Tag: COVID-19

New Technology Trends in 2021

The year 2020 reshaped our outlook on life more drastically than anyone expected. COVID-19 hastened innovation while changing technology trends, and the general digital ecosystem. It is undeniable, as businesses compete to be on top, that 2021 will be filled with unexpected discoveries and advancements in technology. Let’s check out some of the anticipated technological trends in 2021.

Expansion of remote working

One of the digital areas that has had the most rapid growth during COVID-19 and will probably continue growing. For instance, zoom which initially started back in 2011, has continued to grow and flourish during the previous year, becoming one of the most commonly used online platforms for video conferencing. Digital development is currently taking place to further promote remote working across the globe and improve user experiences especially employee experiences. Chances are further into 2021 physical office working will be left behind and will be replaced by remote work entirely as companies work to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world.

Healthcare development

After the major success of developing the mRNA COVID vaccine, further development and experimentation of new drugs and treatments is highly likely. At the rapid pace of progress and distribution, cost-effectiveness will be a significant factor so the majority of the world population can stay healthy.

Furthermore, to limit the exposure of COVID-19 from patients to health care workers, many places are offering digital healthcare services such as online doctor consultations and a procedure that has no direct contact for the delivery of medication. It is predicted that we will see a surge in healthcare-related advancements in biotech and A.I as well.

Advancements in A.I

This year, due to a huge increase in demand, we expect to see further development and experimentation towards artificial intelligence (A.I). Automation will be a key factor in effectively operating manufacturing if manpower availability becomes a serious issue. Chances are within a year or two, A.I will become mainstream as it has become a useful tool in digital-based learning as well, with many A.I powered platforms and personalized tools entering the market.

Extended development of 5G infrastructure

Development of 5G was on the fast track even before we shifted to a majorly digitally-based world, with a higher demand for faster internet and smart cities there is no doubt we will see a rapid advancement towards 5G-6G internet technology. We hope to see more refined infrastructure and programming and application development from all innovation-centric businesses and companies.

What will 2021 look like?

The technology of the world is developing at an unfathomably rapid pace, with self-driving cars and advanced A.I, the world will certainly look much different by the end of 2021.

Although there will be more challenges ahead and many new behaviorisms will evolve as we continue to learn to live with the influence of COVID-19, with the help of advancing technological innovations and a year full of potential and hidden opportunities, there will be many things to look forward to in 2021.

How to Change Your Picture on Zoom

If there is a winner throughout the COVID pandemic, video conferencing tool Zoom must be a worthy contender. This company has boomed over the last few months and has seen a massive surge in profits compared to only a year ago. There is a lot you can do to personalise your Zoom experience, right from changing the video conference icons, to changing the backdrop of your picture.

Steps to Change Your Zoom Photo

You can change or add a profile picture on Zoom very easily. First launch the Zoom application and then click on your icon that has your initials under the heading Change My Picture.

Once the Zoom web portal is launched in your browser you can log in and view your profile. The existing video conferencing icons are just grey shaded outlines so click on change under your icon. You can then upload your desired picture as a replacement.  Adjust the position if necessary and then click save.

Now when you initiate a Zoom meeting or when you are invited to attend a Zoom meeting, your profile picture will automatically stand out among the other video conferencing icons.

Change Your Zoom Background

You can also change your backdrop by creating a virtual background picture. This is great if you want to maintain privacy but may not be suitable for all occasions.

First sign into your Zoom account and then click on Settings. There is an option that gives you a wide choice of virtual backgrounds or you can also choose your own from your own images.

Using your own image is not quite as easy as you may have to resize it so using the Zoom stock images is undoubtedly the easiest option and there are some great choices too. If you fancy calling from the edge of space, the desert or from a well-known landmark, such as the Taj Mahal, you can do it very easily.

Click on Add Image and save. Now you will be video conferencing from apparently anywhere in the world. This option is extremely quick and easy to do and can be cancelled by simply clicking on NONE in the virtual background settings.

For most people Zoom is providing a means of keeping in touch with friends and family. However this video conferencing tool was designed primarily for business use and it is hard to remember that only a few months ago most of us had never heard of it.

Once the COVID crisis has passed, it seems likely that Zoom will continue to shine so updating your profile and video conferencing icons is a good idea for the future.

It seems likely that a lot of businesses will be using Zoom more than ever so you could find that interviews and other important events will be carried out on Zoom in the future. This means it is important to consider your profile picture as a smart career move, although maybe you should leave the outer space backdrop for your friends.

