Working from home: Making those Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams meetings a bit more comfortable

Like many of us these days, I work from home. Unlikely many of you, I’ve been doing it for 17 or so years. But I’m not leaving the house for meetings or attending events and conferences. They’re all online too, and while I have enough screen space on my desk with a 15″ laptop and two 27″ monitors, I sometimes fancy a change of scene and a different way of working. 

Up to March that would have been a walk down to the coffee shop, but that’s not really practical. So I’ve been looking at how I can use other rooms in the house to get a change of scene and away from looking down at my laptop.

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

We’ve recently upgraded our main TV, going from a LCD monitor hooked up to an Xbox to a 46″ 4K Panasonic

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Working from home is a boost for a…desktop phone company?

With many people working from home for the foreseeable future — and perhaps forever — you wouldn’t expect a company that still makes desktop phones to be thriving.





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But Avaya, a communications services firm that caters to businesses, is doing just fine, thank you. That’s because Avaya has made a transformational shift to focus more on the lucrative business of cloud software and less on clunky hardware.

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The company reported sales for its fiscal fourth quarter Wednesday that rose nearly 5%, topping forecasts. The stock fell 7% Wednesday though and was down another 5% Thursday as earnings were below Wall Street estimates.

Yet Avaya shares, even after this week’s slide, are still up nearly 30% this year. Not bad for a company that filed for a bankruptcy reorganization just three years ago.

Avaya used to be part of the AT&T empire. (AT&T is now the owner

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Corporate employees working from home are creating a surge in startups

The pandemic and its lockdowns were supposed to trigger a baby boom – that doesn’t seem to be panning out. But people are starting up new businesses at an unprecedented rate.



a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: Photograph: mapodile/Getty Images


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Photograph: mapodile/Getty Images

Related: How do you feel about Trump supporters? The answer impacts your small business | Gene Marks

According to the US Census Bureau, there have been about 3.3m new business applications filed so far this year. Last year at this time there were about 2.6m, an increase year to year of about 27%. This year’s third quarter saw a whopping 1.6m new business applications filed, an increase of 86% compared with the corresponding quarter last year. Some people say that recessions are a good time to start up a business. But in our last great recession of 2009, there were about 1.8m startups through the third quarter, which is a little

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Working from home with weak internet? There’s a device to fix that

Sign up for internet service with Comcast’s Xfinity, and the company will get you in for $19.95 for a relatively slow 25 megabits per second, or $49.99 for “faster speeds” like 200 Mbps. 



a person sitting on a table: Nick Weaver, the co-founder and CEO of Eero, the company that looks to solve wifi connectivity issues, with the latest model. It sells for $99, down from the original $199 price.


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Nick Weaver, the co-founder and CEO of Eero, the company that looks to solve wifi connectivity issues, with the latest model. It sells for $99, down from the original $199 price.

But if you’re having trouble with your video calls dropping out, buffering when watching Netflix or waiting for websites to load on your computer, getting faster internet speed may not be the answer. That’s the admittedly biased opinion of Nick Weaver, the founder of Eero, a device that connects to your home internet and spreads Wi-Fi signals more evenly throughout the various rooms.

“You’re welcome to pay Comcast pay more money monthly if you like, but it won’t solve the problem,” says

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The Surprising Truth About How Many Employees Want To Keep Working From Home

There are plenty of companies that have already brought employees back to the office. Even more are getting ready to do just that, and more still are debating the right approach (i.e. stay remote or start bringing people into the office). But before your company decides on its approach, I want to offer some important data to help you decide.

A recent study from Publicis Sapient discovered that, when it comes to considerations about whether they’d like to return to their office, 80% of people said fear of contracting Covid-19 is their main concern when returning and commuting to the office. Meanwhile, 46% said they will not feel comfortable returning until a vaccine is available. If your company is strongly considering forcing all employees to return to the office in the next few months, I would respectfully suggest you take that data under advisement.

Relatedly, a recent study from

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Working from home has offered people a glimpse of how things could be different

I had begun to forget the sensation of hope. This is the year that I scaled hopefulness back: it became bread in the oven or bulbs in the ground – small packages of potential, just significant enough to give the soul a little lift. Then, the news of not one, but two pioneering vaccines, and hope rustled its feathers again. After months of making future promises for “when this is all over”, it seems that it could, one day, be over.



a person sitting at a desk in front of a computer: Photograph: Tom Werner/Getty Images


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Photograph: Tom Werner/Getty Images

There’s relief, of course. But there are also mixed feelings at the thought of a return to “business as usual”. At the onset of the first lockdown there was much talk about how we could build a better, more compassionate world. We stood outside our houses and marvelled at the birdsong and the empty streets. The spring took on a

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Working from home could result in more prejudice, Woolf Institute says

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As working from home looks set to continue following the coronavirus pandemic, a U.K. research institute has warned that this could lead to increased prejudice. 

The Woolf Institute found in its study of diversity in England and Wales that friendships in the workplace were key to breaking down prejudices. 

The study, published Monday, surveyed 11,701 adults in England and Wales. It was undertaken by market research agency Survation on behalf of the Woolf Institute, which is a research center.

Although the research was mostly conducted before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Woolf Institute stressed that the results highlighted the importance of the workplace in offering people opportunities to mix with people from different backgrounds. 

For instance, people who were “economically inactive” were 37% more likely than those in work to only have friends within their own ethic group. They were also a third more likely

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Working from home made my descent into decrepitude harder to avoid

I have a theory – largely untested – that everyone is mentally “stuck” at a certain age: the one that best reflects their outlook. Mine is 17. At my core, I see myself as youthful, enthusiastic and not yet tainted by the bitterness of experience. I’m optimistic and forward-looking. A woman in my prime.



a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Photograph: Alistair Berg/Getty Images


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Photograph: Alistair Berg/Getty Images

But increasingly, the face and form I see reflected back in the mirror are none of those things. At first I blame harsh lighting for my transformation. Then I realise it’s natural light coming in from the skylight, not the gentle artificial light of a boutique store change room. There is, quite simply, nowhere to hide.

Accidental encounters with our semi-naked bodies and unadorned faces can be enough to send us down a black hole

Kids, don’t believe anyone who tells you age is just a number.

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9 ways to stay connected while working from home this winter

  • The first pandemic winter might feel especially challenging for those working from home, but building habits now can fend off loneliness and keep up motivation.
  • With limited interactions throughout the day, microsteps like starting a group chat or scheduling a virtual hangout with friends can significantly improve your mood and help you stay connected.
  • Other habits like switching up your video calls, mapping out your day, or performing time audits can help you prioritize and stay motivated. 
  • Above all, remember to make a conscious effort to take care of yourself. Set aside time for passion projects, pinpoint and avoid stressors, and do activities that spark joy throughout your day. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a world reshaped by the pandemic, we’ve all learned to make adjustments and create new routines to take care of ourselves and be productive. But things are about to get a little harder.

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How To Build A Better Relationship With Your Boss While Working From Home

It’s an obvious reality that having a good relationship with one’s boss is a great enabler of career success. After all, they’re the person most likely to vouch for us in terms of promotions, great performance reviews, exciting project opportunities, and more. When you’re working from home, however, building that employee-boss relationship can require a few tweaks.

The good news is that the fundamental quality of boss relationships is similar to the pre-pandemic world. In Leadership IQ’s study, The State Of Working From Home In 2020, 58% of people say that their relationship with their boss is the same working from home or in an office, so a lot of us haven’t seen much change. However, 27% say their relationship with their boss is much, or a little, better when they were working in an office. And 16% say their relationship with their boss is better now that they’re

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