Tag Archives: WFH

Zoom Meetings and Your Virtual Office Set Up.


zoom meetings

Zoom meetings can be a magnificent tool for working from home, but you will need a deft hand to get the most out of it. Your home office can offer you just as much control over your virtual meetings as a co-working space, and it can make a big difference in how much you get done and how well you can collaborate with your colleagues. It can also be an effective tool for a virtual manager. so if you never set up a Zoom account now is the time to start.  It is easy if you follow this simple guide.

Action 1: Create a Zoom account– it’s free to sign up! Either way, it takes less than a minute to sign up for a Zoom account.

Zoom Basic: This is the free variation. If you’re the meeting host), Great for 1:1 unrestricted video calling and group calls (40-minute time limit. You likewise get endless direct and group messaging abilities with Zoom Chat.
Zoom Pro: For $14.99/ month, you get all of Basic plus enhanced admin controls on your conferences, in addition to cloud recording. Compare plans and rates to find out the best one for you.
Step 2: Download the Zoom Meetings software on your desktop and mobile. You can discover that on the Zoom download centre. From there, simply check-in, and you’re good to go!

What Setup Do you Really Need For Zoom Meetings?

Your laptop computer (Mac or PC) will likely have an integrated camera and audio, but it makes a huge difference in the experience for you and others in the conference when you have a quality webcam and a great microphone.

To be your finest self on cam, we advise getting a Logitech Brio webcam and a set of Airpods (although they are pricey). Even a pair of wired mic-enabled headphones can go a long way.  To even improve your appearance on Zoom meetings you can get some cosmetic surgery tweaks – tweakments as they are referred to – so even in close up your wrinkles remain hidden. You can also enable “Touch up my appearance” to remove some of the wear and tear of lockdown. This capability can be enabled via your Zoom setting.  It is of course, easier and cheaper than a trip to Harley St or your local Botox clinic.

Virgin? BT? Talk Talk?

Normally, home internet isn’t as robust as your office network. Rest ensured, though, that Zoom is enhanced for efficiency and is known to work excellent at home, in cafes, and on your mobile network.

When you’re all set up with the software application, the setup, and your web, go to www.zoom.us/test to evaluate your audio and video. You’ll sign up with a quick test conference to help get your communication settings all rectified. I have used Zoom successfully on a fast Virgin fibre connection and also on a portable Simcard powered modem in the heart of the countryside, it all worked fine.  Zoom is designed to prioritise your audio over your video output so you will always be heard.

Hide your kitchen cupboards with a tropical garden.

Zoom Background Image

Zoom Background Image

Uploading a good background or video will help you hide background mess and other visual interruptions, specifically for those who may work out of a spare bedroom, have an inquisitive pet who follows you around or wish to keep their domestic circumstances private in a cool way.

A useful tip is to stay on mute in large meetings just in case the Amazon guy rings your doorbell rings my doorbell or Dominos Pizzas are running early. Holding the spacebar to unmute to make a quick comment makes it so much simpler to manage your audio. You will find this handy option in all Zoom plans.

Integrate your calendar

Many of us use Gmail so I’m going to go through that specific workflow, but you can find more on calendar integration here if you use Office 365 or Exchange.

No matter how comfortable your home office is, there will be days when you just don’t feel motivated to work. You may find yourself procrastinating or just staring at the computer screen, instead of doing what needs to be done. On days like that, you can also toggle your Zoom Chat status to busy so you can give yourself a bit of much-needed me-time.  When you are using Hold Everything to answer your business phone call you are always available to clients and colleagues and you can structure your working day as it suits you best.


Is Work From Home WFH an Illusion of ‘The Real Thing’?

WFH working from home

Work from home

You have probably noticed all the major corporations promoting their WFH schemes as if they had discovered the mystery of the universe, it is interesting to step back a moment and see what it means.  Here, at Hold Everything, we know all about working from home but from the perspective of small businesses and independent-minded freelancers.  Most company employees are not Working From Home. as a clever Flexi policy  (#WFH) they are trapped in their homes working for the same corporation in the context of a pandemic.

It makes me chuckle that right now companies are patting themselves on the backs for ‘opening the floodgates’ to flexibility when really they had no choice but to release everyone into their homes. If they didn’t Zoom in over the last eight months, they’d have had to shut down.  I came across a very interesting report by Sir Robert McAlpine and social change agency Claremont entitled ‘Forever Flex: Flexible working beyond a pandemic’.  What the report found was that  2020 is not the time to hail a flexible working revolution because people are burning out by always being ‘on’. We’re in a period of ‘fake flex’ where employees are competing to prove their worth by logging on 24/7 and in turn, aren’t taking a break, resulting in them breaking.


