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In This Issue
Getting to Know You
What song would you sing on karaoke night?
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne
If you could have dinner with any three people, past or present, who would they be?
My Grandfather, Barack Obama, and Albert Einstein
The desk life just isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a successful business. Having the right tools with you can make it easier to enjoy your new Digital Nomad life.
When it comes to these tools, you have to look both at hardware, and software. What products and services will fit you best, and are an addition to your travel experience, rather than a detriment.
Tool #1 – A new Laptop
If you currently have a laptop, there may be nothing wrong with it. Today’s portable computers are built well, and last much further than their older brethren. So why would we suggest such a large expense when you’re just about to start travelling and building a new business?
Because of the small differences.
At first glance, any new laptop may seem the same as your older one. Afterall, it’s a screen and a keyboard. It may have a few fancy new features, but is it really worth it if your current laptop works? Well, yes.
The main benefits are going to come from 3 places: Battery Life, Processor, and WiFi capabilities.
The battery life is obvious: A newer laptop will have a newer battery, which will both last longer, and will be more reliable. With laptops these days sticking to integrated and non-removable batteries, it will be a huge life saver. You won’t even have to leave your beach chair in order to recharge! The processor is a bit more interesting: newer processors are not only more powerful, but they are also more efficient. Efficiency in this case refers to power drain – meaning providing more battery life for more power. Finally, WiFi is improving everywhere in the world, but new technologies like WiFi 6 are not commonly used yet. A newer laptop will also contain a more powerful, and also more efficient WiFi adaptor. Meaning you can get a better, more consistent signal and connection, no matter where you are.
Tool #2 – A new(ish) Smartphone
A smartphone is your companion. Between notes, contacts, calls, agenda, calendar, and myriad other features, for some it’s closer than their own family. A new smartphone can also have many of the same advantages of a new laptop, meaning a newer, more efficient processor, a newer battery, and more powerful signal.
But unlike a laptop where usually the higher you go in price, the better it is, with smartphones, you’d want to be aiming at a new – but midrange – smartphone. Why midrange?
Today’s midrange smartphones tend to be more powerful than yesterday’s flagships. The technology is moving THAT fast. And some of the limitations are what make the midrange phone experience better than a flagship for travelling.
The processor tends to be more conservative. While certainly fast, it will draw less power, by the fact that it’s more efficient than previous processors. Battery life tends to be better on midrange devices, with companies not being as concerned with aesthetics, making thicker devices with chunkier batteries. And things like a lower resolution screen, and less gimmicky features tend to leave you with a solid smartphone experience, for a smaller price, and no frills. Since today’s devices are built as a SOC (system on a chip), the same improvements in terms of signal strength and performance will be included.
And of course, less people will want to steal your chunky plastic brick, rather than your shiny new iPhone.
Tool #3 – VideoConferencing Software
If you work with a team, you’ll want to speak with your team. If you work with clients… you’ll probably want to speak to your clients. As you’re travelling, email and messaging may be the best way to reach you, and conversely communicate with your stakeholders. But text on a screen pales with comparison with a phone call. And that in itself pales in comparison to a full fledged face-to-face conversation. Videoconferencing is the next best thing, and one more of the essential tools you need.
You can truly engage all of the senses of a viewer when they can both see, and hear you.
Just make sure that you’re not calling in from a beautiful beach somewhere, if the place you’re calling is in the middle of a dark and dreary winter.
Tool #4 – Noise Cancelling Headphones
Silence is Golden. On a plane? Put on your headphones and relax. In a busy cafe? Put on your headphones and tune out the noise. Making a video call to your clients? Better believe you need to put those headphones on. Yes the noise cancelling needs a charge, but the trade off is worth it. The sound of silence speaks for itself.
Consider a wired pair, that can be plugged in to the laptop to save some battery life. But with smartphones these days dropping the headphone jack, you may find yourself having to go completely wireless. Which can be a microcosm for your new life, living untethered from your desk.
Tool #5 – A Notebook
Know what the tools above this one all need? Yup, the occasional charge.
Even with a new laptop with a highly efficient processor, a new midrange phone with a massive battery, and some great new headphones… you’re gonna run out of juice.
Know what doesn’t run out of battery? A notebook and a trusty pen. Has worked for centuries, and will work for centuries more. Take down notes, write appointments and important information. And even doodle while you’re waiting for your laptop to charge.
A notebook may be the most essential of the tools on that list. Except for just one more…
Tool #6 – Sunglasses
To enjoy the beaches you’ll be visiting of course.
