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Mastering teleconferencing in the 'work-from-home' era

As millions of employees continue to work from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic teleconferencing is playing an integral role in keeping many businesses afloat. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges – unexpected interruptions, technology failures and equipment malfunctions can all inhibit productivity. Learn how to prevent and deal with these nuances so you can effectively join your next Zoom or video conferencing call without disruptions.

How to prepare for video calls

Preparing for video calls

Interruptions are bound to happen, and they typically occur at the most inconvenient times. You’ll dial in to your teleconference, and just as you click unmute the lawn mower starts up just outside your window. While these sorts of things will surely arise, here are some helpful video conference tips for keeping distractions to a minimum:

 

  • Establish a video call calendar for your housemates: Establishing boundaries can help minimize distractions caused by those around you. Print out your work schedule every week and tape it outside your door to let family members or roommates know when you’ll be occupied on a call. 
  • Turn off desktop notifications: Chat and desktop notifications can also be distracting, especially if you’re the one hosting a teleconference. Make sure to mute or close your other applications prior to launching your meeting.
  • Tune out distractions with noise-cancelling headphones: What you can’t hear can’t distract you. Use noise-cancelling headphones to reduce any background noise and to minimize echoes caused from your microphone. These home office essentials can really help you focus on the task at hand.
  • Secure pets before a video conference: Between making unexpected appearances on your web conferences and barking for attention, Fido can’t always be trusted to stay quiet when you need him to. Before starting any video chat, make sure your pet is in another room.

How to increase wifi speed for better video calls

Optimize your wifi connection

Successfully working from home heavily relies on a strong wifi connection and technology. Internet traffic, limited bandwidth and slow internet can all affect your teleconferencing experience. If you’re using platforms like, Zoom, check the bandwidth requirements to help ensure you’ll have a smooth experience. If you’re short on bandwidth or slow on speed, take these steps on how to increase wifi speeds:

 

  • Turn off wifi-connected devices not in use: Wifi-enabled devices, such as tablets, phones and smart TVs can take up bandwidth. Make sure to disconnect any devices not in use during working hours and turn off any applications you may have running in the background as well.
  • Schedule downloads or large files at night: Avoid downloading music, movies or any large files or scheduling backups during prime working hours as these activities can slow your connection. Save large downloads for after work hours so you can maximize internet speeds for streaming your teleconference.
  • Monitor connections to your router: If you’re utilizing a room with a poor wifi connection as your office, consider purchasing a wifi extender or contacting your provider to add a wifi access point for a stronger, consistent connection throughout the house.
  • Upgrade your wifi: If there are multiple people working from home and using the internet in your household, you may want to consider upgrading your internet plan. Basic plans may work for light web browsing and sending emails, but you’ll want a plan that supports teleconferencing as well. Internet providers like Cox offer Panoramic wifi, which can improve your connection throughout the house.  

Practice good video conferencing etiquette

While teleconferencing is a great way for managing remote employees, connecting with coworkers and sharing valuable information, it also makes it easy to disconnect from the conversation. Practicing good etiquette every time you turn on your camera or log into a meeting can help you stay focused and connected. Good conference call etiquette includes:

 

  • Limiting side conversations: Avoid multitasking and responding to side conversations while on camera as to not look disinterested or distracted.
  • Looking professional: Be camera-ready as though you were meeting your coworkers in person. Be sure to sit up straight, dress professionally and use body language.
  • Connecting early: Try logging in early to allow time for setup and a quick equipment check.
  • Building a presentation-ready environment: Make sure to keep your workspace tidy to avoid distractions. If your video conference platform allows, use an appropriate virtual background screen to block out or blur any background clutter.

Get the speeds you need for smooth teleconferencing with wifi for high-demand households

 

Get the speeds you need for smooth teleconferencing with wifi for high-demand households

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