Boardroom briefing: video conferencing tools, employers’ role with health, and keeping up remote team morale


Alternatives to Skype, the vital role for employers in TB and COV-19 health, and keeping remote teams productive. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and coronavirus.

Time to Zoom in?

remote work

Working remotely? Skype is one of many options. Credit: Microsoft

PNG has joined the rest of the world in lockdown, and those workers who can do their job remotely have been asked to stay at home.

With millions of workers worldwide already working remotely due to COVID-19, and millions more likely to follow suit, video conferencing has had a surge in popularity.

US video and web conferencing platform Zoom is currently hosting everything from live-streamed gigs to remote psychology sessions. It’s a worthy successor to Skype in that it adapts to the quality of the internet connection and allows you to test your connection before you start, so you get less lag and less dropouts – especially helpful in PNG.

If you’re new to Zoom, there’s a start page here. There is also a helpful list of alternatives to Skype here.

Role for employers

Yesterday was World TB Day, designed to raise awareness of the dire impact of tuberculosis. As the statistics tell us: in PNG this year, just like last year, about 4,700 people will die from TB.

As PNG’s health authorities go about the difficult task of contact tracing for PNG’s only current case of COVID-19, it’s worth reflecting on how similar the health messages are for both TB and COVID-19, and the vitally important role employers have in helping to protect their employees from both.

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As Ann Clarke, project manager at Businesses for Health: TB & HIV, observes, ‘there is nothing about mitigating the spread of the new coronavirus that we could not have already built into workplace health and safety and kindness programs,’

‘We ask our supporters to promote calm rational discussion about numbers, science and health promotion.’

Keeping the remote team together

People around the world are working remotely to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. Credit: Miles Anthony Smith

An article from Atlassian looks at some of the best virtual team building activities. The story is based on teams that have worked remotely for a long time and looks at how they interact, meet and even have fun with others who are working miles away from them.

Loneliness is cited as one of the main downsides to remote work which can affect an employees’ performance.

Some of techniques include having some ice-breaker questions for the remote chat, mucking around with a gif war, and taking a serious ‘health check’ of how the team is working together.

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