So whilst corporate employees suddenly see themselves in the same universe as ‘true freelancers’ they are, in reality, poles apart. They are not actually ‘digital nomads’ strolling on some Indonesian beach with a laptop in a canvas bag.  They are just corporate fodder tied to their own home waiting for the next Zoom request from their line managers. It might well be, that these WFH corporate employees will eventually morph into true freelancers/consultants and independent businessmen because of redundancy or general corporate cutbacks.   When this happens, and the apron strings that have tied them to the big banks and consultancies are finally cut, they will take advantage of what a virtual office can offer them.   It is only then that they will see the real benefits of #WFH by setting a genuine flexible life/work schedule without having to be grateful for every crumb of head office support allocated to them as they sit in their cramped kitchens.

During the COVID-19 year, we have had a stream of new clients come to us who are seeking the true ‘sunny uplands’ that working for yourself can bring.   So let’s not confuse being outsourced to your own home by corporate necessity and choosing an independent life supported by companies like Hold Everything.

Top Qualities to Build Your Business.

business success

Build Your Business.

As in all aspects of life, there are five essential ingredients for success: passion, enthusiasm, optimism, inner strength, and perseverance.  So in a post-Covid world what qualities will help us succeed as entrepreneurs?  The last 9 months have made many of us reassess our work and our business direction.  Like many who use Hold Everything, you are probably working from home building a business.  Perhaps you have been nudged on the freelance path by redundancy or a major shift in the way your industry operates.  But whatever the reason is that brings you to our door we want to help you succeed in building your business quickly and efficiently.   As you know, we do all the heavy lifting for you by answering your calls, sorting and forwarding your mail and generally providing a backbone of essential office services for you.   But what are the qualities that you need to focus on to build your business when you are working from home?

After working with thousands of successful entrepreneurs I can say that the characteristics that have stood out are:

Clear goals. They are extremely precise regarding the objectives to be achieved; They spend a lot of time designing their purpose and adjusting anything that throws them off course. They permanently evaluate their performance, not comparing themselves with others, but with themselves. They have a high standard of excellence in everything they do.

Build Your Business.

A positive self-image is very important.

Positive self-image. Self-image is the internal representation of who you are and what you want when you look in the mirror each morning. Winning-minded people can see beyond, they know how to self-observe in-depth, enhance the good and improve what they still lack. They know that there are always new skills to be learnt, be it a new language or mastering a new software product. You understand that each extra skill will help build your business.

Self-confidence. Winners trust themselves and their potential. They tend to have a high tolerance for frustration, disappointment and failure, from which they recover quickly. They are aware of how others relate to them whether as a business partner or as a competitor.

Self-determination. They are permanently affirmed in their strength and not in their weaknesses. They do not victimize themselves and go to the front without neglecting that there may be others who find it difficult to keep up. They are also skilled and quick in decision-making, they do not procrastinate for days over every tiny detail.  They have unusual speed in processing a lot of scattered information.  They can see how various factors would fit together in the changing business landscape can affect their situation whether from a legal or accountancy or a fulfilment perspective.

Self-discipline. When they commit, they go deep. They always act in direction to achieve what they seek. They are determined and rarely hesitate to define crucial issues. They have a good relationship with the risk/opportunity factor. They are usually ordered, or surround themselves with people who help them in their high performance, to focus in that case on what gives them the most pleasure and what they do best.

There are of course other important things to consider in developing a winning mindset and build your business, such as keeping a close eye on costs and seeking value from your budget.  But then, as a client of Hold Everything you are already exhibiting these qualities by choosing to avoid the expenses of a rented office and full-time staff.  Business development is always an ongoing process but by having the team at Hold Everything working on your behalf you can be the entrepreneur you always dreamt of becoming.

Digital Transformation and Why a Virtual Office is the ‘New Normal’.

digital transformation

digital transformation

I have noticed a clever meme floating around on social media this month – “who spearheaded your company’s digital transformation?” Answer “Covid-19”.   Yes, it’s undoubtedly true that when things have settled enough for us to look back on the disruption of 2020 we will see Covid-19 being the catalyst we had been waiting for to rationalise the way we work and let office practise catch up with digital reality.  Indeed, experts had warned against the false sense of security many companies had that the warmer weather and the general easing of restrib=ctions would return us to a landscape not wholly different from what we had known in the past.

Without a vaccine readily available, many organizations are continuing to encourage their workers to work remotely. In July, Google became the first major organization to formally extend its work-from-home policy until summer 2021. Other large organizations such as the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, and Japanese technology company Fujitsu took a further step in their digital transformation by announcing “indefinite”  flexible and remote working policies for their employees.

Socially distanced work, a novelty only four months ago, has now become the “new normal.”  But are countries prepared to make near-term improvements and plan investments for the longer-term, beyond the immediate crisis?  And where do they start?  This is a macro policy consideration but it is important to think about.  In order to have a Work From Home (WFH) new normal we need certain structural elements in place.  Not all countries are equal in meeting the challenge.

