How to work from home: Keeping safe and sane while remote

My Post - 2020-03-20T122806.422.pngWith more people shunning offices because of Covid-19, here are a few tips and tricks to make the best of a remote situation

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a lot of companies, including Google and Apple, to recommend their employees work from home. Many events have been canceled, and flights to many countries now incur a 14-day quarantine.

If you find yourself stuck having to work from home (like yours truly), adapting to a new work environment comes with its perks (no commute!) and its perils, both to your online security and your sanity. Below is a list of ways to keep your remote working environment safe and secure, as well as keeping your wits about you when you’re stuck at home.

Nine ways to work from home safely and securely

1. Lock your screen when you’re taking a break

If you’re living with family or roommates, locking your screen when you leave it unattended prevents anyone from not just looking at what’s on your screen, but also snooping around your files.

You could also have a very adventurous cat that just really likes sitting on your keyboard, sending a nonsensical string of letters to your boss (whether it was intentional or not is another matter).

To lock your screen on Mac, press “Command + Shift + Q” or “Windows + L” on Windows. If you’re working outside, do not leave your devices on their own—take them with you.

2. Separate your work from your personal life online

Ideally, you’ll want to keep your work documents and communication on a work computer, and your personal browsing on a different device.

If this is not possible, create separate users or accounts to deal with the different correspondence, or, if your browser has the option, create browser compartments to separate your work and leisure in the same browser.

3. Enable two-factor authentication on your work accounts

From G Suite to social media to task management apps, you should at least be using two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your accounts with an additional one-time password. This greatly reduces the risk of someone brute-force hacking their way into your accounts to steal your personal information.

You can normally set up 2FA under the Account or Security tab of your account settings. You can take it a step further and use a hardware key like a Yubikey for additional security. While you’re at it, maybe strengthen your passwords (or randomly generate new ones) and save them in a password manager.

4. Use encrypted messaging and storage systems

You’re probably already doing this effortlessly, using encrypted software like G Suite to do most of your work online. Slack is a popular messaging tool for many companies, but bear in mind that it is not end-to-end (E2E) encrypted, and admins do have the option to spy on your slack messages. For any conversation you wish to be kept private, use an E2E encrypted messaging app. – Read more

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Technology to Support Remote Call Center Agents

My Post - 2020-03-17T102715.216.pngThe old adage holds true: Necessity is the mother of invention.

With growing concern over COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, many organizations have been forced to consider alternative operational configurations to safeguard both their employees and the integrity of their services.

With global uncertainty likely to increase, call center leaders will be tasked with the same exercise — discovering creative solutions amidst an ever-changing medical dilemma.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends social distancing and limiting close contact with others as a main precaution to prevent the spread of the illness.

Luckily, call centers are uniquely equipped for pain-free migration to at-home models with technology built to support remote contact centers.

The Benefits of an At-Home Call Center Model 

Regardless if you’re compelled to consider an at-home model due to emerging medical concerns or business-related circumstances, there are many worthwhile advantages.

Better redundancy

Thanks to the proliferation of digital connectivity, including cloud-based collaboration and process tools, at-home agent models offer high redundancy rates, which would be nearly impossible to replicate across a traditional brick-and-mortar model without breaking the bank.

A distributed team of remote agents allows for scalable failover and outage contingencies that go well beyond what’s possible from a single, localized contact center operation.

Greater talent pool

By expanding your reach beyond your corporate address, you’ll be opening the door to a community of qualified agents across secondary and tertiary locales that you would otherwise miss.

Leveraging remote agents will also allow you to optimize for other organizational priorities, offering you more flexibility beyond a proximity-fixed marketplace. Business leaders can use remote agents to: – Read more

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Use these 6 tips for better video calls while working at home

My Post - 2020-03-17T100924.569.pngCOVID-19 continues to affect our communities in a variety of ways. For many, working from home is a new reality. In response, Google has rolled out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers globally until July 1, 2020. Here are a few tips from our Head of G Suite Product Marketing on how to have productive video calls. This piece originally appeared on The Keyword.

 

In the life of a working mom or dad, flexibility is key. And in the life of a sometimes-work-from-home working mom, technology is the reason I can be flexible. Sometimes my kid gets sick, or I need a plumber to come fix the toilet. I’m lucky to have a job that lets me work remotely in an age where videoconferencing is an acceptable way of staying on track with the day’s meetings.

But videoconferencing isn’t always easy. The kids climb on you, the dog barks, there’s background noise … you get the idea. I’ve had some embarrassing moments and made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are my tips for successful videoconferencing from home.

When you’re on a call, give some thought to what’s around you, such as the backdrop.

Tip 1: Choose the right environment

When I want to talk through a complex issue or brainstorm ideas, video calls are more efficient than chat or email. They also help me get to know teammates in different time zones. But when you’re on a call, give some thought to what’s around you, such as the backdrop. Choose a plain wall, and avoid windows that will provide too much backlight. And if you’re using a laptop, put it somewhere steady. I once did an entire video call with my laptop on my, well, lap, and at the end the other participant told me that the subtle wobbling of the screen was extremely distracting.

Tip 2: Invite anyone, anytime

Videoconferencing doesn’t always have to be scheduled; if you’re in the middle of a too-long email conversation, you can instantly set up a meeting and invite people within or outside of your organization to join. Hangouts Meet automatically creates international dial-in codes so people can call on the phone from anywhere, and you can invite people via a Google Calendar event, by email, or by phone. Check out our help center to get started. – Read more

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