Most of us in Canada and the US are now on lockdown. Our employers require us to work from home for the next few weeks or so.
Here are five tech tips for you to check out to improve your collaboration when dealing with clients and colleagues.
Tip 1 – Use Your Webcam Wisely
We all use video calls now to speak with our colleagues, our boss and even our clients. Make sure to have light source at your face and to put your chin up. Make sure your head and your shoulders are in the shot. Focus your camera at your eye level , so if use a laptop with a webcam, make sure to put it up on a book or something to raise the webcam to eye level.
Tip 2 – Do Not Be Lagging
We all love the convenience of the wireless internet. But the problem with Wifi is that it could be slow, your calls could drop due to dropped signal and increased latency. To make sure you are not lagging – try connecting with ethernet cable instead directly from your computer / laptop into your router or switch. If cabling is not possible, try moving your router to the center of your house for better performance.
Tip 3 – Update Your Contact Info
You are working from home that usually means you do not have access to your phone landline at the office. Make sure to update your email signature and include the best way to reach you. Is it google hangout? or your cell phone? or maybe it is Skype? Whatever it is – go to your signature setting and update your contact info.
Tip 4 – Prepare Your Laptop
When you are on a video call, try to clean up your desktop a bit. Move over any questionable files or graphics away from desktop. Turn off those notifications as well, you do not want a popup email reply from your friend titled: “How much I hate my boss… ” to appear when you are doing a company’s morning meeting. Just go to Systems – Notifications – and turn those notifications off while you are on a call. Oh and notify your spouse that you will be on call and make sure that you are not disturbed during that time.
Tip 5 – Track Your Time
You want to keep track of time to make sure you stay productive and focused. You can use time management apps like Clockify or you might just want to write down your tasks on a piece of paper and dedicate specific amount of time to it. After say 2 hours , you may want to take 5 minute break, walk around your house or make a cup of coffee as a reward for finishing your task.
Working from home has countless benefits such as reduced commute time, increased productivity and fewer sick days.
But maybe you need a bit more incentive to start working from home? Well now, State of Vermont desperate to attract young people to work in the state will pay you $10k cool Gs if you relocate there.
Why you may ask such a beautiful state such as Vermont is so desperate? Well easy – because young people are leaving the state in droves. As per recent US Census Bureau numbers report showed that Vermont’s median age is 42.8. That means half of Vermonters are older than 42.8 and half younger. As recently as 1990 Vermont’s median age was just under 33 years.
So back to remote work – amazing strategy if we might say. Instead of approaching employers companies to relocate there, Vermont is getting employees to relocate there while continuing to work for their HQ companies in New York or California or Texas. This way they can ensure they can continue taxing those young professionals for their tax coffers.
The way New Remote Worker Grant Program in Vermont works is pretty simple:
be a full-time employee of a business “with its domicile or primary place of business” outside Vermont
perform “the majority of…employment duties remotely from a home office or a co-working space located in the state”
become a full-time resident of Vermont after January 1, 2019
So basically that means you can not just open a new business or start a startup neither can you work as a consultant , etc. You have to be permanently full employed.
Some users went on twitter to say that $10k is not enough to relocate to Vermont
You are wondering of course, if you are Canadian and live in Montreal for example (mere one hour from Vermont border) – can you go and live and work there and collect your $10k? Well, the program states that anyone out of state can apply. Meaning anyone in the world can apply. The only people who are disqualified are Vermonters who already live there.
Winter – Yes, the winter sports are great, but it comes at a price. Winter starts around October and lasts through May. That’s a LONG time to be cold. It even got down to -30F at my house last year. Know what the surface temp on Mars is at noon? It’s ONLY -20F!!! IT WAS 10 DEGREES COLDER AT MY HOUSE THAN IT WAS ON MARS!!
Cost – It’s crazy expensive to live here. The gas prices rival NYC, the food prices are HIGHER than in NYC. The cost of living index puts us at 41 out of 50. That’s pretty high for a small, rural, agrarian state.
Commuting – you need to drive everywhere. There’s no public transit to speak of. I almost miss the NYC subway because despite the smell, crowd, noise and smell (did I mention smell?), at least I got to read for an hour each way. I can’t do that in the car.
People – There’s not really a con here, but some Vermonters can be… um… mercurial? One thing I noticed is that they tend to use landmarks when they give directions. “You go to the bottom of this hill, then make a left at the stand of poplar trees. Go half a mile past the old Smith farm, and make a left at the sugar shack.” Meanwhile, you’re from Pittsburgh and this is the first time you’ve seen trees. WTF, guys?!?
Cars – This state EATS cars. Because of the extreme winters, the roads are covered in brine. You NEED rustproofing on your car, or Vermont will slowly chew it up.
Space – There are very few people in a lot of space. Everything is at least half an hour away from everything else in this state. Yes, other states have this much worse (I’m looking at you, Montana), but it always seems like a long drive to get anywhere.
Wood rot – Water is an abundant resource here. We will never have a drought, at least not where I live. Anything made of wood will need to be treated or rebuilt every 20 years or so. I have tons of work to do on my house to make sure it doesn’t just crumble apart.
Culture – There are maybe 8 museums in the whole state. I used to go to museums a lot in NYC. I’ve memorized most of the exhibits in Vermont already.
Mud season – Between April and sometime in May, we have “mud season”. There are a LOT of dirt roads in Vermont. They become bogs when the snow melts. A common joke is: Bill is walking down his dirt road when he comes upon Frank’s hat in the middle of the road. He lifts it up and see Frank’s head under it. He says, “Frank, you want me to pull you out of the mud?” “Naw, I’m fine, Bill. I have a good, solid horse under me.”
You’re not weird – No matter who you are, where you’re from, what line of work you’re in, what religion you are, what schools you attended, how many Barbie heads you have in the box under your bed, you’re not weird. Vermont is built on weird. Weird is normal here. No one is special because we all are. Keep Vermont Weird
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