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Our Favorite Communication Platforms and How to Use Them

Communication Platforms

Video and instant messaging platforms have quickly become our primary means for communication due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For some of us, the migration to daily video conferences has been easy, but for others the technology is still a bit confusing.  We’re breaking down the top platforms for video communication and resources you can use to become a pro. 

Zoom for video conferencing

 Zoom is quickly growing in popularity as it has two different plans, is extremely user friendly, and is usable on your phone, computer, and tablet. With Zoom, be sure you are downloading the right application, as there are several when you search “Zoom” in your app store on mobile or desktop. Within the platform, you can sign up for basic (free version) or pro ($15 a month version). You can find the different plan options here. Additional benefits of using Zoom include virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, whiteboarding, and full calendar integration. Zoom also offers the ability to group users into different “breakout sessions” to discuss different topics and then bring everyone back to the main conference. Click here to become an expert in Zoom, and download it here. With the widespread adoption of Zoom has come an increase in the number of “Zoombombing” incidents reported. “Zoombombing” refers to a hacker gaining access to a Zoom conference and causing a disturbance in the meeting. Some tips to avoid being the victim of a “Zoombombing attempt” include,  set meetings to private, don’t share Zoom meetings links publicly and control screen sharing permissions for your meetings. 

Slack for communicating with your team

 If your company uses Slack, you are probably an expert at utilizing the chat feature. While working remotely, be sure to utilize the file sharing options that works with Google Docs, Dropbox, image and video previews, and fun emojis. If your team is not using Slack, but you think your team would benefit from it, there is a few team chat option that you can download here! Slack can often be used to share funny members and photos across a team or company. This goes without saying, but make sure you gauge the level of appropriateness before sharing something that’s not work related. If your company is using a tool like Slack for the first time, you’ll want to temperature check how the platform is being used and match the level of professionalism. 

Google Hangouts for staying in touch

 Another alternative – and almost as popular – to Zoom is Google Hangouts. Though often used for personal video communication, Google Hangouts is one of the easiest and most capable video services around. The best part? If you have a Google account, you already have Google Hangouts. Up to 10 people can join a call, and it is compatible with desktop and mobile. Get Google Hangouts here! If you’re in the market for a new job, Google Hangouts is also a popular tool for video interviews, so it’s a good to get familiar with it ahead of time. 

Microsoft Teams for keeping your team organized

 If your company uses Outlook, chances are with new remote work policies they are starting to integrate the use of Teams (if they hadn’t already). Microsoft Teams allows work from home teams to stay connected, instant message, video conference, share documents, and collaborate. Their newest feature includes virtual classrooms that brings together meetings, assignments, documents, and conversations all in one virtual classroom. Teams is available for mobile, tablet, and desktop,  and with the current impact of COVID-19  Microsoft Teams is available for everyone to download and use for free here. Since Microsoft Teams has so many functions and capabilities, we recommend utilizing their in-depth training on how to use the platform here. What tools and platforms are you using and which do you find the most useful? For more work from home tips and resources, check out our guide to working from home here!