GlobalMeet Archives - PGi Blog https://www.pgi.com/blog Resources for Virtual Events and Global Collaboration for Businesses Wed, 02 Mar 2022 13:54:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.1 4 Tips for Planning the Perfect Webcast for Demand Generation https://www.pgi.com/blog/2022/02/webcast-for-demand-generation-tips/ Tue, 22 Feb 2022 15:00:40 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28969 A webcast can be a highly effective tool for demand generation and lead generation. But only if you can engage audience members to get them thinking fondly about your offerings and create customer loyalty. A basic lecture or “talking head” product presentation won’t cut it for today’s audiences, who expect more from nearly every entertainment …

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A webcast can be a highly effective tool for demand generation and lead generation. But only if you can engage audience members to get them thinking fondly about your offerings and create customer loyalty. A basic lecture or “talking head” product presentation won’t cut it for today’s audiences, who expect more from nearly every entertainment experience — even an educational or marketing webcast.

Here are some webcast tips to boost audience engagement which, in turn, should expand the capacity it has for lead generation.

  1. Use a Variety of Media throughout the Webcast

    Talking heads on the screen can be boring. But so is a plain old PowerPoint presentation. Mix up the media during your webcast for optimal engagement. Consider creating animations and short videos to liven up the presentation. If you have multiple guest speakers, bring them together for a panel discussion. Anchor your webcast with a personable moderator that can keep things moving.

  2. Choose the Right Presenters

    The right presenters can make or break your webcast. No matter how good your pre-event promotions or the technology you use to produce your webcast, your webcast may fall flat if your speaker isn’t fun, lively, and engaging.

    You should be choosing your presenters for their knowledge and dynamic speaking capabilities. But also consider their network. They should be influencers in their field, to a degree, who can use their social media accounts to help you promote the webcast to their fans and followers.

  3. Leverage Hashtags for Cross-Platform Engagement

    In addition to establishing social media campaigns to promote the event, use hashtags before, after, and during your webcast to increase engagement across platforms. Make sure your hashtags are memorable and unique. Share them with presenters before your event to start generating buzz. Make sure the hashtags are on all promotional material, including digital and print marketing materials you might share.

  4. Make It Easy for Your Audience to Interact

    Once you’ve got your attendees’ attention, you want to keep it. Make it easy for your audience to interact with chat rooms, polling, and Q&As. Make it easy for your marketing team, as well, with technology to create post-event follow-ups that will build loyalty and keep the customer relationship going — and growing — long after your webcast is over.

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Using Webcast for Crisis Management https://www.pgi.com/blog/2022/02/using-webcast-for-crisis-management/ Thu, 17 Feb 2022 15:10:51 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28945 In a post-pandemic world, the implications of crisis management have changed. While crisis planning may have seemed like a futile exercise in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic showed that an unforeseen event could change the world in an instant. This can include pandemics, but also earthquakes, fires, terrorist activity, floods, and data breaches. Any one …

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In a post-pandemic world, the implications of crisis management have changed. While crisis planning may have seemed like a futile exercise in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic showed that an unforeseen event could change the world in an instant. This can include pandemics, but also earthquakes, fires, terrorist activity, floods, and data breaches. Any one of these occurrences calls for swift follow-up with an organized plan to mitigate the damage done to the company, its premises, or its reputation.

Planning for a crisis should include not only what you and your staff need to do to mitigate the damage but also the precise method you’ll use to communicate plans to the entire enterprise. A webcast can be the ideal approach for business continuity, disaster recovery, and emergency communication. Within the webcast application, leadership or crisis teams can coordinate the required response activities, assign tasks to teams, and take stock of resources to maintain command and control.

Why Use a Webcast After a Crisis?

In the time after a crisis, a webcast can be a convenient, easy-to-use method of communication that allows you to communicate with every member of the team and even stakeholders. You can share important event dashboards and updates onscreen for the entire organization to see. Throughout the broadcast, you can express the steps each person or department needs to take to turn static, standard operating procedures into actionable tasks. You can then assign tasks out in one meeting instead of holding several calls or meetings and include offsite or out-of-country participants. Participants can suggest additional tasks that may be missing from the plan using the built-in chat feature.

GlobalMeet® Webcast incorporates all the features any company needs to coordinate and implement disaster recovery plans. Visit the PGi website to find out more.

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The Fundamentals of a Successful Virtual Event https://www.pgi.com/blog/2022/02/the-fundamentals-of-a-successful-virtual-event/ Tue, 15 Feb 2022 14:00:50 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28936 In the past, business people did most of their connecting and networking in person. Looking each other in the eye and shaking hands were seen as the only real ways to make a connection. However, with advancements in technology virtual events and meetings can be just as engrossing and provide an equal amount of opportunities …

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In the past, business people did most of their connecting and networking in person. Looking each other in the eye and shaking hands were seen as the only real ways to make a connection. However, with advancements in technology virtual events and meetings can be just as engrossing and provide an equal amount of opportunities to interact with others. Holding a tradeshow, conference, or training event via webcast is a regularity in our current environment.

What Are the Advantages of Planning a Virtual Event?

Some of the reasons to consider planning a virtual event include:

  • Virtual events allow people to attend regardless of their physical location. As long as they have a stable internet connection and can connect to the webcast, interested participants can log on from anywhere in the world.
  • Potential savings for the company. Holding a virtual event is cost-effective and allows you to specify whatever budget works for you and then adhere to that budget.
  • Due to unforeseen circumstances like the onset of the COVID pandemic, people may not be able to travel to your location. A webcast allows them to attend without any of the risks involved with travel.

How to Plan a Virtual Event

By planning a full event strategy just as you would for an in-person event, you can offer a robust experience for all your virtual event attendees. Consider not only what topics will be covered but also how the topic and material align with the other presentations and webcasts you’ll be holding over the course of the year.

What Makes a Virtual Event Stand Out to Participants?

Some of the ways to make your virtual event engaging include:

  • Offer ways for participants to give input, like polls, questions, and a chat feature where they can input questions.
  • Share additional materials like videos, graphs, and photos to help attendees understand the points you are making.
  • Save time for questions and answers so participants can get any questions they have resolved before the session ends.

With the right planning, you can ensure your virtual event is as successful as possible. One of the key components is choosing the right platform to present the content. GlobalMeet Webcast is an advanced, easy-to-use technology that is perfect for your needs as the organizer of a virtual event. Find out more here.

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What are the Benefits of Webcast for the Global Enterprise? https://www.pgi.com/blog/2022/02/what-are-the-benefits-of-webcast-for-the-global-enterprise/ Thu, 10 Feb 2022 15:00:49 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28949 What Are the Benefits of Webcast for the Global Enterprise? Positioning yourself as a global enterprise includes catering to interested parties around the world who want to find out more about your services. Finding ways to connect with these people regardless of their location can be a powerful step forward for your company and extend …

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What Are the Benefits of Webcast for the Global Enterprise?

Positioning yourself as a global enterprise includes catering to interested parties around the world who want to find out more about your services. Finding ways to connect with these people regardless of their location can be a powerful step forward for your company and extend your reach far beyond your current customers and prospects.

Holding a webcast is one way to encourage potential clients to see your company as an international enterprise.

Increase Potential Attendance

By removing the cost of traveling to your event, you remove one of the major barriers to attending your event for many global participants. Not only can the cost of traveling to your location be daunting, but attendees may also have to take time away from their lives in order to get to you. For busy C-suite executives, this extra travel time can make it impossible for them to attend.

Instead, a webcast that people can watch from anywhere opens the event up to many more potential attendees, generating more demand globally for your product or service.

Boost Social Media Mentions

Another unexpected benefit of hosting an online event is the social media reaction that its likely to attract. You can create hashtags to promote the event on Twitter and Instagram and encourage registrants to use them. Share excerpts and video clips from the presentation to help build attention and interest around the topics you’ll be covering.

After the event, you can tweet out the results of polls and questions you asked to encourage people to watch it on-demand and keep talking about the content.

Create Content Resources

By recording the webcast and making it available online, you allow people to watch it at their leisure instead of trying to accommodate different time zones. These recordings can act as a content library for your blog or website, letting you share the knowledge easily and increase traffic to your site.

You can create pieces of content based on this recording, including a transcript of what is said or a blog post that recaps the event and reinforces the main points made in the presentation. Or post the video to your social channels to increase exposure, get more followers, and increase overall views on the video.

GlobalMeet® Webcast is designed to make webcasting to a global audience easier than ever.

