Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Home Telecide

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here

I don’t know about you, but I have been way busier than normal, although locked down at home, like most of the rest of the British Isles. I have been completing Social Housing process reviews, helping with new contractor systems and manipulating vast amounts of asset survey data. I can't grumble, its all keeping me in, away from harm😉.

I have read conspiracy theories about the Bible book of Revelation mentioning that near the time of reckoning, all men, small and rich, slave or free, will need to accept a stamped image in their right hand or on the forehead, to exist or trade.

These are often interpreted as a mouse and a screen. Indeed these last few weeks, a screen and mouse has been invaluable, if not essential for doing all work.

I have Zoomed, Skyped with TEAMS, GoToMeeting’ed, as well as some others, which were a nice alternative adventure. That’s how I get my kicks these days, keep ‘em coming!

The 'utopian dream' they sold us
I thought it was definitely worth a post on this, as I have had so many conversations and experiences shared with me. Now I am quite regimented and organised, so up at 8am, in the shower and dressed. I cannot be sure that everyone I teleconference with have pyjama bottoms on, but they tend to have had something reasonable on from the (webcam) waist up. But how do you transition from not working to working? One article I read, suggested putting some shoes on, helps with the transition to starting work. A bit like putting a tie on for a meeting I suppose. Give it some consideration, see if it works for you.

Security with some of these video apps is generally in the config and these are pretty well thought out and secure. Stories of Zoom being a ‘security risk’, is more about new users going with initial default settings, than any inherent weaknesses. Lock down your settings and prevent instances of Zoombomber trolls, having fun at your expense.

"Get Down" Rover!
Another vexing issue is your webcam background. Now Skype does allow you to blur it, but that does not seem to be enough for some. Although behind some folk appears to be a bed headrest or perhaps a DIY S&M dungeon. With Oxfam shops closed, its not the right time, the bus has been missed, to grab some highbrow literature, to populate that IKEA Billy Bookcase behind you, with Penguin Classics.

Maybe we are learning just a bit too much of our work colleagues home décor, or that kids playroom hastily converted to home office lately. Always have some idea where the rest of your family or pets are, while you are on the call. Consider locking yourself in a box room if you can!

Good advice from an MP, who many can learn from

Some of us have the whole family at home, which clearly can be a blessing, as well as an occasional curse! You don’t always want to share a crumpet with melted cheese just passed to you, with your customer. Personally, I wouldn’t mind, but with advance planning, I would generally pop a special one in the toaster for them. How do you keep their noises at bay, when trying to focus? Well, help is at hand, particularly for some of us who spend some time in coffee shops, linking our VPN to the free WiFi and stretching a Flat White and an Italian Amaretti Di Saronno Biscuit, out for a couple of hours. Try this link or similar, for a good hour of ambient coffee shop sounds -

That may work for you. There’s also, French café in the rain, magical tearooms and for my customers in Scotland, this lovely small café with three hours of close conversation -

Look at the state of that water damaged ceiling 🤔

We are used to attendees dropping out of video conference calls. This can be due to the primary system being overwhelmed, or maybe local connections from home, suffering some contention. I have been on calls where video or sound can be lost for a while. One story a director from an organisation I work with, shared a sorry story of a solicitor joining a call, who only had video.They had to write stuff down on post-it notes and show it to the webcam. Unfortunately, everyone else saw it reversed and needed a mirror to properly understand it. Remember folks you can generally always phone in, to save some of these embarrassments.

I am intending to check-in on a local supplier as this situation unfolds and will add a blogpost from their perspective if possible. Suppliers and providers all need to think and work differently, to help staff cope, with hat is becoming the new normal.

Rest assured, we will no-doubt know each other a little better after this is all over. I hope it does bring us all closer. We will beat this together, one conference call at a time.

Related Post: Credit Unions - Why generally so far ahead of Social Housing providers, on self-service?


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

The Tubes - TelecideThe Tubes - Telecide.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

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