Covid-19 has many of us WFH (working from home), some for the very first time. Adapting to remote work can be tricky, but there are definitely steps you can take to prepare yourself and ensure productivity. Online meetings have become the new thing, and there are a variety of different apps that can keep you in touch with your coworkers. Still, not all are made equal, so we’ll be taking a look at the best work from home guide to online meetings apps.
Discord Advantages and Disadvantages
Let’s dive into the best WFH guide to online meetings apps:
Discord is a free app that enables users to create host servers and client channels. It has some video and bot functions, but is largely considered to be a lightweight application. The server is managed by Discord, and doesn’t require a set up, but that limits how much you can see and what resources you have to work with. Discord is a good option for bigger teams when considering the best work from home lifestyle.
- Easy to manage and set up.
- Bot and user permissions plugins.
- Completely free and requires little extra knowledge to work it.
- APIs included.
- Really solid audio quality.
- Fantastic GUI.
- No root access.
- Less extensions and configurability.
- You don’t know what happens on their servers once you’ve used them.
TeamSpeak Advantages and Disadvantages
TeamSpeak is another free application that is great for a good work from home environment, but it requires users to own a dedicated, virtual private server. TeamSpeak is very common on games like Minecraft, since it also requires you to have either one of the server options. TeamSpeak is slightly more complicated to run, and requires more of a manual set up than Discord. Server fees vary, but you’re probably looking at under $5.
- Easy to customize.
- Perfect audio quality
- Almost zero connection issues – if there are, it’s likely due to server misconfiguration or a bad connection.
- Extensive plugins and tools for all kinds of tasks, like permission management.
- Let’s just say that it doesn’t have a very appealing user interface (it kind of looks like it was made in 2010).
- It’s difficult to set up correctly.
- You have to own and run a dedicated server. This costs money and you can’t really get around it.
Zoom Advantages and Disadvantages
Zoom, like Discord and TeamSpeak, is a free application, available on desktop and mobile. Zoom has seen a major boom as of late, especially around the internet from people who already work from home, as many companies have switched to Zoom conferences and meetings in the wake of Covid-19. It’s super simple to run, and is arguably one of the more popular options in our best WFH guide to online meetings apps.
- Good audio and visual quality
- Record function which allows users to record the meeting and distribute the file.
- Requires very little extra knowledge to run – setup is super simple.
- Until recently, the iOS version of Zoom was found to be sending analytics data to Facebook.
- Zoom has an attention-tracking feature that let’s the host know if your focus strays away from the Zoom screen for more than 30 seconds. This could be seen as a plus, but many of us constantly switch between tabs to jot down notes, look things up, and more.
Best tips for conference call etiquette
Home meetings aren’t ideal, but here are a couple of tips that can help make things more comfortable:
- If you’re going to be using your camera, make sure you have good front lighting so you don’t look like you’re calling from the depths of hell – even if that feels strangely accurate.
- Wear earpods/headphones – the background noise coming from your kids, SO, dog, etc can be super distracting.
- MUTE. Seriously, mute is your best friend – if you’re not speaking, keep your microphone off. Nobody wants to hear your partner flushing the toilet in the background.
Best Online Meeting Apps
Discord, Zoom and TeamSpeak are great at what they do, and are almost equal competitors. Honestly, which one you go for entirely depends on what kind of platform you’re looking for. Neither is necessarily better than the other; they’re just different. TeamSpeak is slightly more robust than Discord, but Discord is a shit ton easier on the eyes. Zoom is great for conferences, but has a real tattle-tale problem. So, in the best WFH guide to online meetings apps, there’s really no effective conclusion – TeamSpeak, Zoom, and Discord are three great options.