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How to Transform Your In-Person Events Into a Digital Success https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/08/how-to-transform-your-in-person-events-into-a-digital-success/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/08/how-to-transform-your-in-person-events-into-a-digital-success/#respond Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:24:22 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28065 A study from Bizzabo reported that 85% of company leaders believe in-person events are vital to their business’ success. Yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic pausing in-person activities around the world, these events are no longer possible. As a result, businesses are transforming their previously scheduled in-person events into successful digital experiences. From conferences to large industry sales meetings, turning …

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A study from Bizzabo reported that 85% of company leaders believe in-person events are vital to their business’ success. Yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic pausing in-person activities around the world, these events are no longer possible. As a result, businesses are transforming their previously scheduled in-person events into successful digital experiences. From conferences to large industry sales meetings, turning an in-person experience into a digital event provides great benefits for companies actively looking to interact with potential clients online.

Why Go Digital?

Bizzabo also found that 93% of event professionals plan to invest in digital events as of 2020. And, 86% of event marketers state that technology has a positive impact on their events’ success.

With in-person events no longer an option, there are two core arguments for embracing digital events:

Cost

Think about how much is spent on in-person events, from small client dinners to extravagant conferences. Don’t forget to factor in travel!

Companies spend an astronomical amount of money each year on in-person experiences. By bringing events into the digital landscape, it makes the experience affordable for brands and customers alike.

Companies can save far more money by streaming, casting, or recording digital experiences to participants rather than producing large events. And, the more approachable price tag is easier on the customer’s wallet, too.

Wider Reach and Accessibility

Large in-person events such as conferences or seminars are limited to guests in the immediate geographic area or those who can afford the hefty price tag.

With a lower cost of entry and the ability to log on from anywhere in the world, customers can interact with brands and experiences previously out of their reach. Online events provide companies with access to a wider audience base and an increase in overall brand exposure.

How to Approach Turning an In-Person Experience into a Digital Event

When you’re ready to go digital, use the following tips to help the transition go smoothly:

Focus on Content

First and foremost, you must always focus on the event content.

People aren’t registering for digital events because they love sitting in front of a laptop screen all day. They’re signing up and paying the entry fee because they want to learn more about the respective topic.

Since you don’t have to worry about minuscule in-person event details such as total chair count, you can point your energy toward providing quality content for your audience.

Have a Streaming Plan

Implementing a foolproof plan for streaming your event content is paramount. Whether you choose to go live, stream content, or use pre-recorded interviews, your audience members must be able to access the content without problems.

Before the big event, test your streaming plan. Then, test it again. And, always have a technical team ready to act if something goes awry during the live event.

Create a Virtual Event Hub

Navigating in-person events is hard enough. Make the online event experience a breeze for guests by compiling all content, resources, lectures, chat rooms, etc. into a single virtual hub.

Personalize It

Even though you might not be face-to-face with event guests, you can still make it a personal experience for them.

Strive to provide a personalized event experience for each participant through individualized landing pages, emails, and chats.

Take Your In-Person Event Into the Digital Landscape

Need to turn your in-person events into digital experiences? Rely on PGi’s lineup of webcasting, live streaming, and video conferencing tools to get the job done efficiently and securely.

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How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Online Meeting https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/07/how-to-keep-uninvited-guests-out-of-your-online-meeting/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/07/how-to-keep-uninvited-guests-out-of-your-online-meeting/#respond Thu, 30 Jul 2020 20:41:22 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=28053 The number of businesses using virtual meetings skyrocketed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, as more and more people began to leverage video conferencing and webcasting software for personal, professional, and educational uses, companies and users alike became increasingly concerned about security features. Securing web-based content is a challenge. Particularly when incorporating streaming audio and …

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The number of businesses using virtual meetings skyrocketed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, as more and more people began to leverage video conferencing and webcasting software for personal, professional, and educational uses, companies and users alike became increasingly concerned about security features.

Securing web-based content is a challenge. Particularly when incorporating streaming
audio and video with various interactive elements. In April 2020, the FBI warned about “Zoombombing” or video conference hijackers. These situations arise when an uninvited guest enters the video call — more often than not, with malicious intent. Even with enhanced security features for video conferences and live streams, you should always follow these five key security tips to keep uninvited guests out of your virtual meetings:

1. Only Share Information With Invited Guests

Users who interrupt video meetings do so by finding the meeting information posted online. This typically happens to brands who host live interviews, events, or forums via a meeting software and post the meeting credentials on social media or a public forum.

Since this information is now public, anyone can easily find and abuse it.

To combat this, only share the video meeting information with those who you invite. If you’re hosting a live event, have participants register before receiving the video meeting logins or links. This reduces the chance of uninvited guests crashing the party.

2. Require a Password

To further enhance security, you can even add event password protection. Meaning, to gain entry to a virtual event a password would be required. You can also limit entry to authorized email addresses or domains only. For example, only an email address from your company’s email domain would be able to gain entry to the confidential town hall webcast.

3. Disable Participant or Viewer Settings

Within most video conferencing tools, hosts can disable guests’ audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities. Doing so gives the host control over the meeting and eliminates the possibility of interruptions.

Even if you’re hosting a private team meeting, it’s beneficial to enable these features for productivity purposes.

4. Limit Who Can Join the Meeting

Rather than hosting a public meeting where login information is readily available, limit your meetings to invited guests only.

You can use the “Lock Room” feature available on video conferencing tools. Locking the room prohibits anyone from entering the meeting once it has started — even if they have the credentials. This security feature ensures that no one enters the meeting once it has begun, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

5. Take Advantage of Waiting Rooms

Video conferencing software also offers a feature called “Waiting Room.”

When guests join the meeting, they are first put into a waiting room “outside” of the main event. The host then has control over who is allowed into the main meeting.

Host a Secure Virtual Meeting

Are you worried about uninvited guests interrupting your video meetings and broadcasts? PGi delivers security features to provide a seamless experience for all. Well, all those except unwanted intrusions!

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How Secure is Your Video Conferencing? https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/07/how-secure-is-your-video-conferencing/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/07/how-secure-is-your-video-conferencing/#respond Fri, 24 Jul 2020 13:43:29 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27998 The question of security is one that hits close to home for most businesses. Today, the business community is hyper-aware of security risks as companies operate outside of traditional office space. The stakes are higher than ever now that almost every meeting you host or attend is over video conferencing. When businesses look at their …

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The question of security is one that hits close to home for most businesses. Today, the business community is hyper-aware of security risks as companies operate outside of traditional office space. The stakes are higher than ever now that almost every meeting you host or attend is over video conferencing.

When businesses look at their data security, they need to look at more than just antivirus systems. Businesses need to review their virtual environment as a whole. So, just how secure is your video conferencing platform? There are two components to this question. How does your video conferencing provider treat your data and how secure is the video conferencing software itself?

At PGi our priorities align with our customer’s needs and our roadmap reflects that. Recently, we increased webcams to support larger video meetings and now we are excited to deliver enhanced security features to limit meeting disruptions and protect against unwanted guests.

PGi’s Approach to Security

At PGi, we place the utmost importance on security, and our customers can rest assured their data is secure. It’s our mission to provide reliable and secure video conferencing to millions worldwide.

We understand the importance of data security and protection. Therefore, we promise our customers that we will never sell or rent data. After all, we’re in the business of helping people connect, not selling their data. Furthermore, we adhere to industry best practices and global standards to ensure the security and integrity of our systems.

PGi has a formal security program with a dedicated team that brings the proper industry-standard security controls to maintain security, confidentiality and availability. To ensure our customer data is protected, PGi actively participates in security programs and holds the following certifications:

  • SOC 2 Type 2 Audit, which is performed every year and demonstrates adherence to privacy, security, availability, integrity and confidentiality criteria
  • Privacy Shield with the US Department of Commerce
  • TRUSTe certified for privacy practices, programs and policies

We keep our solutions secure, fast, responsive and reliable and create efficiencies through back-end service automation. The network, hardware, software, personnel and facilities are all optimized to protect the integrity of meetings.

Enhanced GlobalMeet Collaboration Security Features Available to Users

With more companies working from home and the uptick in video conferencing usage, security has never been more paramount to PGi and our users worldwide.

To help our customers feel more secure during their meetings, we brought security features to the forefront of the meeting experience, making security more accessible and visible to hosts and participants. The new GlobalMeet Collaboration security menu has three key enhancements to help provide additional security to your meetings.

Lock Room

Hosts can lock their meeting room to prevent anyone from joining a meeting in progress. Rest easy knowing the only people listening in are those on the attendee list, no video “bombers” welcome.

Enable Waiting Room

Often hosts and participants need to discuss sensitive or confidential topics. Meeting hosts can configure their settings to pool meeting attendees into a virtual waiting room until the host admits them into the meeting.

This is a great way to monitor who is coming into your meeting and also gives you a chance to ensure your meeting is set up properly before guests enter.

Host Controls

To protect your meetings and the information shared, you can restrict participant powers. For example, only allow those permitted to share their screen or presentations.

These enhanced controls are available at the top right corner of your meeting room, indicated by a shield icon, for ease of use and so that meeting hosts can take immediate action if the need arises.

