional. When connecting from a home office remote location, it is best practice to ensure your videoconferencing tools are set up correctly and working. We recommend testing your speakers, microphone, and any headsets you are using, prior to trying to connect to a video call. Simple things like connecting with a colleague for a practice run to test your audio settings can stop any potential headaches when connecting to a real event.
If you have been sent links to new collaboration tools or websites, practice connecting to these also. If you are required to be on video during these online meetings ensuring that your workspace is appropriate, with good lighting and limited distractions, will make for a better experience for your call attendees too. Take a moment to see what is being captured behind you from your webcam – many people are shocked by what can be seen.
2. Ensure good Connectivity
Good connectivity is the basis of being able to work from home effectively. With the recent increase of Australians working from home, our networks are experiencing congestion while carriers work to ramp up their capacity. Video of any kind, whether streaming or broadcasting requires good bandwidth to ensure quality. Simple things like connecting to your home internet via ethernet cable vs Wi-Fi, and staggering usage times where other devices in your household are also using the internet (such as video games, watching Netflix, or other family members working from home), can ensure a better connection for your device during work hours.
3. Check your security settings
For those working from offices, or those required to watch live events or videoconferences while connected to external internet connections, we recommend checking with your IT team or provider to ensure that external sites such as YouTube, have not been blocked by company policy. Video sites are often blocked at an administration level to ensure staff productivity and security, so it is best practice to check in before accessing new collaboration or video tools. Your IT Team or provider may also be able run a check on your hardware to ensure it has the correct settings to work from home.
4. Practice makes perfect
Learning how to use new software or how to access and use new websites can often be tricky, but need not be. Currently, videoconferencing is a necessary tool to have in your working from home toolkit. The more practice and test runs you can do to familiarise yourself with your technology and its settings prior to any live events or videoconferencing will give you the confidence required to use it effectively.
We recommend giving yourself at least 5 minutes prior to connecting to a videoconference or live event, to double check your setting, your surrounds, and any other requirements to take part. If you need further support with, we recommend working with your IT officer or team directly to help you navigate your videoconferencing environment.
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