Working from home: Essential tools
If typing in all caps on a blog was acceptable, I would scream type “I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME”! I really do. Working from home is an introvert’s secret dream come true. The first few weeks revealed which assets in my toolbox, aside from a computer, proved essential.
Microsoft Teams User Status and Chat
Microsoft Teams is a robust application that combines collaboration and communication into a single platform. While the collaboration component has been critical in my daily tasks, the communication tools have proved to be empowering and an absolute must have while working remotely. I would not succeed working from home without Microsoft Teams, and the following highlights are my most utilized features.
The ability to see a user’s presence or availability status is a must have when working within a team environment. This is a great feature that also coincides with Outlook’s calendar, if you are in a meeting, have an appointment, or have marked PTO on your calendar, Teams will detect this and change your availability based on these details. It also allows me show when I take a break and lets my team know my status. For example, I set my status to “be right back” when refilling my water glass.
Chat and Messages
The ease of sending a quick chat to an individual, multiple individuals, or a Team is a must have in my world. And… it is persistent chat so I have all of my chat history right at my fingertips which proves very helpful when I need to joggle my memory. You can invite someone into an existing chat and even provide the new attendee with the chat’s historical conversations. Use multiple keyboards to send GIFs, Emojis and add extra flare to messages. Items can be ‘saved’ and later recalled under your avatar – nifty to quickly recall critical week’s information shared by your team leader. Newly added to Teams – pop-out style chats have saved me from going tirelessly back and forth between chats, allowing more screen view flexibility. Teams chat also has calling features – you can place a call or prompt screen share from inside a chat.
I first became dependent on my Jabra Evolve 75s while still working in an office and sharing space with Supportville, my colleagues in Solace’s helpdesk. I knew, next to a computer, my Jabra headset would be one of the most critical tools to bring home with me to be successful and productive. My Jabra Evolve 75s are wireless, connecting to the computer by a USB dongle, and the battery lasts all day – I only plug them at night to charge. I can wear them for hours at a time, helping to keep my hands free and on the keyboard or mouse, and this headset can even pair with more than one device. The microphone quality is amazing, at times while working from home assisting customers, I’ve apologized in advance in the event the microphone picks up a cat meow in the background of our conversation.
Good and flowing coffee – with fancy creamers!