PGi has powered virtual meetings and events for customers safely and reliably for nearly 30 years, helping people, teams and enterprises connect all over the world with advanced video conferencing. Never has this been more necessary than now as businesses worldwide have had to embrace work from home for the foreseeable future.

For more information about PGi’s approach to security, please read our security statement.

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Why and How to Mute Phones on a Conference Call https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/why-and-how-to-mute-phones-on-a-conference-call/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/why-and-how-to-mute-phones-on-a-conference-call/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 18:32:30 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27975 Conference calls can be a hassle, especially when there are several participants. On top of tackling technology, you have to manage the call properly so you can conduct the meeting efficiently. However, this doesn’t always go so smoothly. With participants in multiple locations on different devices, it can be a challenge for everyone to follow …

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Conference calls can be a hassle, especially when there are several participants.

On top of tackling technology, you have to manage the call properly so you can conduct the meeting efficiently. However, this doesn’t always go so smoothly. With participants in multiple locations on different devices, it can be a challenge for everyone to follow proper conference call protocols.

As a result, sentences are disrupted, calls are dropped, and background noise distracts everyone on the call. To effectively conduct a call, encourage all participants to mute their phones. Or, the meeting host can opt to use the “Mute All” feature.

There are several instances when muting conference call lines is beneficial, from large company meetings to single presenter calls. Muting phones during these situations provides conference call advantages such as:

1. Clear Communication

“Can you repeat that?”

“Sorry, I missed that. Can you go back?”

There is nothing more frustrating than having to repeat yourself on a conference call because the noise from another line was louder than your words. Muting phones on a conference call allows for clear communication for all involved.

2. Productive and Efficient Meetings

No one enjoys sitting on a conference call for longer than necessary. By muting phones and eliminating the possibility of any outside disruptions, companies can conduct productive and efficient meetings via a conference call.

3. Ensures Proper Meeting Flow

Have you ever been part of a conference call where the conversation takes an entirely different direction than intended? Meeting organizers can avoid these side conversations and derailments by either asking all participants to mute their phones or using the “Mute All” feature.

By doing so, everyone on the call enjoys a proper meeting flow with little to no outside disruptions.

4. Allows One Speaker to Address All Participants

Company-wide calls and presentations require one individual to speak for a duration of time. By not muting other phones or lines, you run the risk of multiple interruptions.

Instead, mute all other lines and take questions, comments, and concerns at the end of the meeting.

How to Mute Phones on a Conference Call

In a recent PGi LinkedIn poll, 65% of people selected the mute button when asked, “What’s the conferencing feature you can’t live without?”

The easiest way to mute phones during a conference call is to ask all participants to mute their own lines when joining the call. With simple meeting controls, GlobalMeet Collaboration users can easily mute their mic by clicking on the microphone button in the meeting controls. The button turns red to indicate your audio is muted.

However, there will always be one or two stragglers who either forget to do so or have technical difficulties. If background noise is affecting your conference call, a host can mute a single guest or all guest participants.

  • To mute a guest, click on the guest’s name in the guest list, and then click Mute. An icon will appear next to the guest’s name in the meeting panel to show the guest is muted.
  • To mute all participants in the meeting, select Mute all guests above the guest list on the left-hand side of the meeting room. All attendees’ lines in the meeting will be muted.
Of course, to use this feature, your conference call platform has to offer it! Upgrade your companies conferencing software with PGi.

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Why You Need to Turn On Your Webcam https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/why-you-need-to-turn-on-your-webcam/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/why-you-need-to-turn-on-your-webcam/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 16:30:31 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27973 In this new era of remote work and teleconferencing, we’ve all become accustomed to group phone calls and video meetings becoming the “new normal.” Some people may wonder, is it really necessary to turn on the webcam? If you’re in the meeting anyway, does it matter if your employer or colleagues can see your face? Let’s take …

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In this new era of remote work and teleconferencing, we’ve all become accustomed to group phone calls and video meetings becoming the “new normal.”

Some people may wonder, is it really necessary to turn on the webcam? If you’re in the meeting anyway, does it matter if your employer or colleagues can see your face? Let’s take a look at the reasons why turning on your webcam could be beneficial.

1. It Can Help Recreate the Feeling of Togetherness

More often than not, those who have always worked remotely have grown accustomed to not seeing their coworkers on a daily basis. However, people who were previously in the office and have suddenly shifted to remote work may crave collaboration and connection with team members to feel productive and social.

Even though the team is not physically in the same space, turning on the webcam and seeing everyone can give a sense of unity. Having a stand up meeting, in which each member can participate and provide quick updates, or hosting a virtual game night after hours are great for getting everyone involved and feeling like they’re back together.

2. It Shows Respect for the Speaker and Meeting Participants

When calling a colleague or client, if you don’t see one another, you may run into the issue of talking over one another accidentally, which causes disruption, even if that wasn’t the intention.

Seeing someone’s face over a video meeting can help prevent these unwanted moments. You can look out for facial gestures and pauses in conversation. Turning on the webcam helps to reduce the stress of having to constantly say, “Sorry I interrupted. What were you saying?”

3. It Allows You to Show Up

When you dial into a meeting, your team can see that you are on the call. But how do they know you are really there unless they are actually seeing your face? By turning on your webcam you are accounting for your presence and your willingness to be ready to talk about work. Using both verbal and nonverbal communication can help you engage with your teammates and concentrate on what’s going on in front of you.

Pro Tip: Turn On Before Joining a Meeting

Turning on the webcam shows others that you are ready to participate in the present moment and interact with your team. Several video conferencing tools help participants check their video and settings before joining a meeting. Consider turning on a webcam before you join and you’re all set!

More Webcams Mean More Interaction

GlobalMeet Collaboration users can now experience crystal-clear collaboration with even more HD video screens on the desktop. And mobile webcams on the app enhances face-to-face interaction wherever users are.

In conclusion, sign up for a free GlobalMeet Collaboration account, change out of your pajamas and turn on your webcam. Teamwork, trust, and productivity will all benefit.

 

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7 Tips for Running Effective Whiteboarding Sessions https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/7-tips-for-running-effective-whiteboarding-sessions/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/7-tips-for-running-effective-whiteboarding-sessions/#respond Wed, 10 Jun 2020 19:07:59 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27955 Whiteboarding sessions — both in-office and virtual — provide teams with a collaborative, creative environment for brainstorming new ideas and solving problems. Without a defined structure in place, however, these sessions can quickly unravel and get off track. For an effective whiteboarding session with your team, keep these seven tips in mind. 1. Choose the Right …

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Whiteboarding sessions — both in-office and virtual — provide teams with a collaborative, creative environment for brainstorming new ideas and solving problems. Without a defined structure in place, however, these sessions can quickly unravel and get off track.

For an effective whiteboarding session with your team, keep these seven tips in mind.

1. Choose the Right Whiteboarding Tool

Virtual whiteboards bring the brainstorming process into the homes of remote workers and teams. Although, these tools are not created equal.

Look for a virtual whiteboard that pairs the benefits of visual collaboration with technology – allowing your team to add text, upload images, draw in real-time (simultaneously), and export the digital whiteboard.

2. Define Brainstorming Goals

Without a defined goal in mind, your whiteboarding session will lose sight of its true purpose. Before your team starts rattling off ideas, make sure everyone understands the goal of the session.

3. Start with a Clean Slate

If your whiteboard has anything on it from a previous meeting, clear it off. This includes prior virtual whiteboard meetings.

Give your team a fresh start for each whiteboarding session. This leads to new, imaginative ideas that get your team closer to the desired result.

4. Create a Collaboration System

In-person and remote teams all experience the same collaboration problems. From teammates talking over each other to ideas pitched out of order, brainstorming can be a creative, but chaotic process.

For an effective whiteboarding session, develop a collaboration system that gives each person ample time to communicate their ideas and provide feedback to others. For example, raising a hand on video or using the chat feature.

5. Keep the Whiteboard Organized

As the ideas start flowing, your whiteboard can get messy. Do your best to keep an organized whiteboard layout throughout the entire session.

Organizing your whiteboard allows your team to stay on track, have a visual representation of the project progress, and understand what needs to be accomplished next.

6. Take Advantage of Collaboration Tools

Virtual whiteboard tools provide a series of features designed to enhance the brainstorming process. These features include file uploads, chat boxes, segmented boards, and so much more.

Use these tools to your advantage and encourage your teammates to do the same.

7. Assign Deliverables and Tasks

Don’t make the mistake of brainstorming on a project and walking away! An effective whiteboarding session must end with assigned deliverables and/or tasks. Otherwise, what was the point of the session?

Even if the deliverables are to prepare for the next brainstorming effort, this tasks employees with keeping the project in mind throughout their days.

Explore tactics that keep your virtual whiteboarding sessions productive and effective.