Networking Ideas for Small Groups during the COVID-19 Quarantine

According to so-called networking experts, there are three “Ps” that are important in any sort of networking, and these are people, people, and more people.  Although this type of categorization is just plain annoying, there is of course truth in it.  So when it comes to thinking up networking ideas for small groups it is important to remember that behind every event, it is the people that matter more than the content of the meeting. Whatever activity you choose is likely ok as long as everyone is engaged with it.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making and maintaining relationships, and in this time of social isolation it is important to have social interaction whether in a work based scenario or amongst friends.  We have all been forced into Zoom calls and lengthy video chats, and it can be difficult to cope with if everyone just sits there and stares at the screen.  Yet something too complicated does not always suit the online format.

If you are working from home and running an online work meeting or seminar, you should always start with an icebreaker. Ask each participant their name and how they are feeling before moving onto the work part of the meeting and that way everyone will feel engaged. This sounds good sense and good manners because it is only polite to introduce people and to put them at their ease.

According to so-called experts in this, you can try asking more off the wall interesting questions too such as  “What is the one thing you are secretly pleased that you don’t have to do now that you are socially distancing?” Or apparently even annoying questions such as, “What will I eat today?” or similar.

In all honesty, asking a work colleague what anybody should eat sounds like a special kind of hell, but one small consolation must be that at least with an online work meeting, you don’t actually have to remain in the same room as these peers.

More Tips

Once the meeting is up and running, you can increase the misery by insisting that everyone takes part in group activities. These would be fun amongst friends but not always appropriate for work colleagues.

One example of networking ideas for small groups that we found described as a fun and playful icebreaker for Zoom is called Sketch Your Neighbour. You draw the person in the next Zoom box to you and then show the picture to the group.

Networking ideas for small groups do not have to be work related. Many small friendship groups and families have taken to online quizzing, like a duck to water. Having virtual drinks together – recreating the bar or pub atmosphere from your own home can be fun. And don’t forget the ever popular Zoom Kitchen Disco. It might seem weird to dance about in your kitchen in front of a panel of faces, but when we all look back to 2020 and the COVID crisis, this is exactly the type of activity we will remember.

Tips for Working Remotely

Working remotely can bring many challenges, especially when you are not used to it.  Many people struggle with maintaining a healthy work life balance when working from home, because the distinctions between the working day and home life can become increasingly blurred.

For the employer it is only good news. It seems we work for far longer and far harder when we work remotely,  so although it is unlikely to negatively impact our job, the downside is that many people report increased stress levels and other mental and physical health problems when working from home. 

Tips for Working Remotely

  • Keep to regular hours. These do not have to be the same as your office hours, but if you set regular hours you will be less tempted to work for longer than usual and be able to switch off once your working day is over.
  • Set up a designated work office to avoid distractions. That way, you can be out of reach of other commitments and unlikely to start domestic chores while you are in work mode. Moving a desk into the spare room or your shed for example is a great way to separate work from home.
  • Take regular breaks. Setting a timer can help you do this and you can use the time to take a work, stretch, meditate or whatever helps your stress levels decompress.
  • Avoid distractions of texts, phone calls or social media messages.  Deal with these once you have finished your work, or you will find that your time is eaten up during the day.

As well as taking these steps to manage your workload from home, you should not neglect your workplace environment. As well as ensuring that you have the correct office furniture or at least a table and chair at the correct height, you can customise your workplace by bringing aromatherapy into your daily life in order to keep you calm and focused.

Try Aromatherapy to Relax in Your Home Office

Aura Cacia is a U.S. company that provides a range of professional grade health supplements and essential oils that are proven to reduce stress and to increase a calming atmosphere. Aura Cacia also produces an aromatherapy USB diffuser which plugs into a computer port and uses a quiet fan to diffuse essential oils. 

Essential oils are a fantastic way of creating a fresh and calming atmosphere that will help you keep your stress levels down and your productivity levels up. Choose energizing light fragrances for the working day such as cedar wood, various mint fragrances, lemongrass, or tea tree oil rather than heavier night time essential oils such as patchouli.

Aura Cacia provides a range of quality essential oils, and there is also a company called Aetos that provide a great selection too. We particularly liked eucalyptus and grapefruit, two essential oils with an energising yet calming effect.

Both these brands are compatible for use in the Aura Cacia diffuser.

Working remotely can be a great experience if you handle it correctly. And you will  find that once you have found the right fragrance for your workspace, it will not only help you remain calm and focus, it will help you to manage your work-life balance if you can smell the difference!