Whether you are a “work from home” veteran, or are new to working from home, most of us are not used to working from home five days a week, with our families also at home. The situation we’re faced with now is extremely stressful – whether you are successfully working from home or struggling to balance work, home schooling, and work/life balance. We’ve compiled some tips and tools to help you.
Tools for Collaborating with your Team
- First, a little fun. Kahoot lets you create live trivia competitions or quizzes for your team or customers and lets them play at the same time. Give them a shot at earning bragging rights. Test their knowledge on your product! There are more serious ways to use Kahoot (e-learning), but it’s worth trying some fun activities beyond a Zoom happy hour.
- Want to have a brainstorming session? Run a workshop? Klaxoon has several options for virtual collaboration. They are also offering a free, three-month trial.
- Do you miss your whiteboarding sessions with your team? Check out Miro, an online collaborative whiteboard platform.
- We know our Planning Analytics, TM1, and Adaptive Insights clients understand the importance of visualization. This tool is for you! Mural is a digital workspace for visual collaboration.
Advice for Managing Work Stress
How many Zoom calls are you on? Probably more than you want. You might be suffering from “Zoom fatigue.” Harvard Business Review has five tips for How to Combat Zoom Fatigue.
How’s your brain doing? Are you getting enough sleep to enable your brain to function properly? Dr. Tara Swart, a neuroscientist, medical doctor, executive advisor and faculty member at MIT Sloan School of Management, has some great resources for executives, including:
- 5 Brain Health Habits for Better Leadership
- 12 Minutes of Mindfulness a Day
- Why your Brain Needs Sleep
How are you doing at managing yourself? In Do you Have a Life Outside of Work, author Rob Cross recommends:
- Shift just one activity to create diverse purpose-generating interactions.
- Be intentional in small moments.
- Boldly lean into times of transition.
Exercise & Activities
You’ve probably heard the advice to get outside and go for a walk each day. You might be missing the gym. Or you might be trying to figure out what to do with some rambunctious kids.
- Many of us are familiar with Eventbrite for finding in-person events. They are also a source for virtual events – and many of them are free.
- The Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts has put together a range of virtual programming. For example, they offer “say hello to barnyard animals” for preschoolers. Become a virtual coastal explorer for elementary schoolers, art classes for middle and high schoolers, and adult programming that includes gardening, local history, and touring the organization’s galleries and properties.
- The New York Botanical Gardens is offering NYBG at Home. You can see spring unfold, take virtual tours, join in on virtual happy hours, and more. They also offer online classes for kids and adults.
- If your kids are missing out on gym class, Joe Wick has some tips and an online workout for kids, “P.E. with Joe.” NPR interviewed Joe for his fitness tips during isolation. He live-streams his workouts on The Body Coach TV.
- The largest public rowing club in the U.S., Community Rowing, is offering free workouts and other resources. CRI Upstream has recorded rowing workouts, scheduled virtual yoga and conditioning classes, self-guided workouts, nutrition webinars, and more.
Fun Backgrounds for Virtual Meetings
There are plenty of options for fun/different/unique backgrounds for virtual meetings. Google “cool Zoom backgrounds” and you can find everything from TigerKing to The Simpsons. Here are some we like:
- The BBC released The joy of sets, a collection of 100 empty sets from BBC shows.
- Tom’s Guide offers a range of backgrounds – Star Wars, Friends, Game of Thrones, but also some more business-appropriate ones, like a conference room and a name placard.
- You can also use any image as a background.
Some video conference platforms require you to have a “green screen”. Green screen simply entails having a solid color background behind you. Green is recommended, but any color works. Here are some options:
- You can either use a standard bed sheet or you can purchase something that is clearly green.
- You can tape/clip it to the wall behind you or build a stand. If you are not inclined to build a stand… Here are some videos on how to do this on YouTube.
- You can purchase a green sheet and stand from somewhere like Amazon. The prices vary but scroll through the options for the most economical option.
- Once you have your green screen set up, all you must do is access the image you want on your computer when you are in a video conferencing platform that supports changing your background image.
- Learn how to change virtual backgrounds (and more!) on different video conferencing platforms. There are also third party add-on tools to help you change your backgrounds on Webex and GoToMeeting.
- 7 Zoom Meeting Tips Every Use Should Know!
- How to Change your Background on Skype 2020
- Microsoft Teams – Add your own Image as a Custom Background
We hope you are managing well in this time of stress. Feel free to share your tips with us!