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More Video Screens for Larger Meetings – And Other Top-Requested Features https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/more-video-screens-for-larger-meetings-and-other-top-requested-features/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/more-video-screens-for-larger-meetings-and-other-top-requested-features/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 16:43:43 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27957 PGi rolled out new GlobalMeet Collaboration enhancements designed to improve how people, teams, and enterprises productively connect and collaborate, no matter where they are. Businesses continue to demand more convenient ways to maintain virtual face-to-face interactions with remote colleagues, customers, partners, friends, and family. In response, we have ramped up development and support for GlobalMeet …

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PGi rolled out new GlobalMeet Collaboration enhancements designed to improve how people, teams, and enterprises productively connect and collaborate, no matter where they are.

Businesses continue to demand more convenient ways to maintain virtual face-to-face interactions with remote colleagues, customers, partners, friends, and family. In response, we have ramped up development and support for GlobalMeet Collaboration to accelerate our feature roadmap and bring our users’ top-requested features.

These features are designed to provide a richer collaboration experience particularly for the at-home worker and will gradually roll out to customers globally, starting today.

More Video Screens for Larger Calls

Since March, GlobalMeet Collaboration has seen a 700% surge in webcam usage for virtual meetings. Video meetings have never been more important as people are working from home and using video to feel productive, socialize, and stay connected.

GlobalMeet Collaboration users can now simultaneously see up to 12 participants at once (double what was previously available). Increased HD video screens allow for larger group video meetings and enhanced engagement. And stayed tuned because we’re constantly iterating and working to add more webcams beyond 12 in the coming months!

Virtual Whiteboard

When teams are scattered across the world or stuck at home, brainstorming together can be difficult. But, with a virtual whiteboard, remote teams can still come together virtually and exchange ideas in a meaningful way.

Users can write, draw, annotate, and collaborate on a free-form virtual whiteboard to spark creative, organic conversations.

G Suite Calendar Integration

Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users around the world. Gmail users will be able to seamlessly schedule, manage and join GlobalMeet Collaboration meetings from Gmail and Google Calendar.

In the coming weeks, G Suite calendar integration will be available to all users.

Mobile Video and Scheduling

Webcams on mobile means users can see who is speaking even on a smartphone. Mobile upgrades allow simple scheduling on the fly with your native calendar app.

PGi has powered virtual meetings and events for customers safely and reliably for nearly 30 years, helping people, teams and enterprises connect all over the world with advanced video conferencing and broadcasting. Never has this been more necessary than now as businesses worldwide have embraced work from home for employees, for an undetermined amount of time.

Over the past months, we’ve heard from organizations of all sizes that GlobalMeet Collaboration is helping them stay connected. A sales manager at a biotechnology company says, “We use GlobalMeet [Collaboration] for remote meetings because employees live across the entire county. I used to only utilize this service a couple of times per month; however, due to the COVID-19 crisis it is now utilized several times each week.”

If you or your organization needs access to video conferencing, GlobalMeet Collaboration is free, and signing up is easy. Learn more about our recent feature releases here.

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Virtual Whiteboard for Better Teamwork and Brainstorming https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/virtual-whiteboard-for-better-teamwork-and-brainstorming/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/06/virtual-whiteboard-for-better-teamwork-and-brainstorming/#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2020 14:20:46 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27936 When your team is scattered across the world, brainstorming together can be difficult. Phone calls can have spotty connections and using company funds for regular meet-ups can be costly. Office environments easily foster creative in person interactions, ad hoc brainstorms and meetings. These interactions, many unplanned, feed into the creative spirit for many companies. But, if …

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When your team is scattered across the world, brainstorming together can be difficult. Phone calls can have spotty connections and using company funds for regular meet-ups can be costly.

Office environments easily foster creative in person interactions, ad hoc brainstorms and meetings. These interactions, many unplanned, feed into the creative spirit for many companies. But, if an in-office meeting is out of the question (because you are a fully remote team or social distancing due to COVID-19) you are not out of luck. Teams can still come together virtually and exchange ideas in a meaningful way.

Companies are leveraging virtual whiteboard technology for their remote teams. A virtual whiteboard allows people, content and ideas to come together. You can draw and write on a free-form, shared digital canvas, much like a whiteboard you’d find in an office conference room.

In short, if you’re looking for a way to foster teamwork and effective collaboration within your remote team, consider using a virtual whiteboard.

An Effective Brainstorming Outlet

Virtual whiteboards provide remote teams an effective brainstorming outlet through features, such as:

  • Text, shapes and drawing tools
  • Image upload capability
  • Whiteboard PNG download

Find the whiteboard meeting style that works best for your team and allows them to brainstorm freely online.

Ideal for All Types of Workers

We all have a preferred learning and working style. For instance, teams often have a balanced mix of visual, auditory, and hands-on workers. Whiteboard brainstorming sessions satisfy the needs of all three types.

For example, visual workers will love being able to see the strategy come to life in real-time; auditory workers can listen in and absorb the information; hands-on workers can contribute to the whiteboarding process. As a result, whiteboard brainstorming enables your entire team to do their best work while working together.

Leads to Creative Solutions and Ideas

Brainstorming is a naturally creative process. Therefore, as your team works together, innovative ideas and solutions will start flowing. It’s inevitable!

Encourage your team to chime in with an idea, solution, or thought they might have. It may lead to the desired end result.

Shakes Up Dull Meeting Styles

Presentations and meeting agendas get old. So, shake up your meetings by utilizing a virtual whiteboard.

Even if your team does not need to collaborate or brainstorm, whiteboards add an active visual element to a meeting that is sure to motivate your team.

Review Whiteboard Recordings

Since you can record virtual whiteboard meetings, your team can review the recordings and whiteboard canvases later. This is helpful when working on deliverables identified and assigned during the meeting. It also allows team members to be fully present in the whiteboard experience, and not concerned or distracted with note taking.

Jumpstart Your Team’s Creativity with a Virtual Whiteboard

Virtual whiteboards provide a wealth of advantages for teams of all sizes. And, thanks to the versatility of its features, online whiteboards can be used to brainstorm everything from a small marketing campaign or fun Pictionary-esque game to an entire corporate strategy.

Discover how virtual whiteboards can amplify your team’s collaboration and brainstorming capabilities with help from PGi.

 

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Stand Up Meetings: What Are They and How to Make Them Effective https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/05/stand-up-meetings-what-are-they-and-how-to-make-them-effective/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/05/stand-up-meetings-what-are-they-and-how-to-make-them-effective/#respond Thu, 28 May 2020 16:41:22 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27932 In their 2019 State of Meetings Report, Doodle reported that the United States wasted approximately $399 billion on poorly organized meetings. On top of the financial impact, 44% of study respondents stated that unorganized meetings left them with fewer hours in the day to accomplish their work tasks. These long, drawn-out meetings—that likely could have been resolved …

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In their 2019 State of Meetings Report, Doodle reported that the United States wasted approximately $399 billion on poorly organized meetings. On top of the financial impact, 44% of study respondents stated that unorganized meetings left them with fewer hours in the day to accomplish their work tasks.

These long, drawn-out meetings—that likely could have been resolved through email—waste company funds and employee time, resulting in an unproductive, unmotivated workforce.

To combat this common problem, companies are starting to experiment with stand up meetings.

What are Stand Up Meetings?

Stand up meetings are exactly what they sound like—everyone who is physically able stands throughout the duration of the meeting. However, they are never to exceed 15 minutes.

Teams often use these meetings to review the status of projects, discuss tasks, and identify new opportunities or challenges. From daily check-ins to project launches, stand up meetings can be instituted throughout an organization.

The 5 Key Benefits of Stand Up Meetings

Although it may seem odd at first, switching your team’s meeting style can yield several advantages. Stand up meetings tend to provide benefits such as:

1. Rapid Problem Flagging

As employees share updates about their progress and task load, they’ll also mention any troubles they’re having or issues they’ve noticed.

By presenting these problems during a stand up meeting, teams ensure that crucial issues aren’t lost in an email inbox with the risk of remaining unaddressed or remedied. Employees will leave the meeting with the problem on their mind and work to fix it ASAP.

2. Reduced Turnaround Times

Often, project slowdown is the direct result of miscommunication and an overload of notifications and emails. Through project updates shared in a regularly scheduled stand up meeting, teams can reduce turnaround and overall project completion times significantly.

In addition, project managers and team members will have a continuous understanding of each project status, leading to higher-quality results and outputs.

3. Healthy and Engaged Employees

Since stand up meetings are short and to the point, you won’t have to worry about losing your employees’ attention span. These quick meetings provide everyone with the opportunity to say their part and move on to the next item. Keeping this momentum enables employees to stay engaged and productive throughout the day.

Additionally, stand up meetings help improve the mental and physical well-being of employees. Research shows that office workers sit for approximately 7.7 hours a day. This lack of physical activity leads to weight gain, a weakened immune system, and hormonal imbalances. If standing for a quick 15 minutes each day can help your employees stay healthy and productive, it’s worth it!

