Tag Archives: work from home

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.

 

Why a Virtual Office Address is Such a Good Idea in 2021

virtual office address

virtual office address

If you are a regular visitor to our blog then the concept of a ‘virtual office address’ is nothing new to you.  Maybe you are already a client benefitting from our virtual office services. But, for those who are new to the concept let me explain what a virtual office is and why it could be a perfect solution for starting your own business, especially in uncertain times.

Virtual offices are a relatively new addition to the office services industry. They are conceptually similar to traditional business centres, but they are generally more flexible in terms of the services they offer and the amount of space they occupy. Briefly, a virtual office is a shared workspace that is usually run by a professional management service but is often staffed by a receptionist, who will answer the phone and provide other basic services. The client can get meeting room facilities, which they can book by the hour or day. Some virtual offices offer additional services, printing facilities, and secretarial support, while others provide only the basics.

For entrepreneurs who have been building their business from home, a virtual office can serve as that first step towards getting established in a physical space – but without the commitment of renting an actual desk or room in an office building.

So, if you’re looking to give your business a more professional image but aren’t ready to move into an office, a virtual office is a more flexible, much cheaper alternative to taking that leap.

Similarly, if you’re already working in an office but are finding it to be too much of a strain on your time and purse strings (we all know that start-ups have to use their resources carefully), a virtual office could be a better compromise for you.

Whilst in a big city like London there are many virtual office address providers, you need to look a bit beneath the surface to choose the optimum solution for your business venture.  The #1 criterion is the address. This is what labels your company to any supplier or potential customer. Having a prestigious business address is the most important thing for your brand especially if it is fresh out of the box. A suburban home address does not inspire confidence and it also risks exposing your personal details online to all and sundry.  Every successful entrepreneur knows how important it is to set clear boundaries between work and personal life.   This is where a virtual office address really comes in handy since any mail that is sent to the office address is conveniently forwarded to your private address. Indeed, mail forwarding is one of our many ‘superpowers’.  Your clients and suppliers see your office location and it reassures them as to your credibility and business standing.

When you choose a virtual office package from Hold Everything you are demonstrating that concept of traditional office space traditional is outmoded and an unnecessary business cost.  You do not actually need physical office space to proudly put Regent Street on your business card.  We can also provide you with a designated telephone number and make sure that your business calls are dealt with by our professional phone answering team.

If you need a meeting space, we can provide you with a fully furnished, equipped board room on an hourly or daily basis. So if this sounds like a great business plan for you, then do be in touch and join the many business owners who have used our services over the last 40 years.

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.

wfh

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.

Your Work-From-Home Setup – Time To Smarten Up Your Act.

work-from-home

work form home

All the indications are that work-from-home will be around for a lot longer than we expected when we first entered COVID lockdown mode. Michael Gove and the rest of the cabinet team want us to work at home if we can to help contain the virus.  The emphasis seems to be on ‘home’ bit of ‘work from home’  they are not recommending using a shared office like ‘We Work ‘ as a convenient compromise.    Indeed the shared office space boom is becoming a victim of the pandemic along with many other old-style work patterns.   Sharing office space with a dozen other freelancers is not any healthier than trudging into a Canary Wharf office suite.  The We Work business model has taken a bad bruising and rents are not being paid on time.  20% of We Work’s office space in New York – its biggest market – is empty and not showing any signs of improving.

It seems obvious to me and many other business pundits that the optimum solution is to perform the actual work from your physical home but the combine this with a fully functional ‘Virtual office‘.  So if we are going to work from our home we need to make the workspace as efficient and as comfortable as we can.  So where should you be investing your attention and your money in bringing your home office up to speed?

Here are some essential items that will give your work-from-home set up an ergonomic and, of course, aesthetic upgrade.

1| L-Shaped Desk

Your desk is the centre of your dedicated work station, and a quality work table will do wonders for your work-from-home productivity. Finding the best desk depends on the space, budget, and personal preference, but one type of desk I highly recommend is an L-shaped desk. It’s big enough to handle a PC, laptop, notebooks, printer, and plenty more besides.

2| Luxury Chair Makes Work-From-Home a Pleasure

Eames office chair – a classic.

The chair is everything. Sitting on a Monoblock for 12 hours a day might just give you scoliosis, so give yourself a break and invest in one very comfy and very luxurious wheely chair. It might hurt your wallet, but at least it won’t hurt your back. Don’t just grab the first chair you find at Rymans or Ikea search around for something stylish. Perhaps a classic Eames office chair that you see in many office film sets?  It’s a classic in design and very comfortable.   If your sitting position is important ten maybe visit a specialist back chair shop and try what is most comfortable for you.  Remember, you are your own human resources department. When you work-from-home you decide your own office style and function.

3| Wide Monitor – Keep Multiple Projects on the Go. 

samsung wide moonitir

The power of a big monitor is underrated. Even if it isn’t hooked up to a PC and just an extension of your laptop screen, having a wide view of all your tasks and windows can make you feel as if you’re on top of the situation.  Samsung, LG and all the usual culprits will sell you something to dazzle your family and friends and work on several projects at once.

4| Sleek Keyboard

Logitech K780

Go for something sleek with a good clunky feel to the keys so that you feel a satisfying click as you work.  In my experience, the keyboards that come as part of a PC deal are cheaply made and not ergonomic.  Visit the big retailers like Curry’s or PC world that have a good selection of keyboards or the tech department of Selfridge or John lewis will let you see what are available at different price points.

5| Soft Light For Bright ideas

philips hue lighting

Bad lighting can make your headache worse, and you don’t need that to happen if you’re already sitting in front of a computer screen half the day. Soft light is the answer to your troubles. It’s bright enough to do the job, but not strong enough to glare into your eyes when you’re feeling drowsy.  Maybe this is the time to check out the Philips lighting system that you can control to get exactly the hue and power to suit your needs when you work-from-home.

6| Docking station

A really good docking station from Kensington

Too many wires and plugs all over the place can affect your focus and therefore your productivity. Clean up your connectivity with a simple docking station that does the job of getting rid of clutter.  If you use a Macbook for example, there are some very slick docking stations you can hook into to free up space and give you extra USB points.  Browse online to find the best docking station for your type of computer and then do a price comparison to get a good deal..  But, you already know this, you are an entrepreneur which is why you are following our blog.

Be your own Barista

work-from-home

 

You can make your work-from-home cup of coffee as stylish as any top coffee lounge in London by buying a good quality coffee maker.  You can grab a capsule system from Amazon or visit a specialist barista supply shop if you really value your morning cappuccino.   Pair the coffee with a few chocolate beans or a cantucci for a better than Cafe Nero experience.

If you allow yourself the finest in home office equipment then you will match the high-quality equipment and services we use to work efficiently as your virtual office.