Working Remotely - Video Conferencing

Social Distancing for Your Online Life

We have been working hard on getting the Mula Platform ready for you, but until we release it, we’d like to share a few tips for safely working remotely.

We’re all adjusting to life during COVID-19. We’re figuring out how to get our groceries. We’re social distancing. And for a lot of us, we’re working from home. 

However, this is also forcing us to confront the uncomfortable reality that the products we’re trusting with our data might not be all that benevolent. 

We here at Mula would like to share a few options we use to work remotely safely.

Video Conferencing

One of the biggest struggles of working remotely is a distinct lack of coworkers. 

We might find it annoying to have a coworker dropping by your cubicle when we’re under a deadline, but we sure miss it when there’s no one to chat with while getting a coffee. 

We’re a close-knit team, so we try to check in with each other once a day via message or telephone, but sometimes, you need to see someone else.

Enter video conferencing… but before we talk about that, let’s go over a few tips for video conferencing etiquette.

  1. Be prepared: Before the meeting starts, make sure you’re in a quiet place, your connection is strong, and you’re connected to the meeting. No one likes to spend the first ten minutes of the meeting, waiting for Alice to get to a quiet place or trying to get Bob to connect his audio.

  2. Be visible: Remember that video is a visual medium. Dress appropriately. Sit at a desk (or your dining room table). Make sure your lighting is good. Watch your body language. Keep in mind that some meetings are recorded - you don’t want that eye roll to live forever in the company archives. 

  3. Be polite: Introduce yourself when you enter. Say goodbye when you leave. If you arrive late, do so silently. Be prepared to give a brief introduction if necessary; this should be your name, your title, no more than three brief highlights of your career. Try to keep it under one minute. If people are interested to know more, they’ll look up your LinkedIn, Viadeo, or Maimai.

  4. Be quiet: Unless you are speaking, use the mute function. People quickly get used to the delay in responding, and it’s much better than hearing your family discuss personal details in the background.

  5. Be professional: Treat video conferencing like a meeting with clients. Have your portion of the meeting ready. Stay on topic. Ask relevant questions. Don’t eat. Take notes.

We took an informal poll to find out which video conferencing services our colleagues used, either privately or professionally. Initially, we were going to talk about Zoom and how to avoid being Zoom-bombed

We were super-pumped because Canva had introduced custom backgrounds for Zoom. But, it was recently discovered that Zoom shared certain details with Facebook

We think our feelings about Facebook are pretty well known, so we’ll leave it up to you if you want to explore that option.

Skype was a popular choice for keeping up with friends and family. Skype-to-Skype calls and file transfers are encrypted. However, outside connections are not encrypted on the outside caller’s side. 

As Skype keeps a history of your messages, it’s essential to use a strong password for this site.

This also prevents a hacker from using your account to contact your friends and family to ask for money.

Don’t accept connection requests from people that you don’t know. Disable auto-download of photos in the settings (Settings -> Messaging -> Auto-download photos). Disable answer incoming calls automatically (Settings -> Calling -> Advanced -> Answer incoming calls automatically).

With its light and intuitive interface, Wire is rapidly gaining ground with our colleagues. It does not have a freemium version, but it does have a 30-day free trial period. With plans starting at $4/month, it might be worth investigating for smaller businesses needing audio conferencing, video conferencing and secure file transfers.

Did we mention that Edward Snowden recommends Wire?

Professionally, Microsoft Teams topped the list. Due to the steep learning curve, this is not the program you’ll be using with your Nan, but for a small enterprise, Microsoft Teams freemium version might just fit the bill.

Microsoft Teams video conferencing has some pretty cool features like Live Captions. Still, a favourite amongst our staff is the blurred background feature. This means you don’t have to keep your back to the wall to prevent your colleagues from seeing your housemate walking around in his unicorn onesie. 

Now it’s your turn. 

Do you have a favourite video conferencing program? 

Do you have tips or tricks for one of the video conferencing programs mentioned above?

Join the conversation on Twitter with $ZeU and #videoconferencing.

Our flagship product, the Mula Platform, is in development with MulaMail currently in beta testing.  

We will never mine your emails, and you will be the only person with access and knowledge of your private encryption key.

Register your username today by clicking here, and be one of the first users of MulaMail when it is released to the public.