4. Clear Team Communication

Miscommunication happens all the time. From email threads to Slack notifications and misremembered phone calls, a single communication error could derail the progress of an entire project

Regularly scheduled stand up meetings provide employees the chance to communicate with one another face-to-face. Rather than relying on poorly worded Slack updates, team members can discuss projects without barriers or miscommunication. This ensures that all teams are aligned and ready to move forward with the tasks at hand.

5. Cognitive Offloading

We all experience work-related stress and anxiety about everything, from priority projects to daunting tasks. We think about these tasks all day long, regardless of the other responsibilities on our plate, making us less productive in the long run.

Stand up meetings for team “check-ins” enable employees to participate in what is known as cognitive offloading. By simply talking about their concerns and problems, employees actively reduce the amount of cognitive stress or worry they carry around throughout the day. As a result, they free up their mind to focus on their work and utilize more brainpower for productive work.

What You Need for a Successful Stand Up Meeting

Similar to regular meetings, you’ll need a few things to run an effective stand up meeting.

A Productive Space

Start by identifying a productive space where your in-office teammates can meet. This could be by a particular cubicle or in a specific conference room.

So long as there’s enough room for everyone to stand comfortably and you’re not disrupting other teams, most spaces will do the trick.

Scheduled Calendar Invites

Send out calendar invites that sync with each teammate’s calendar app. Most project management software suites have this capability and allow you to update meeting details as necessary.

Video Conferencing Software

Remote teams can participate in stand up meetings, too! Whether your team is partially distributed or fully remote, a quality video conferencing platform is key for a successful virtual stand up meeting.

Find a video conferencing tool with collaborative features such as screen and file sharing, chat functions, and more for the best results.

An Agenda

Develop and distribute an agenda before each stand up meeting. This gives your team time to prepare their thoughts before the meeting and keeps conversations within the 15-minute timeframe.

Assign a Meeting Host

Identify a person to act as the host of each meeting. This person is responsible for distributing the agenda, keeping things moving along, and ensuring that team members understand the parameters of the meeting.

Additionally, they are also in charge of the follow-up message and materials sent after each meeting.

How to Host Effective Stand Up Meetings

Meetings can either be productive or a massive waste of time. Use these pointers to organize and execute efficient stand up meetings.

Stand Up!

Nope, it’s not silly office lingo. You and your team are going to stand throughout the whole meeting. After all, studies have shown that workers who sit less and move more throughout the day are more productive than those who don’t.

Standing for the entire meeting also helps enforce the 15-minute duration policy.

Meetings Should Not Last More than 15 Minutes

The purpose of stand up meetings is to have a quick, efficient chat with your team. Go any longer than 15 minutes, and you’re on the verge of hosting a full-fledged, sit down meeting.

Long meetings are the top killer of productivity in offices. The goal of a stand up meeting isn’t to discuss every topic at length, but rather to align everyone on tasks and ongoing initiatives.

If you find your stand up meetings are going beyond the time limit, start using a timer to keep everyone on track. Once your 15 minutes are up, that’s it!

Find the Right Schedule for Your Team

The frequency of stand up meetings will vary from team to team. Some may need daily meetings to review their heavy workload, while weekly overview meetings will suffice for others.

Experiment with different meeting schedules to find what works best for your team. We recommend starting with twice-a-week meetings and adjusting the frequency from there.

The trick is to find a schedule that motivates your team and does not hinder their productivity while keeping your projects and tasks on track.

Assign a Meeting Goal

Have you ever been in a meeting that has no clear purpose or agenda? Employees ramble on and accomplish next to nothing as a result.

To prevent your stand up meetings from becoming a burden on productivity, determine a goal for each meeting. Doing so gives your team a clear understanding of what should be achieved within 15 minutes.

Of course, the goal for these meetings will depend on the team conducting them. For instance, a project team could use stand up meetings as a weekly progress report opportunity. Or, your C-Suite team could meet to discuss an overview of new company-wide opportunities.

The best way to communicate this goal is through an agenda. Provide each meeting attendee with an agenda several hours before the meeting is scheduled to begin. This conveys your objective and enables team members to prepare accordingly.

Table Large Topics for a Later Date

Of course, not all topics are fit for a 15-minute meeting. Broader concerns, such as internal issues, will have to be tabled for a later date when you can schedule a longer meeting.

Additionally, as your team members provide progress updates and identify challenges, conversations about those topics will arise. If the issue or discussion cannot be resolved immediately or within the stand up meeting timeframe, tell employees to table the conversation. Harping on these discussion points takes up time and puts a crunch on other imperative agenda items.

You can always schedule an additional stand up meeting with those involved to remedy the issue or continue the conversation.

Adapt for Remote Employees and Teams

With the growing trend in remote work and new restrictions caused by COVID-19, stand up meetings need to adapt to include those who work from home. Fortunately, with collaborative video conferencing tools readily available, teams can have a stand up meeting regardless of location.

The key to effectively hosting a remote stand up meeting is to keep the same core principles in place but also utilize collaborative features such as screen sharing, file uploads, and chat features to allow everyone to engage.

Since remote teams are often distributed around the country or the globe, keep timezones in mind when scheduling your virtual stand up meetings. Find a time that works for your team’s various locations and work schedules and does not interfere with their productivity.

And, while you can’t all stand in the same place at once, you should still encourage remote employees to stand and get the blood moving!

Always Follow Up

After each stand up meeting, follow up on all items discussed or listed on the agenda. In this message, you can also list items that you intend to include in the next meeting.

Sending a follow-up email puts your team all on the same page moving forward. There’s no confusion about what was discussed, which tasks were assigned, and what the next steps are for each employee.

Maintain a Consistent Schedule and Structure

Maintaining consistency will help your team establish a routine and effectively monitor their productivity levels. By altering the meeting time or format each week, you demonstrate that those meetings are not a priority and can be altered at will.

After a few trial meetings, you’ll begin to discover the meeting schedule and structure that works best for your team. Once this is locked in, do not deviate from it.

Next Steps: Planning Your First Stand Up Meeting

Convincing your team to embrace the concept of a stand up meeting can be difficult, especially if you’re not in a leadership role at your company.

If you think a stand up meeting format would be beneficial for your team, follow these steps to get started:

Discuss the Idea with Your Team Members

There’s power in numbers, right? If you suggest the idea of a stand up meeting to some of your co-workers, they may also find the concept intriguing and beneficial for the team.

Start by discussing the benefits of stand up meetings, including team building and productivity boosts. As your team begins to see the value in this meeting style, bring up the idea of pitching it to your manager or team leader to try out.

Ask for a Trial Meeting

Instead of pushing the idea of a stand up meeting onto your team, ask them to participate in a trial meeting with you. You’re likely to garner more engagement by taking this approach than by forcing the idea upon your team.

Embrace Feedback

After a trial meeting or two, request feedback from your colleagues. Do they like the stand up meeting format? What would they change moving forward?

As you go on, continue to ask your team for feedback. The more you can fine-tune your meeting structure, frequency, and goals, the more productive your team will be as a result of stand up meetings.

Try Stand Up Meetings With Your Team

Do you think stand up meetings will empower your team to be more productive and efficient? Keep our tips in mind, and try it out with GlobalMeet Collaboration!

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Working From Home With Kids: Navigating the New Normal https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/04/working-from-home-with-kids/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/04/working-from-home-with-kids/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2020 16:52:54 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27804 With shelter-in-place orders mandated around the country in response to COVID-19, families are finding themselves tackling new territory. Working from home with kids. On top of bringing home the responsibilities of the office, work from home moms and dads are now tasked with guiding their kids’ schoolwork each day. The compounding stress between work, financial worries, …

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With shelter-in-place orders mandated around the country in response to COVID-19, families are finding themselves tackling new territory. Working from home with kids.

On top of bringing home the responsibilities of the office, work from home moms and dads are now tasked with guiding their kids’ schoolwork each day. The compounding stress between work, financial worries, day-to-day life, and keeping the kids busy is enough to drive anyone mad. As a result, families everywhere are searching for guidance on how to work from home with kids.

The Common Challenges of Working From Home with Kids

Although a 2018 report from IWG found that 70% of professionals telecommute at least once a week, working remotely is a new experience for the majority of companies and their employees. As parents adapt to the change in their typical work environment, several have reported challenges such as:

A Lack of Productivity

Parents who are figuring out how to work from home with a baby may be experiencing a drop in typical productivity levels. They are not alone. Between the global crisis and making sure your household is safe and healthy, it’s normal not to remain focused 100% of the time.

If you find yourself losing momentum or unable to focus, cut yourself some slack during this time. Understand that this situation is not “normal.” It is perfectly acceptable to find it difficult to maintain full productivity levels at a time like this.

Providing Children with Enough Care and Education

All of a sudden, parents have taken on yet another critical role in their child’s lives: teacher.

Teachers (many of whom are also working from home with kids) across the world are going above and beyond to keep kids active and educated online during the pandemic. But ultimately, it boils down to the parents.

