Audio Conferences Home Office Remote Video Conferences

Tips for Online Meetings

This was written by a colleague of mine, Katherine Ball, and shared with me. Katherine has graciously allowed me to share this on Smartly Remote.

I put together the following text to share with online meeting participants for groups I am a part of and thought others might like it as well. So, here it is…

Pointers for Meeting Online  

Virtual meetings are to be conducted like face-to-face meetings; allowing interaction during periods set aside for input, questions and answers or by raising of hands to indicate a need to interject.

Role of the Moderator  

  • The moderator’s role is to help maintain control of the virtual room by interjecting as needed.  
  • Please be patient with individuals serving this role as they may need to adjust talking points during speaker pauses and transitions and guide discussions, remind speakers to repeat questions from attendees before answering them, and/or call on people notably quiet throughout the meeting to be sure everyone has an opportunity to voice their thoughts.  

Role of Participants  

  • We strongly encourage the use of video cameras so everyone may benefit from reading non-verbal communications.
  • Try not to multi-task.
    • “Because of the interactive nature of this meeting, it would be best if we could have everyone’s undivided attention. As such, we hope you can avoid checking email or entertaining other distractions. Feel free, of course, to take notes.”
  • Avoid over-talking, miscommunication and the potential for diminished sound quality.
    • “Please mute or turn off devices.”
    • “Please speak clearly into a microphone/headset when possible.”
    • “Raise your hand in the camera, use “raise hand” features or send a message using the chat or other messaging feature of the tool (Teams, Zoom, etc.) to indicate you would like to speak.” 

Displaced Home Office Pandemic Remote

Letter to a Friend – Thriving during the COVID-19 Emergency

To my friend,

First and foremost let me give you a link to a short, humorous, and scientifically-validated video on hand-washing. Share it with everyone you know, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand what it takes to kill a virus on your hands. 🙁

This turned into quite a lot of links and info.
Please make sure to care for yourself so that you are healthy enough to help your loved ones, and thank goodness we have such an awesome community to help everyone get through this crisis!

So, here are some reliable COVID-19 tracking maps. These are also tracking recoveries and fatalities: and here:

PLEASE NOTE: There is at least one confirmed fake tracking map spreading malware, I’m sure there are more but have people be cautious about where they click. Here’s a link to the story about it:

There are also several phishing campaigns live right now that are using the Coronavirus/COVID-19 to entice people to click.
SANS actually published a whole “work-from-home deployment kit” to help organizations teach their end-users how to be safe while working from home, that’s here:

Here’s a live list of companies and organizations who are going “Remote” as well as events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19:

Here’s a map of down and outages for Internet Service Providers. Expect that there *will* be some outages and backbone slowdowns due to the unprecedented amount of traffic:

Expect to have some cell phone coverage outages as well – this is again just to be expected because of the large amount of extra traffic.

Both the company I work for and the University I teach at are using Teams to coordinate internally (lucky me). I’m not sure what’s in use for you guys and the rest of your people but here’s a link to keyboard shortcuts for Teams that can make life easier:

If you’re using Slack and/or Zoom as tools, Stanford published several helpful videos on how to transition from in-person to online meetings and collaboration effectively, that’s here:

Here’s a blog post from a local resource about transitioning to remote work:

Long time work from home company Ars Technica posted this advice:

If you’ve got people who are switching to having to use a VPN for the first time here’s an article that explains what a VPN is, what it can do, what it can’t do, goes into pretty fair detail:

If you have any folks who are extroverts working from home may be an extreme challenge for them. Here’s a blog post from another extrovert about some of the challenges they’ve experienced:

Advice for leaders and just for good team players in general – Check in with people, and talk to them about life in general, not just about work. Everyone is tense and a little scared right now and need to be able to think about something else. Ask them about their kids/pets/spouse/whatever, or tell them your latest funny pet story of your own. Give them a chance to talk, and let them know that although “social distancing” is a thing they shouldn’t feel alone. We’re all alone together out here right now. 🙂

More serious note: Most sources (local stores and online) are running low on essentials like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, rice, beans, bread. Advise people to take stock of what they have around the house and make a *safe* effort to obtain any critical supplies that they may not have. First aid equipment in case of incidents around the house is a good thing to have as well as a backstock of non-perishables. Restaurants here in Denver will continue to deliver as of now, it sounds like. Amazon has some items available online and those deliveries are continuing as well.



Just a quick welcome post as we kick off Smartly Remote. This idea came from a group of people who wanted to bring our significant collective experience in working remotely to those that might be encountering it for the very first time, either by choice or by necessity.

We will have a number of content posters on the site so we hope to bring a lot of diverse views on the topic. There will be blog posts with information on specific topics, a quick-read FAQ that will get new people started on working remotely, and a list of links to great articles we have found to help further the discussion.

Welcome, and enjoy! It’s time to work remote and do so smartly.