A study by Harvard Business School shows that America (of course!!!) is well equipped for the challenge as is the UK.  But many other European countries do not have a reliable enough digital framework to support a distance-working economy. For business leaders, it raises new possibilities for recruiting and hiring new and diverse talent. Unbound by the constraints of physical headquarters or office locations, executives are free to hire talent in new locations, provided that adequate network infrastructure exists for remote working. This enables companies to recruit and manage staff well outside their normal base of operation.  There is a vast pool of talent sitting around on short term recruitment platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr and now, People Per Hour.   This influx of new overseas talent means that UK freelancers must work ever more efficiently to compete and thrive in our new world order of digital transformation.

digital transformation freelance

Having an efficient virtual office based in the centre of London helps make this possible and gives a big tactical advantage to small businesses and freelancers working from home.  Being able to get your phone calls answered professionally by British staff and mail forwarded through the fastest UK mail channels gives a huge advantage which will be more apparent as the working world changes.   This is a good moment to talk with the team at Hold Everything on London’s Regent Street.   We have been preparing for this enormous paradigm shift for the last 30 years.  We knew it had to happen eventually, commercial properties are expensive to rent and very wasteful on space and resources.  Employing full-time staff to answer 20 phone calls a day is an anachronism, it only makes sense to pay for what you actually need.   We can show you how you can boost your business or freelance profile and save money doing so.   Forwarding mail and answering your phone is just a small part of what is entailed in a virtual office.   We can help you, from company formation to your IPO, We want to help you make sense of Post Covid-19 business.

Working From Home Will Establish a Different Kind of Business Landscape.

home working
working from home

London, Frankfurt, Paris, New York,  each of these huge global cities are related in that they are major nerve centres of creativity. These cities started to buzz for a reason: vital business meetings of national importance were taking place, Business owners and idea makers were putting their heads together to invent exciting new technologies, and go-getters met over flaming sambuca’s and expresso coffees to discuss startup ideas.  Now we all seem to be working from home in social isolation.

The physical setting really did matter; the bricks and mortar of a downtown office block and the in-person interaction that comes with that. Yet, in a step toward making distant work a lasting future, Facebook and Google, for example, told their staffs that they can work from home until July 2021. We know that the nature of jobs has changed into ‘digital by default’ so this is the result we might reasonably expect.

Indeed, a study by Google on distance workers found “no difference in the effectiveness, productivity ratings or promotions for individuals and teams whose work requires teamwork with coworkers around the world versus ‘Googlers’ who spend the majority of their daily collaborating with colleagues in the same office.”.

Nevertheless, some people might justifiably claim that staff working from home could potentially hinder product development and innovation. Tyler Cowen writing in Bloomberg said that “Even as tech companies grow more essential, the geographic distribution of company activity will also make them less unique. They’ll start to resemble a typical cross-section of the workforce, with all of the routines and bureaucracy that most other companies experience. They’ll have less fire in the belly to disrupt and overturn previous institutions.”

This is not a completely new trend. IBM, the pioneer of teleworking, eliminated nearly all of its office work years ago, and then released a report entitled “Challenging the modern myths of remote working, the evidence for the upside of teleworking.” Back in 2014, they boasted about their innovative modern business model with over 45 per cent of their employees working from home. But one also has to consider that WFH on a large scale can destroy the innovation hubs that have popped up in places like silicon valley or Shoreditch in East London.

silicon valley

Offices have been discarded for Discord Servers, Zoom, Slack Channels and the like. Over the last few months, multiple news sources have confirmed that people are forsaking from cities towards urban and rural areas. Could this Covid-19 pandemic really decentralize tech opportunities out of just a few hotspots, such as London and New York?.

These developments have huge ramifications for the global innovation landscape as a whole.  Here at hold Everything we see the future being mapped out before our eyes.  Large office suites are being rationalised into more compact meeting areas with employees working out from their homes.  The sprawling office of the past has turned into an agile set of services, call answering, mail forwarding and meeting rooms by the hour.

Nevertheless, to say that working from home will mark the end of innovation is an exaggeration. As per Raconteur and Professor Bernd Irlenbusch, who co-led a study titled Innovation and communication media in virtual teams: an experimental study, by the University of Cologne and Leibniz University Hannover, “Previous research has shown that creative performance is significantly lower when there is no face-to-face communication. However, the current lockdown has fostered the adoption of new technologies to conduct collaborative tasks when team members work from home. Video conferencing can mitigate the gap in creative performance.”.

virtual work

We will work remotely but human contact is part of our human makeup and we will need to set up new routines with augmented reality (such as social online meetings) that can be put in place to foster collaboration and more human-like meetings instead of solely relying on cold, unemotional Zoom meetings.

The most important takeaway that emerges is that working from home means that a new species of entrepreneur has emerged, and those who adapt quickest will be best-suited moving forward.  Hold Everything will be there to help with our fully serviced, totally agile, virtual office.