How to work online with your team and customers
You’ve been told to work from home…now what?
Managing work from home
Distractions will be the new norm. Especially with all the news about COVID-19. It will be hard to focus. This is being referred to as THE FIRST WAVE. Our goal is to prepare you for the SECOND and THIRD WAVES. Here is a great blog by Rand Fishkin that puts things in perspective about how to handle your marketing and emerge as a thought leader. NOW is the time to prepare your business for when we emerge. It’s well-worth the read. https://sparktoro.com/blog/marketing-right-now-is-hard/
You’re probably having to navigate the world of conferencing software, calls that you don’t want to make from your home phone or cell phone, and probably some free time that you didn’t count on.
We’re going to tackle these issues one at a time and give you some examples of software that will make your life easier, and some tips on what you can do for your company in between teleconferences.
If you have a G-Suite account, you have a number of options. Google has extended free options on some of its normally paid services. As long as you have a G-Suite account, you can now host meetings of up to 250 participants per call with Hangouts. The G-Suite version of Hangouts has a chat and a meet service. The chat option can host a number of people in what’s called “chat rooms”. So you can have group chats and all respond real-time instead of having to use email. For video conferencing, there’s no better tool in my opinion, than Google Meet. We have included instructions for how to use the various components of Hangouts in the link below.
Make sure you use a headset when talking on your computer to avoid feedback and outside noises. It will also deliver better sound quality if you’re in a room with an echo.
Think about the light source on your face. You want your face to be lit up, and have minimal light in the background. If you have a light (that’s not too yellow) that you can put behind your screen to light up your face, that will work. Or if you have a laptop, sit in front of a window because natural light is always best.
Mute your microphone when someone else is presenting, it will cut down on background noise and distractions.
I also recommend using a little sliding cover for your webcam. I prefer to cover it when I’m not using it, and a sliding cover is more convenient than peeling back tape every time you want to use it. Make sure you clean your camera lense on your laptop or mobile phone.
News From Google:
Starting this week, we will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including:
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
These features are typically available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite and in G Suite Enterprise for Education, and will be available at no additional cost to all customers until July 1, 2020. If you need help getting started, please visit our learning center page or follow the instructions outlined in our message to G Suite admins.
Making work phone calls from home
If you don’t want to use your home phone or mobile phone for business, consider getting a Google Voice number. It’s free. Go to voice.google.com for more information.
The first thing I recommend is use “Time Blocking”. Since I work remotely from home ordinarily, I have used this method for years to help me focus on work, and not all the distractions around me. Of course try to use a separate room for work, where you are less likely to be disturbed. But there are usually other distractions calling your name. If you time block using your Google Calendar you can focus on one thing at a time. I generally set aside time for answering emails, then focusing on production work, then making and returning phone calls.
For tracking my billable time for clients, I use and app called myhours.com. You can sign up for a free account which should be plenty, unless you need their more robust features.
What Can You Do For Your Business While Working From Home?
We are suggesting to our clients that they work on their marketing while sequestered. You can make those videos that you’ve been putting off. All you need is a steady mobile phone and a decent background. We have some good information on making your own videos. Remember, this is not a substitute for hiring a professional videographer, these are for the videos that you would ordinarily shoot yourself, but haven’t had the time. These are the “how to” videos, or the “introduction” videos. You can also shoot some fun videos that help your customers get to know you, so when they’re ready to buy, you are top-of-mind. If you’re looking for a professional Video Marketing Service, we recommend using Ideal Impact Media. They also have some useful tips on video marketing.
You know that content we’re always pestering you for? Well now is a great time to write it all down. Sit in front of your computer and just write. Write about how you got started, think of every question a client or patient has ever asked you, write about all the services you offer and why they’re important, why should your clients use you, what sets you apart from your competition, how is your product made, what is your expertise and background, write about the area that you’re located in, write about systems you have in place to weather the storm so that your customers have confidence that you’ll still be around.
These are just some of the topics. Also, go to the pages of your competitors and look at the kind of material they have on their websites. Of course you can’t copy it, but it may give you ideas on what to write about.
The bottom line is, think of everything you’ve ever wanted to do to promote your business but haven’t had time, and do that.
Here are some great links from Google that can help you manage these uncertain times.
Google’s Tips for Working From Home – Make sure you look at all the additional cards at the bottom under “related stories”.
- Helping educators and students stay connected
- Helping businesses and schools stay connected in response to Coronavirus
Resources to Help Your Small Business Manage Through Uncertainty – This doc has links for all and “to-do” lists for all the items that businesses need to get done when changing their work habits.
Work, Teach and Learn From Anywhere – This page has lots of links to videos explaining how to use tools that can help you. Including how to schedule, prepare for, and run a successful meeting.
We hope that these links and tips will help you successfully make this transition from work to home. If you need more resources, please contact us at (321) 238-8225.