So if you’re ready to start your new business venture, and have a great time travelling. But still need a central place to receive your mail, and a competent staff to answer your phone, then look no further than The Rostie Group. Pick your package and sign up today!
I can’t wait to get back to the office…
Did you ever think that a single statement revolving around work would be so globally unanimous?
Working from home used to be a heralded privilege, but as we find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, working from home has become the new norm.
Although we’re only less than a month into “social distancing” which has seemingly brought the working world to a halt, many people are already at their wits end with their new daily work routines.
It doesn’t help that there are now screaming children, needy pets, and the feeling of imprisonment running through the back of everyone’s minds.
With the world in such an uncertain place, it’s probably best to come up with some tactics as to how you can continue to be productive while working from home. After all, this may be something that could be in place for an extended period of time.
Luckily, Time Magazine released a March 2020 article on “5 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You’re Working from Home”.
In addition to embracing your new lifestyle while implementing some of these tips, a structured plan will also help to alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia in your own house.
Why worry about all of the operational procedures that have been thrown out the window over night?
Well, now you don’t have to.
At The Rostie Group we find ourselves in the unique position to provide help in these trying times by providing discounted services to help you, your business, and your employees continue to operate, and be successful.
So before you scream and shout about wanting to go back to the office, it’s time to embrace the opportunity to spend more time with family, while being productive and still earning a paycheck. There are a lot of people in the world who would love to be in the position you’re in now.
Take advantage of it.
If you want to take advantage of what we can offer, click here to contact us, and ask us what we can do for you!
So you and your team are working remotely for the first time – how are you managing so far?
Remote work is significantly less productive for many employees than in-office work, but sometimes that’s going on around us demands it.
If you’re like most teams, you’re coming up with some of the most common issues out there – most of these have to do with increased barriers to communication.
Everything from team members getting lonely, being less understanding of coworkers, and taking longer to access critical information.
There are a few short term solutions that you can implement to make sure that your team is as connected as possible during this crisis, and to make sure that productivity doesn’t take too much of a hit.
1. Daily Check-ins: A structured, morning and/or afternoon call to discuss all of the “little but actually critical” details that get lost when you’re working remotely.
2. Additional leadership and morale support: these are needless to say, difficult times. Your team will likely need more support than usual, especially because they are missing the informal day-to-day personal interaction that they usually get.
3. Ensure that tools and procedures are in place for critical communications. Maybe that’s an office IM tool (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.) or a new video chat platform. Make sure that team members know who to contact for what, and how to contact those people depending on the scale of the issue.
Let’s face it. Working from home, while great for some industries, especially those with a lot of individual work, isn’t great for everything. Industries that require teams to coordinate and communicate frequently (i.e. most of them) are going to see a significant productivity drop. Use the above three strategies to mitigate that productivity drop until we can all get back into the office, and get back to performing at top levels again.
Even if you are admittedly “old-school” and prefer face-to-face communication, chances are that you will one day have to turn to video conferencing to stay in touch with colleagues and clients.
You may think video conferencing doesn’t demand the same level of polish you would bring to an in-person interview or client meeting, but the visual impact is still very much the same.
We have come up with six top tips to help you make the best impression during a video-conference.
- Light it up : Lights and angles are just as essential in video conferencing as they are for photo shoots and selfies. As a general rule, avoid fluorescent lights as they can be harsh and cast unflattering shadows. Place your primary light source behind the camera, this way your light and your camera are both pointing in the same direction.
- Choose a neutral background: Whether you are conducting your video conference at home or in a formal office, make sure your background is always professional. Less is more. In other words, you may be fond of all those family pictures hanging on the wall but the person on the other side of the camera may find them distracting.
- Dressing for your videoconference: Choose solid, bold colors. Simple jewelry is best. Ladies, avoid earrings that dangle or any accessories that makes noise when you move. For most video conference calls, you can wear whatever you want from the waist down -unless you think you might need to stand up for some reason, though I feel if you’re going to rock a power suit on top, pj or tracksuit bottoms wont help you feel your at your most professional or empowered best.
- Maintain good eye contact: You will look like a complete novice if you are not looking directly at the camera during the video conference, always imagine the person is in the room with you. You wouldn’t keep looking at the floor or out the window if it was an actual face to face meeting would you?
- Get the best audio visual: If you do a lot of video conferences, consider investing in an external webcam with high definition capabilities. Depending on your surroundings, you may want to use a headset during your call. However, a video chat without headphones looks more natural, and in my opinion more professional.
- Keep your notes nearby: A top tip I once read was, if you ever need to look at some notes during your video conference, jot them down and tape them next to your camera so you’re not shuffling with pieces of paper during the meeting. It helps you stay on track also in case you get a little nervous and forget what you were going to say.
