The sudden shift to an online work environment has forced us to work on creating our new normals. Not gonna lie, for me it’s been a little strange, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and very inconsistent. But I think it’s safe to say that one of the only consistent things in all our lives right now is Zoom.
Just a few weeks ago it seems the whole world made the unanimous decision that the solution to creating an online learning/working environment is Zoom. Since then, we’ve all been scrambling to understand it’s ins and outs.
While some of us are pro workers from home and have already familiarized ourselves with the remote conferencing app, the rest of us are failing miserably… and it’s getting embarrassing. Whether you’re hosting a Zoom meeting or sitting in as a participant, I’ve thought of a few tips for you to use to make your way around the app a bit less hectic.
1. Disable Sound Notifications On Your Mac/PC
As a symptom of quarantine you most likely are spending a lot more time chatting with your friends online to make up for the lack of social interaction.
Whether that be via video call or text messages, you might be noticing a lot more of those notifications coming into your devices. Not to mention professors have been blowing up our phones/laptops with sooo many more emails than usual.
To all the Mac/PC users out there, you can actually disable sound notifications in your settings! Because believe it or not, when you’re in a Zoom meeting with sound notifs on, other participants can unfortunately hear your incoming FaceTime call blaring through their ears.
2. Use the Share Screen Feature
If you’re fancy you may have already used the share screen feature in your meetings. This feature is great, and I could not live without it in my tutoring sessions.
Explaining/understanding concepts can be so much easier when you and your attendees are all on the same page- literally!
However, use this feature with precaution…in fact, here’s a tip within a tip: if you’re a Mac user and have your iPhone messages linked I STRONGLY encourage you to remove notifications as banners for the time being. Trust me, you don’t want your whole class or coworkers on screen share reading an incoming super personal text message.
3. Be Prepared
Just as you go to school with your backpack with all your materials inside, make sure you lay out everything you need at your setup before each meeting. And I’m not just talking paper and pencil- pull out the laptop chargers, water bottles, even gum.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in a Zoom meeting dying of thirst because I left my Hydro flask in the other room. If you’re feeling bold, keep a snack at hand to kill those quarantine cravings.
….but you should probably assess the situation before you start munching on a granola bar. Professional setting where you need your camera on? Maybe no snack. Big lecture where no one knows each other’s names and your camera is off? Definitely snack time.
4. Pay Attention to Lighting
Oh yes, lighting. While the past few sunny days here in Kansas have been beautiful and all, they have resulted in some wonky lighting situations for me in my Zoom meetings. If your setup is behind a window, especially pay notice to the sun coming in and potentially washing out your face.
Online conversation can be hard without seeing facial expressions so do your fellow attendees a favor and make sure the sun, or lack thereof, isn’t depriving them of your beautiful face during the meeting. That is, if you have no other option than to turn your camera on.
5. Use the Chat!
I love a good chat feature. Zoom offers a chat option in the toolbar which is especially useful when combating audio complications and or wanting to add something to the conversation without interrupting anyone.
But wait, there’s more- private chat messages are at your disposal too. The main reason I add this though is that it seems that most people don’t know that the private chat feature isn’t so private. In fact, the host can actually read those messages.
So make sure to think twice before you crack a couple inside jokes to your favorite person in class through the private chats because your instructor or boss is most likely reading them and judging you.
6. Be 50% Well Dressed 95% of the Time
Please take this tip with a grain of salt. Now I am in no way suggesting that you take the 50% absolutely literal- 100% of you should be fully dressed with something on (please don’t accidentally flash your meeting).
But who’s to say that your cute shirt needs to match your stained sweatpants? No one. Who cares?? NOT ME (in some cases though I do recommend getting it together and wearing matching pants).
If you’re adamant about keeping your routine and getting dressed every day in a cohesive outfit, by all means go for it, I really commend your discipline.
But I on the other hand cannot relate- maybe one day I’ll get there. No one knows how long we’re gonna be stuck working from home, but I do know that I will reap the benefits as much as I can and for me it means I will not be wearing jeans for a very long time. Daytime pajamas to night time pajamas alllll the way. :)