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Work From Home Newbie? How to Use Zoom, the Virtual Streaming App

Work From Home Newbie? How to Use Zoom, the Virtual Streaming App

01 Jun 2020 20:33

By: STEPHANIE OSMANSKI 


(iStock)

This info was accurate at press time, and we’re continuing to update our coronavirus coverage as we learn more.

Even if you’ve never found yourself working from home before, the coronavirus outbreak throughout the United States has resulted in millions of workers taking phone calls, attending meetings, and preparing projects remotely. If the World Health Organization‘s recommendation for “social distancing” and self-isolation has found you working from home while still wearing your pajamas, Netflix playing in the background, then welcome to the WFH club.

As a response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, many municipalities are opting for self-quarantine, schools are shifting to online platforms, and businesses are encouraging their employees to work remotely. Now, that doesn’t mean vacation. That means work from home—and in order to do that efficiently, you’re going to need some tools that can help.

Related: Coronavirus Game Plan: How to Stay Mentally Tough in a Crisis

That’s why so many businesses are turning to Zoom, a video conferencing app that saw as many as 343,000 global downloads this past Wednesday alone. According to Forbes, 60,000 of those downloads were in the U.S.

Alternatively, Zoom can be used to stream live classes, too. If you’re a parent, chances are you’re not only balancing the work-from-home life right now; you’re also balancing how to keep your kids entertained while you work… all at the same time! Don’t forget—their schools, dance classes, soccer practice, library activities, and whatever else have been cancelled, too. Whether you’re working remotely or need to livestream a kids’ class to entertain your little one, Zoom can help.

Now if you’re new to the WFH life or if you’ve never in your career had to work a video program like Zoom before, don’t stress. You and tons of other Americans who are figuring Zoom out as they go. To make the transition easier on you, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about downloading and using Zoom.

Are you Zoom newbie? Keep reading to find out how to download, use, and work Zoom!

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a video conferencing tool for virtual meetings and hangouts. It can be used for work and to livestream things like classes while we’re all in self-isolation. Like Skype or FaceTime, Zoom allows you to see the users in a chat face-to-face, on a phone, tablet, or computer. As many as 100 participants can join a Zoom conference at once!

Related: Avoid Cabin Fever With These 125 Ideas to Keep Kids Entertained During the Coronavirus Crisis 

How to download Zoom

Zoom is a free platform, which means it can be accessed on any device with an app store. You can download it from the app store on your phone, on your computer, or on a tablet. You can download Zoom from the Apple Store if you have iOS or on Google Play if you have an Android.

If you have an iPhone, click “get” and then open once the app downloads; if you have an Android, click “install” then open the app once it’s finished downloading.

Alternatively, you can download Zoom for your computer by visiting Zoom’s online Download Center.

Related: What Is Social Distancing, How It Can Stop the Spread of Coronavirus—and Tips and Tricks to Make It Easier 

How to use Zoom

 

Once you’ve downloaded the free Zoom software, it’s time to get started. Launch the app and you’ll see a screen that says “Join a Meeting” or “Sign In.” If you already have log-in information, you can sign in and join a meeting. If you’re new to the app, you will have to create an account. Don’t worry—it’s free!

If you are using Zoom for work, chances are your company has a company domain. If you’re not sure what it is, ask your supervisor. Other ways to make an account include with your Google account or through Facebook.

Once you’re logged into Zoom, you can create, join, or schedule a meeting. On the main screen, you’ll see options to start a new meeting, join a meeting, schedule a meeting, or share screen. Here’s a breakdown of each option

New meeting

This refers to creating a new meeting that will happen right now. Enable your video by clicking the down arrow, then invite people to the meeting.

Related: Social Distancing With the Kids? These Are the 20 Best Family Movies to Watch on Netflix Right Now 

Join a meeting

By clicking this button, you can join a meeting that is already in progress or that you have an invite to.

Schedule a meeting

Scheduling a meeting means planning one and inviting people in advance. Once you schedule a meeting, you’ll see it pop up on your homescreen, like a calendar reminder. Zoom also allows you to sync up your iOs calendar app if you have an iPhone, that way you can receive the meeting notification on your calendar app, too.

Share screen

Zoom also has the option to share screen. Screensharing is essentially giving the other people in a digital meeting access to what you see on your screen. So, if you are giving a presentation, presenting a tutorial, or sharing metrics, screensharing is a meaningful tool that allows everyone in the conference to see the same interface.

Chat

Zoom also offers a Chat option that provides individual, tabbed conversations with people in your contacts. You can also form a group channel to chat with multiple people in your contacts. To enable this feature, simply tap the Meet & Chat tab and start private messaging one of your contacts.

Can schools use Zoom?

Absolutely. In fact, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan is offering students and teachers unlimited meeting minutes so that they can transition their lesson plans online.

To gain unlimited meeting minutes, students and teachers can fill out this online form with a school email address. Zoom will verify, then set up accounts associated with that school’s domain for unlimited minutes.

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Bonus: Zoom hacks

Love working from home but hate how you look on camera? It’s normal. It’s like, no matter how much eyeliner you put on, it’s impossible to look cute via webcam. But, The Cut found this secret Zoom hack that everyone’s going ga-ga for. It’s a special filter that makes your part of the web conference a little easier on the eyes.

Called “Touch Up My Appearance,” the filter is available in your Zoom video settings. It results in softening the focus of the lens (and therefore, your skin). The result is a softer version of your current self, with imperfections smoothed over and minimized. (Maybe you’ve seen a similar “softening” filter on Snapchat or Instagram; they exist there, too!)

So, there you have it. If you’re worried about looking disheveled and not appearing presentable during a Zoom conference, check the Touch Up My Appearance setting and you won’t have to worry.

Need music to get focused while working from home during the coronavirus crisis? Make a playlist with these streaming services to tune out the world while you work.