Even if you feel nervous about video conferencing, remember that practice makes perfect. Once you get the hang of being in front of the camera, you will have mastered yet another invaluable business skill-the art of the video conference.
There is no doubt that the world is facing an incredible, and in some ways, unprecedented challenge; and while we are all looking forward to getting back to “normal” we have no idea when that will be and what the new “normal” will look like.
And while it’s only natural to feel the need to hunker down and maintain status quo, it is not sustainable and will not benefit your business in the long run.
It must be acknowledged that some industry sectors have been decimated and recovery will be very painful and very slow – we haven’t seen unemployment rates this high in North America since the depression – but there is hope in other sectors and many companies are still hiring!
More companies than ever already have a significant remote workforce in place – a trend that has been growing year over year, while others have recently been forced to implement work from home policies and have the technology in place, or available, to keep in touch with their team, so why not utilize those same technologies for hiring?
Particularly for remote workers there is no reason to not take it one step further and hire without in-person meetings. You can conduct one-on-one phone or video interviews or round-tables, conduct references, background or security checks, all without meeting in person.
It may be a leap of faith but hardly unprecedented.
Realistically, in this current climate, it is not likely that you will be able to physically introduce new employees to your current team. However, you should not risk losing your ideal candidate and what some of our clients are doing to avoid this is working through the interview process by phone or video, securing the hire and leaving an open start date.
Also, when things do return to “normal”, many of the candidates you wanted to speak with may have already moved on to other roles and there will be a lot of companies looking to hire all at the same time.
So before you decide to put all hiring on hold, do consider which roles you realistically can move forward with and avoid the hiring “scramble” that’s sure to come!
Take this opportunity to visit ww.rostie.com, and see all the jobs we have available. If you’re looking to hire, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you find your next great hire!
Over the past couple of weeks, self-isolation and social distancing have become the standard for people around the world. Contrary to initial thoughts, this practice is looking more like the ‘new-norm’ rather than a momentary solution. It’s important that we all take the advice of our leaders and follow instructions to protect those around us from sickness.
It’s especially important that businesses who are able to encourage their employees to work from home moving forward. With a multitude of different platforms to choose from, employees can connect to each other seamlessly from devices that they may have. At Toronto Meetings, we organize and conduct videoconferences for various clients on a daily basis, as well as for our own staff while we work from home.
While many business meetings can transition to phone calls, or simple gatherings via face time, it’s important to remember how much information is conveyed via body language, and facial expressions, that not having it available is like losing one of your senses.
That’s where we come in…
Over the last few weeks we’ve helped a handful of our clients’ set-up and run ‘Virtual Classrooms’ through the training rooms in our centre, allowing attendants to log into their session remotely. There is no need for business to shut-down completely while we’re all staying home, now is the time to adapt to current situations and react responsibly.
In our rooms, you have access to two 80-inch LCD television screens at the front of the room, and two at the rear. Your instructor can project from a variety of different sources directly to the classroom, shifting easily between powerpoint, doc-cam, or many other mediums.
Do you use GoToMeeting, Skype, Webex or Zoom? Not to worry, our new Polycom Studio Video Bars support all major platforms. Your instructor is the only person that actually needs to be present! We’re more than happy to look after everything on our end, as we usually do, so you just have to show up ready to present!
So if you’re ready to continue your classes virtually with no interruptions, check out our available rooms here, and book today!
Is The Rostie Group still open?
Yes! We are still open, with significantly heightened cleaning measures. We are encouraging all of our customers to practice social distancing, but we know that sometimes going into the office is necessary. If more than one member of your team is coming in, we are able to provide you with additional space to maintain social distancing, at no cost.
Are there Rostie Group staff at the centre?
Yes. We are currently operating with a lower number of staff in the office than usual in order to help with social distancing, but our team is fully available on email of over the phone.
What services have been affected?
Aside from complying with Ontario Health recommendations against groups of more than five people together, none of our regular services have been affected. We have temporarily disabled booking meetings online, in order to ensure that no meetings over five people occur. Community amenities like our free coffee and filtered water have been temporarily removed as well.
Have you increased cleaning?
Yes. In addition to the extra cleaning staff provided by our building management, we have also increased cleaning efforts by adding a private cleaning service specific to our centre. The main focus of this extra staff member is to frequently disinfect high-traffic areas, like our reception desk, door handles, and the elevator banks.
Are you still processing Mail?
Yes. We are processing all mail that comes in for our customers. We are able to forward your mail to you, or open it and scan it to you. Email email@example.com for more information.