It is important for parents working from home to recognize that they are not teachers by trade and to give themselves leniency when it comes to educating their children. You’re not going to have all the answers.  You’re only going to have so much time to dedicate to your children’s needs and education.

Schools and families across the country are banding together to create resources for parents working from home with kids. From Facebook groups to online guides, parents have a wealth of resources at their fingertips. Reach out to your kids’ school system and teachers to see what they recommend or can offer.

Feelings of Isolation

With extra responsibilities, greater societal restrictions, and a constant stream of bad news online, it’s natural to experience feelings of isolation.

It’s all too common for parents working from home to feel stressed given the nature of this situation. On top of your typical job responsibilities, you are now in charge of your child’s activities throughout the day. Working from home with a baby or little kids is not for the faint of heart. It is tough for everyone.

It’s important to find ways to recharge throughout the day or set aside time to let those emotions play themselves out in a safe space. It’ll take some time to discover what works best for you.

When it gets a bit too tough, reach out to those you trust or a professional to discuss these new feelings of isolation and worry.

How to Work from Home With Kids: 8 Effective Tips for Parents

Every family has their own way of tackling this crisis. It will take some trial and error to find what works best for you and your kids. But perhaps these tips will come in handy.

1. Create a To-Do List with Only a Few Items

Get groceries.

Make sure the kids did their homework.

Compile reports for the quarterly board meeting.

Hop on a video chat with the marketing team.

Doesn’t it seem as though your to-do list is ten times longer these days?

When dads and moms work from home, they may have many more tasks to accomplish each day. As a result, trying to accomplish too much in a single day can lead to burnout, productivity declines, and poor mental health.

Instead of trying to be a super-parent and achieve it all in a matter of 24 hours, create small to-do lists every day.

On these lists, include:

  • One task that must get done
  • Two larger tasks
  • A handful of small, easy tasks

With only five or six items on your daily list, your workday and family life will seem much easier to manage.

As you navigate each day, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to best formulate your task lists for work and family. And, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete everything on your task list. Life goes on, and in the grand scheme of things, one task is a drop in the ocean.

2. Communicate Clearly

With the new move to remote working, companies and employees are discovering the importance of clear communication more than ever before.

As a parent, superior communication must become your superpower during the stay-at-home orders. There are several groups you must properly communicate with to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding your routine, availability, and work responsibilities.

Your Boss and Colleagues

For many companies, working from home is uncharted territory. For working parents, this means clearly explaining your at-home situation to your boss, manager, colleagues, and anyone you may manage, too.

Let your company know that you have children at home and that their well-being is also a priority for you. This might mean that conference calls may have to be before a certain time. Or that you might not respond to an email or message instantly.

Don’t be afraid to block off certain hours for family needs, too. If you know your baby is fussy around a certain time, don’t accept conference calls or team meetings during those hours. Set your boundaries and communicate with your team about your current availability.

Teachers

Just like parents, teachers are struggling to keep up with the demands from their school district and the new online class formats, all while striving to provide a quality education for their students.

At the same time, parents are worried about their kids falling behind in school or retaining the information with the endless distractions at home.

Reach out to your child’s teachers to discuss your concerns and ask questions. After all, they’re there to help!

When you do speak with your child’s teacher, do so with empathy. Remember, teachers have a ton on their plates and are also balancing their job and family. Communicate with understanding and ask if there’s any way you can support them, too!

Your Kids

As a parent, your family is your top priority, followed by your job. When these priorities intersect, it can become confusing for children.

You must explain to your kids that you will be working from home now. Just as they will now be doing their schoolwork and classes at home.

Keep in mind that this transition is confusing for everyone, but most of all, for little children. While clear communication is key with this age group, so is constant communication. You may need to remind the kids about your work responsibilities regularly.

Your Partner/Spouse/Family Members

If you live with another individual, whether it’s a spouse or family member, communicating about yours and the kids’ needs is vital.

If possible, work out a plan for helping the kids throughout the day that coincides with each person’s work responsibilities. Discuss ways to overlap your work schedules with the kids’ educational requirements in a way that also doesn’t derail your job responsibilities and tasks. This may require some flexibility and compromise, but tackling this new schedule as a team is critical!

Regardless of how you decide to manage your household and job right now, communication is the most important aspect of your time at home.

3. Create Your Own Space for Work

Many households undergoing a re-structuring, thanks to the quarantine. In some homes, the kitchen table is now a classroom, and the guest room is a brand new home office.

To get yourself into a productive mindset, find a spot in your home to dedicate as your new home office. It can be a card table in your bedroom or a full room—whatever works best for your daily lifestyle and family.

Once you’ve designated a specific spot in the house to be your work area, communicate this to your kids and family members. If you’re in your “office,” kids should know not to interrupt you unless it is an absolute emergency.

Of course, it may take a few times for this boundary to resonate with the little ones, but after a while, they’ll understand!

4. Demonstrate What Working from Home Looks Like

For some families, the kids have never seen their parents “at work.” This means that you’ll need to demonstrate what working looks like.

Show the little ones your new workspace, explain to them what you’ll be doing in that spot, and why it’s important that you have alone time when you’re there. It may take a bit to sink in, so don’t fret if you have to repeat the process a few times. After all, kids learn best from proper repetition! This process will help kids separate your time at work from your time as mom or dad.

Additionally, take the time to teach them what to do in specific scenarios that may arise while you’re working. For instance, if mom is on a conference call, but dad is cooking lunch for the family, which parent should the child ask for assistance? Or, if they have a question about their schoolwork but both parents are working, what should the child do in that situation?

Spend time together as a family discussing and role-playing various scenarios so that your kids know what to do in different situations.

5. Recognize that Interruptions Will Happen

As much as you prepare your family and yourself to avoid work interruptions, they will happen. It’s inevitable. Of course, there are things you can do to avoid interruptions as much as possible.  This includes muting yourself on calls if necessary or investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

However, when something goes awry or not according to plan, take a deep breath and roll with it. Remind yourself that this work and living situation is out of the norm for everyone.

Be sure to remind your coworkers of this principle too. It’s difficult for them to control the interruptions in their households as well! If everyone at your company is understanding of the possibility of interruptions, then it won’t be a big deal at all.

6. Adopt a Schedule that Works for You

The key to working remotely with kids is routine. Between your productivity levels at work and their schooling, adhering to a routine is beneficial for everyone in the household.

Your schedule doesn’t need to be rigid with every minute planned out in advance. Additionally, you don’t have to be one of those parents that rises at 4:00 am for sunrise yoga and journaling. Do what works best for you!

Give your kids guidelines of when you’ll be working and when they’re expected to do their schoolwork, activities, etc. If possible, overlap these times with their teacher’s availability for streamlined learning.

Work-life balance is crucial for maintaining a healthy home environment when your house becomes your office. It’s critical to find a distinct separation between the two. Doing so will also help the kids understand when it’s time to play and when mom and dad need to work.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

This is a new situation for everyone. No one is going to have the right answer or the perfect solution to a problem. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to your friends, family, or colleagues for help when you need it.

When your workload becomes too much to handle with the current crisis, talk to your team and boss about reassigning tasks or coming up with a solution that works for everyone in the company. Discuss if certain projects can be put on the back-burner until things calm down a bit, or how to better streamline your tasks and responsibilities, given the circumstances.

Or, if you need time alone to decompress and recharge, talk to your partner about watching the kids for an hour or two (or however long you need) while you relax.

And, don’t forget to reach out to friends and chat! Ask for their advice on handling a situation you’re dealing with while working at home with kids. While we can’t be together during the crisis, we can still rely on our friends and family for wisdom and sound advice.

8. Take Advantage of Online Tools and Resources

The Internet is a gold mine. Whatever you could possibly need for managing your home and job during COVID-19 is online. Take advantage of resources such as:

Remote Work Resources

If you’re new to remote work, the change of environment and pace may throw you for a loop. Fortunately, there are several blogs and online communities to guide you.

Check out PGi’s Work from Home Resource Hub. Read through HubSpot’s article “How to Work From Home: 20 Tips From People Who Do It Successfully” to hear from seasoned pros. Or, take a look at Buffer’s remote work journey through their Open Blog. Be sure to browse Trello’s top telecommuting articles in their Work from Home Guide, too. To get tips and tricks from other remote workers, join online communities like Reddit’s Remote Work community.

Tools for Working from Home

To conquer working from home with kids and babies, you’ll need a few tools in your corner. These platforms help you stay in contact with your work team while navigating your daily to-do list and keeping the kids entertained.

Some of the top telecommuting tools include:

  • Slack – Messaging platform
  • GlobalMeet Collaboration – Video conferencing tool
  • Google Drive – File storage
  • DropBox – File storage
  • Basecamp – Project management platform
  • Trello – Project management platform
  • Zoho – Project management platform
  • Todoist – To do list management
  • Toggl – Time tracking app

Your company may already be using a myriad of tools designed to keep your team on track, regardless of their location. If not, talk to your team about implementing new tools and platforms to make working from home a seamless, enjoyable experience for the entire company.

