The recent government changes because of coronavirus (COVID-19) have significantly impacted how we live and work. And while these precautions may be temporary, they are changing our daily lives and adding challenges we wouldn’t have dreamt we’d be facing even just a week ago.
While some industries are forcing early closures or overall halts to business, there are others that can continue with a few adjustments to work life. Working from home until further notice is a policy many companies — including Kuno — have adopted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
It’s both a challenge and a privilege to work from home. The downsides include blurred lines between work and home life. And if you’re a working mom or dad, managing work responsibilities while also dealing with another new reality as schools close their doors for an uncertain amount of time takes the challenge to another level.
Home life is not always the most conducive work environment, but luckily a lot of business can still be successfully conducted through email, work chats and conference calls. Email and chat can be done effortlessly, but if you’ve got a barking dog, restless children and a house full of background noise, you’re going to need a plan to get through conference calls over these next few weeks.
We’ve got some tips to help you power through and hold efficient conference calls with your clients and your coworkers, even in a bustling household.
Given the global impact the coronavirus is having these days, hardly anyone will be surprised to learn you’re working from home. That said, when you do get on a call with a client, customer or partner, let them know right away about your working situation. This may foster your connection with them, as they may be facing a similar setup themselves and could even prompt a funny story or two. While they will likely be understanding, be sure to maintain professionalism as much as possible.
If possible, choose a spot in your house with a door, so you can close yourself off at particularly noisy parts of the day. When on a conference call, take into consideration what will be shown in the background on your camera.
Clear away any household items that could distract others and avoid light in your direct background that could come off as too bright on camera.
Many of us have home offices, and have even worked from home before the coronavirus pandemic. But if you’re finding yourself working from home for the first time and turning your home into a makeshift office, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need — and try to keep away anything you don’t need — during your workday in your new workspace.
Just as you would for a meeting in your office, make sure you have the tools needed to conduct and participate in your conference call meeting. Round up your headphones, notepad and pen, make sure your camera is working, and have any windows open on your computer that you’ll need during the call.
This also includes letting others in your household know when you’ll be having a meeting and need the extra quiet time. If you have children, try to set them up with an activity or another adult in your home to occupy them while you’re on your call. Close your door to reduce outside noise and, if need be, mute yourself when you are not talking during the meeting.
Some of you may not be used to working from your home and, therefore, not as adept with the conferencing technology. Whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting or some other web service, take some time before your meeting to understand how to turn your camera on, share your screen, use the microphone and mute yourself.
If you’re unfamiliar with the meeting software, have a practice meeting with a friend or colleague before a real one with customers, prospects and the like to familiarize yourself with the features and find the ones you’ll need most.
Whether they’re in-person or virtual, meetings of any kind run the risk of getting off-topic. Start your meeting by reminding all attendees of the purpose of the call, how much time you’ve all dedicated to meeting and providing an agenda of all that needs to be covered in that time.
The lack of face-to-face interaction when you’re used to having that can prompt some to spend too much time on small talk, so make sure you keep everyone on task. To help with this, double-check your invite before sending it out and only invite those who are most critical to the conversation, and plan to fill in others when necessary.
Working from home, even if you’re used to doing it on occasion, as a new full-time reality will be tough. You will start to recognize the small things you don’t have anymore, in particular the regular human interaction with others. Take time to call colleagues when possible, rather than chatting or emailing. When you do, make sure to ask how they’re doing. Making a little bit of time for that human connection can really help you get through your day.
Here are a few more quick tips you can take with you into your conference calls to make them successful:
This time period will pass, and we will get through it together. It will take some adjustments, but with a little understanding and patience on all sides, you can still conduct business successfully.