5 Ways to Keep in Contact With Working-From-Home Employees

Even if you’ve closed your store or jewelry business temporarily to do your part in flattening the curve of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can still keep in close contact with your employees. And you should—the human connection, and maintaining some semblance of routine, will likely go a long way in preserving our collective sanity during this time of mass quarantine.

Here are five easy ways to keep in touch.

Zoom
It’s the app on every small business owners’ lips these days. The video conferencing service allows you to gather your team on a screen that’s tiled with everyone’s faces and share documents and files with each other instantly. The service also facilitates chat sessions and mobile collaborations. Plans start at $12.49 a month with a one-year commitment, or you can go month-by-month starting at $14.99.

GoTo Meeting
This video conferencing service is an oldie, but still a goodie. GotTo Meeting offers instant, reliable face-to-face meeting interfaces from your desktop, web, or mobile device. Like Zoom, you can chose to tile everyone’s face on a single screen, creating the effect of everyone sitting around a table. The site is offering a free 14-day trial right now, and plans start at $12 per month.

Google Hangouts Meet
This is Google’s conferencing service developed for businesses, and it accommodates larger groups of people, which is perfect for mid-size businesses. Its interfaces are fast, and there’s nothing to download—making getting started with the site a snap. It also has a dedicated app that works well on long walks in the wilderness!

U Meeting
If you anticipate limited contact with your employees in the coming weeks, you might consider the free U Meeting service, which, like Google Hangouts Meet, is entirely web-based (no downloading software). The service’s free tier includes up to 25 participants and 30 minutes per meeting. It’s also good for a laugh: Meeting participants (who will, no doubt, be living in their pj’s these next few weeks/months) can add computer-generated makeup to their faces with the site’s PerfectCam feature. Voilà, instant office polish!

Apple FaceTime and Skype
Phone-based FaceTime and Skype (both free) are still great options for one-on-one meetings and check-ins. Beyond sitting at your desk and hashing out business plans, you and your team members can plan for connected walks, virtual cocktail parties, and other screen-based events.

Here’s hoping we can all embrace the versatility of these virtual connectors!

Top: Jewelry designer Marla Aaron and her staff while meeting on Zoom (photo courtesy of Marla Aaron)

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JCK Magazine Editor