Company Resources

Ask your HR department about the resources and additional benefits your company provides. Some companies offer insurance-sponsored counseling, fitness stipends, online learning benefits, and more. Some of these resources and offers may prove to be beneficial to your new work-from-home lifestyle.

Free Online Activities

There will be times when you need to keep the kids entertained while you work. While you might not want to stick them in front of the TV all afternoon, you can take advantage of free online activities.

From online museum tours at the Boston’s Children Museum to live animal streams at the Georgia Aquarium and San Diego Zoo, your kids will have fun interacting with educational material online while you work.

Spend time as a family finding and compiling age-appropriate online and offline games, activities, crafts, and more, that the kids can enjoy while you work from home.

Working from Home with Kids Isn’t Easy, But It’s Possible

Remote work has gone from a new trend to an entire societal shift. Working at home with kids isn’t an easy feat. But with the right frame of mind and a few tools, parents can set clear work and family boundaries that help create a productive environment.

What tips have helped you work from home with kids?

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GlobalMeet Customers Share the Love https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/02/globalmeet-customers-share-the-love/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/02/globalmeet-customers-share-the-love/#respond Thu, 13 Feb 2020 21:55:39 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27615 Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day. We love our customers. They are the backbone of our business and it is the customers who help GlobalMeet thrive. After all without you, PGi would not exist in the first place. GlobalMeet was created based on a real need in the industry for quality audio, web …

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Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day.

We love our customers. They are the backbone of our business and it is the customers who help GlobalMeet thrive. After all without you, PGi would not exist in the first place.

GlobalMeet was created based on a real need in the industry for quality audio, web and video conferencing. From the very start, we’ve designed business communications tools with our customers in mind. And continue to iterate on our products based on your feedback.

Thank you to all of our customers who have trusted us to help you connect with your most valued employees, customers and partners. Without your trust, support and feedback, we could not continue to innovate and provide you with the business communications tools you need to run your business, power video meetings and deliver unified communications. Thank you to everyone who has posted reviews on G2 CrowdTrustRadius, and Gartner Peer Insights. Your feedback means the world to us.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we want to take a moment to share some of the love our customers have spread about GlobalMeet. We appreciate you and your love for our platform.

Ease of Use

“I love everything about this product. I am able to schedule meetings, send out updates to meetings, one-click login for guests, no plug-in needed to join the meeting.”– Samantha M, AssetZone

“With GlobalMeet Collaboration, it’s easy to access and connect from a mobile phone or desktop – you can start a conference anytime, anywhere.” – Dawn Brown McGlotten, University of Pennsylvania Heath System

“PGi provides excellent product, services and roadmap.” – Farrah Dean, Briacell Therapeutics Corp

Global Reach

“GlobalMeet Collaboration is a great way to connect colleagues who are hundreds of miles apart.” – Emily Mandrup, LBA Realty

“This application helps us to connect with users across the globe.” – Kathleen Dolan, Monsoon Capital

“GlobalMeet Collaboration provides an easy to use conference calling platform which can be shared across the globe.” – Bruce Garthwaite, Oceaneering

Reliability

“Love the dedicated phone lines, super-responsive customer service and consistent up time.” – President, Marketing & Advertising

“I love GlobalMeet. It’s easy to use in almost every way possible, easy to install, easy to boot up, and best of all I’ve never had this platform freeze during the middle of a presentation.” – Program Manager, Computer Software Company

“Great conference call platform for streamlined conferencing and meetings.” – Donnie Williams, Scott Equipment Company

Are you ready to experience the love on our video communications platform? 

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A Painless Approach to Scheduling Meetings Across Time Zones https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/02/a-painless-approach-to-scheduling-meetings-across-time-zones/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/02/a-painless-approach-to-scheduling-meetings-across-time-zones/#respond Wed, 05 Feb 2020 22:22:38 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27598 Colleagues who live far apart still work together—quite a lot, in fact. One in-depth survey found that about 48% of global teams collaborate every business day. Yet, 56% of the respondents to that same survey said collaborating across time zones is challenging. While there’s no silver bullet for this logistical headache, we’ve got a couple of tricks up our …

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Colleagues who live far apart still work together—quite a lot, in fact. One in-depth survey found that about 48% of global teams collaborate every business day. Yet, 56% of the respondents to that same survey said collaborating across time zones is challenging. While there’s no silver bullet for this logistical headache, we’ve got a couple of tricks up our sleeve that seems to help. Try these before your next meeting across time zones and when in doubt, record online meetings to keep everyone in the loop.

USA Rule of Thumb: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

If your team is spread across the U.S. or if you have clients in different states, you could be working with up to four major time zones: Eastern (EST), Central (CST), Mountain (MST), and Pacific (PST). But instead of memorizing who’s in which time zone, we’ve found an easy solution that works for everyone most of the time: 2:00 p.m. EST.

2:00 p.m. on the East Coast—11:00 a.m. on the West Coast—is often the perfect time for a meeting. It’s optimal because it allows those working in the more Western time zones to get into their workday groove, but it doesn’t pressure the East Coasters to stay late after business hours.

Even better, if someone has a conflict at that time, an hour earlier or later will often still be among the best times for a meeting. These can be scheduled using meeting apps.

Great Tool for International Meetings

We found an awesome tool that everyone who schedules international meetings should know about: World Time Buddy. WTB is a free, well-designed tool that shows you what time it is in every relevant time zone at the same time. It’s simple, but it helps a lot. Even better, you can invite everyone to the meeting with a couple of clicks, straight from WTB. The tool can sync up and create a meeting invite on Outlook, iCalendar, and Google Calendar. Nice, right?

When All Else Fails, Record Online Meetings

Sometimes, it’s just not possible to get everyone there at the same time. But in this day and age, there’s no need for the people who can’t make it to miss out entirely.

With a leading collaboration solution, you can effortlessly record online meetings and automatically send a meeting recording, which is a great way to keep everyone included despite a time zone conflict.

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Why a Scalable Communications Platform is Key to the Modern Enterprise https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/why-a-scalable-communications-platform-is-key-to-the-modern-enterprise/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/why-a-scalable-communications-platform-is-key-to-the-modern-enterprise/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:23:16 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27573 For the time being, you can still envision a thriving enterprise without a scalable communications platform. However, the sun is setting on that vision. Soon, it’ll be exponentially more difficult for an enterprise to operate without unified communications as a service (UCaaS). Here are the signs we see pointing to this: The Decline of the Landline …

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For the time being, you can still envision a thriving enterprise without a scalable communications platform. However, the sun is setting on that vision. Soon, it’ll be exponentially more difficult for an enterprise to operate without unified communications as a service (UCaaS). Here are the signs we see pointing to this:

The Decline of the Landline

The future is in the cloud. You can tell by how quickly cloud-based VoIP technology started to wreak havoc on the sprawling empire that was legacy telecom. After all, AT&T itself has pledged to move to the public cloud within four years. When AT&T is forced to change, you know it’s not a fad.

It’s not just that consumers and businesses started to cut their landlines in favor of cell phones. The mass abandonment of the landline came hand in hand with a rise in cloud-delivered communications, including Skype, FaceTime, and IP texting. For many people, video and chat are just as relevant as voice-only communications. In fact, most people—including enterprise employees—take these tools for granted.

For enterprises, this means that employees will increasingly demand cloud-delivered capabilities (video conferencing, text-based chat, instant file sharing, etc.) at work. If they can’t get these capabilities from an employer-sanctioned provider, they’ll use their personal resources instead. If enterprises want staff to communicate via enterprise-owned channels, they’ll need to provide access to those now-commonplace capabilities. UCaaS is the solution to that.

The Need for Control and Accessibility of Internal Assets

Today, knowledge work entails a substantial amount of digital collaboration. This includes the co-production of internal documents as well as digital conversations outside of email, such as chat and video.

The optimal tool for this collaboration needs to meet two conditions, at a minimum:

  • It needs to be seamlessly accessible for all involved
  • It needs to be secure enough for confidential information

The need for an enterprise communications tool to meet these two conditions eliminates anything that’s managed locally (e.g., Word documents with tracked changes). It also eliminates free cloud-based tools that can’t be monitored and controlled, including Google Docs, which has seen some high-profile security problems.

Enterprises (and some smaller businesses, like law firms) have internal assets that need to be secured. At the same time, employees in different locations need to collaborate on those assets and access them centrally.

UCaaS addresses these needs, offering both reliability and security by creating redundancies that protect data and help prevent downtime.

The Surge in Remote Work

The upward trend in remote work across many professions is another driver that will push enterprises to adopt UCaaS.

