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7 Apr, 2020

Work From Home - Bring Your A-Game to the Next Web Conference

Run the bank from home? Spend time every day with your face on live video in web meetings? Today, the answer for many of you is a resounding, “Yes.”

BankOnIT’s client financial institutions from Vermont to California have 15 times more bankers with remote-working capabilities than a month ago. Most of that happened one week in mid-March when we had a hockey-stick spike in requests for work-from-home (WFH) capabilities.

One of the things we do is help make those remote-working connections seamless and secure, specifically meeting financial-institution needs.

But there is more to successful working from home than technology and security. Web conferences are replacing in-person meetings with coworkers and customers, and it’s likely we will see this technology in continued use after the COVID-19 crisis ends.

Here are some quick tips to help you be on your A-game during your next web conference:

Bandwidth-management matters.

  • Many home broadband Internet connections will be fine, if it’s only you at home. You could run into trouble (video freezes; audio dropouts) if your spouse is on another web conference, someone else is streaming movies or school lessons, another is gaming online, and your doorbell cam is streaming your third home delivery of the day. Sounding familiar?
  • Set specific times of the day with other family members for when web-conferencing takes priority.
  • For a stealthier option, choose a wireless router that allows you to filter traffic and give priority access to some users over others.

Show up for WORK.

  • That means dress the part. Whatever your normal, in-office look is, start there. Maybe turn the dial a little more casual (after all, we are working from home in a pandemic), depending on who else is in your meeting.
  • Check your hair, your face, your teeth, your shirt before clicking that “live camera” icon. And, contrary to web-conferencing lore, keep the pants on; they are really not optional.

Set up your shot.

  • Adjust your laptop and/or chair so you are eye level with the camera (your chin will thank you). Position yourself so you can see the upper third of your body on screen and some background is visible behind you.

Consider your background.

  • Have the light toward your face, not behind you (where you will become “shadow outline person”).
  • Find a place without visual distractions, which can be movement (people or pets) and possessions (uncluttered, not messy, is the goal).
  • A shelf behind you with a few books and an appropriate photo is fine. Don’t have time to rearrange? Consider blurring the background so people won’t be distracted looking at what’s in your library vs. you. Background blur is a click away in most videoconferencing apps.

Get good at mute/unmute.

  • Keep yourself on mute unless you are speaking, and remember to un-mute yourself when you start speaking.
  • Ask for feedback after a meeting from one of your colleagues; if your sound quality is poor, consider investing in an external microphone like podcasters use.

Do your best to find a quiet place.

  • It’s a challenge for everyone. A closed door and a “Do Not Disturb; Meeting in Progress” sign is a plus, as is a heads up to other family members about quiet times.

Keep strangers out.

  • Make sure your videoconferences are secure. Use a password or link to control access and make sure your meeting set-up is private; don’t publicly post access credentials.

While the technology and security of working remotely are well-tested, many of us are in new territory in our own work-from-home environment. With a little planning and maybe a little grace, each of us can get good at this, too.

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This publication attempts to provide timely and accurate information concerning the subjects discussed. It is furnished with the understanding that it does not provide legal or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a qualified professional should be obtained.

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