In an office, employees can connect and collaborate instantly by tapping each other on the shoulder. For remote teams, the closest substitute is a robust communications platform that makes text chat, video, and document sharing equally fast and simple. To prevent productivity loss as a result of remote work, enterprises will need to adopt seamless, simple, location-independent communications.

By the way, that surge in remote work even includes office-based employees.

“Today’s workforce expects to be able to work from any location at any time,” says Sukamal Banerjee, corporate vice-president and head of IoT WoRKS at HCL Technologies. “[This] sets a high bar for enterprise IT teams to deliver against. We expect to see more suppliers that can deliver a location and device-agnostic, integrated suite of video, chat, and voice products that empower the workforce of tomorrow.”

A single unified, scalable communications platform is the best way for enterprises to make remote work possible without compromising visibility, security, or productivity.

The Rise of Automation

Last but not least, enterprises have a better understanding of the monetary value of automation. As McKinsey found, automation in HR, finance, and IT divisions could help companies achieve 10% cost savings within 18-24 months, and 30% over the longer term. Soon, companies that are avoiding automation will no longer be able to afford to do so.

The rising need for automation extends to the communication-based tasks that knowledge workers perform every day. From streamlined calendar management to automated note-taking, transcription, and file management, UCaaS comes with built-in automation tools. Especially for non-technical people and departments, it’s one of the most natural ways to adopt automation to work smarter.

The Times Have Changed

When people heard Bob Dylan’s song “The Times, They Are a-Changin’” on the radio, they could never have imagined listening to it on a cloud-based service like Spotify. Video conferencing was possible only on Star Trek. But now, it’s hard to imagine life without these communications tools. UCaaS is how enterprises can—and must—keep up with the times.

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Want Better Teamwork? Here’s How to Make it Happen. https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/want-better-teamwork-heres-how-to-make-it-happen/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/want-better-teamwork-heres-how-to-make-it-happen/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 17:50:15 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27566 Deep down, we all know the importance of harmonious collaboration. It makes us more loyal. It can make us look forward to the workday. And of course, when people truly put their heads together, productivity soars. Now is a great time to unite your team around better collaboration. Here’s how: Embed Communication Into Company Culture This one comes …

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Deep down, we all know the importance of harmonious collaboration. It makes us more loyal. It can make us look forward to the workday. And of course, when people truly put their heads together, productivity soars. Now is a great time to unite your team around better collaboration. Here’s how:

Embed Communication Into Company Culture

This one comes from a UC Today interview with our own Lyndsay Cook. Especially if you’re a team leader, encourage people to forge those non-work-related connections. We all know they improve our ability to connect at work, so why not act on that? Here are a few ideas:

  • Start meetings with icebreaker questions
  • Make a just-for-fun chat channel
  • Have regular social events (they don’t need to be lavish for you to see the benefits)

You might even want to facilitate some meta-communication (communication about communication) on your team. In a relaxed setting, encourage team members to share what works and what doesn’t when it comes to collaboration.

Don’t Be Afraid to Accelerate a Conversation

Email is your #1 biggest time sink, inhaling about one-third of your day. But often, a single half-hour video call could save you the trouble of reading and writing a dozen emails or more.

If you’re thinking, “I’d like to talk face to face,” the person you’re emailing might be thinking the same thing. Take the chance—they just might thank you for it.

Reduce the Friction That Inhibits Collaboration

If you’re a team or company leader, you’re in a good position to reduce friction between team members who are trying to collaborate.

One way to reduce friction is to reinforce your team’s core goals and standards continually. This is extra important on a cross-functional team since most of those are dysfunctional. The dysfunction often stems from misalignment. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about the basic things: routines, schedules, and expectations. At the same time, keep driving home your team’s most essential goals, so everyone’s pulling the rope in the same direction.

Another problem that can inhibit collaboration is a lack of unity in communication channels. If switching from email to chat to video takes too long, it wastes people’s time—and, worse, it derails the conversation.

Almost like magic, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) makes that barrier disappear. 

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Viamedia Bridges Office Communication Using GlobalMeet https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/viamedia-bridges-office-communication-using-globalmeet/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/viamedia-bridges-office-communication-using-globalmeet/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2020 17:45:02 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27553 In 2001, seven entrepreneurs met at a library and envisioned Viamedia: a cross-media advertising platform to connect cable TV audiences with local advertisers. Today, Viamedia’s employees work in 70 different cities. Collaboration remains the “secret sauce” that catalyzes growth and prosperity at the company. Every day, hundreds of hours of creative collaboration happen across the globe …

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In 2001, seven entrepreneurs met at a library and envisioned Viamedia: a cross-media advertising platform to connect cable TV audiences with local advertisers.

Today, Viamedia’s employees work in 70 different cities. Collaboration remains the “secret sauce” that catalyzes growth and prosperity at the company. Every day, hundreds of hours of creative collaboration happen across the globe among Viamedia’s staff, customers, and partners. Here’s why GlobalMeet is the platform Viamedia has chosen to support them.

Time-Saving, Intuitive Design

When evaluating solutions, Viamedia leadership stood firmly in favor of a platform that would make it as simple as possible to connect. GlobalMeet’s intuitive platform saves valuable time for Viamedia employees through general ease-of-use and smart collaboration features like recording, transcription, and document sharing.

Easy Scheduling

Companywide, Viamedia uses Microsoft Outlook as its calendar solution. Since GlobalMeet has an Outlook plugin, employees can schedule their virtual meetings directly from Outlook. The staff love this because it keeps the meeting scheduling process as efficient as possible.

No Downloads Required

One of our most-loved features was inspired by a simple observation. Many virtual meetings start late because people need to download (or update) an app.

So, we’ve done away with that problem. While GlobalMeet Collaboration offers both a desktop and mobile app, attendees don’t need to download the app to attend a meeting. This is an incredibly helpful feature for Viamedia, as they speak with more than 60 video partners and many key customers weekly. Since there are no downloads required, those meetings are more comfortable for everyone and more likely to start on schedule. Internally, staff can choose to use the desktop and mobile apps to access the platform’s full feature set.

“I love that you don’t have to use an app if you don’t want to,” said Madeline Kissel, Business Development & Affiliate Relations Manager at Viamedia. “We often host meetings in GlobalMeet Collaboration with people outside of Viamedia. Attendees can easily click to join the meeting through a web browser. It’s so easy for our customers, and a great experience, too.”

Reliability

“We need the technology we use to just work,” Madeline Kissel said. “GlobalMeet Collaboration is always reliable. Once, in a multi-market training hosted by our partner in another meeting platform, the technical issues were so disruptive that the Viamedia team asked to switch to the GlobalMeet Collaboration platform to complete the training.”

Jealous?

We’re extremely proud to provide a reliable solution that Viamedia can trust and depend on. Want the same perks and benefits for your enterprise? Learn more about GlobalMeet Collaboration today.

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Screen Sharing is Worth 1,000 Words https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/screen-sharing-is-worth-1000-words/ https://www.pgi.com/blog/2020/01/screen-sharing-is-worth-1000-words/#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 17:29:06 +0000 https://www.pgi.com/blog/?p=27544 Imagine this: you’re getting your sea legs with a new digital tool. You’ve downloaded the application, tinkered with your settings, and done the default on-boarding tutorial. Still, you end up running into something that’s not intuitive for you. You’re looking for a feature that was promised to you, but you can’t find it. What Would You …

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Imagine this: you’re getting your sea legs with a new digital tool. You’ve downloaded the application, tinkered with your settings, and done the default on-boarding tutorial. Still, you end up running into something that’s not intuitive for you. You’re looking for a feature that was promised to you, but you can’t find it.

What Would You Prefer to do Next?

  1. Comb through often-outdated documentation and tutorial videos looking for the answer to your problem.
  2. Hop on a 10-minute screen sharing session with a customer service representative.

Most likely, you’d prefer option two. And if you work in the SaaS space, you can bet your customers would prefer it, too. Yet, SaaS companies continue to spend countless employee hours creating documents that are no longer 100% accurate after only a few months.

This isn’t just a recipe for excessive re-work. It can also block continuous improvement. That’s because making a major change (even if it would be great for customers) requires updating the now-obsolete documentation.

Screen Sharing in 2020

In 2020, leaders will need to “think different.” One way to do this is to encourage customer service teams to embrace screen sharing and incorporate it into their workflow. This may not seem more efficient, but the saved time adds up. Screen sharing is faster than “flying blind” by trying to talk through a problem over the phone. It’s also more effective than presenting all customers with the same faceless instructions.

What’s Good for Your Customers Can Be Good for You, Too

We find that many customers try to resolve issues by themselves initially, and they often succeed. But when they don’t, they’re relieved and thankful when they can talk to a real person and see the problem solved on screen before their eyes. This builds loyalty.

Having screen sharing available at a moment’s notice isn’t just good for customers—it’s good for your employees, too. Easy-to-use, intuitive collaboration technology grows businesses by removing the friction caused by slow communication. Try screen sharing for yourself. 

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