Eva Pascoe | Digital Retailer

Horror stories abound with a full on car crash when Dad is on high profile Zoom Videoconferencing and the kids waltz in,  perfectly oblivious to the situation and 3 mln viewers on the other side. The correct behaviour is not to panic but to bring them into the meeting and introduce them and their Teddy Bear to the team. Just claim this is ‘Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. But if you rather have some room for manoeuvre,  try Around (in beta, apply for Early Access). It only shows your face, in a pleasantly floating way, so no worries about your ‘floorderobe’ or an unexpected cameo appearance by your youngest dressed up as IgglePiggle.

Hairy Zoomers

Lady Gaga has made long hair cool again but Zoomers took it literally and are turning into hairy zombies. Gals are coping, as you can always throw a scarf to hide your roots. For the guys the length of their locks is increasingly a challenge so people are beginning to snip off their hair DIY style.  Note: this is harder than learning to project manage in Asana.

Credit @edraw_tism

Pro-tip: Pay attention to this helpful advice from a closed hairdressing shop, the secret is in vertical not horizontal cuts. 

Chef or Hair Stylist, this is the question

Internet got it wrong again – on a recent poll of @malwareJake 89% of lockdowners chosen a Chef as their lockdown companion. Only 11% chosen a Hair Stylist – a mistake as everyone can cook a pasta under duress, while nobody can cut their own hair. Get your priorities right!

Credit @malwareJake

Bonding bash

It has been weeks since you have been downing tequilas together at 2am in a smoky Soho cigar bar so the team glue is beginning to weaken. How to keep the bond and motivation going? Zoom Virtual Background comes to the rescue, with one team placing a photo of a colleague for team’s birthday as background for everyone, to make him feel the love even if he is stuck by all himself in a tower block 10 miles away.  As with physical fitness, keeping your team in fighting fit form thrives on little-and-often emotional moments.

Face Off

We are not all fans of Narcissus, but video meeting is often leaving participants starring at their own faces rather than listening to colleagues. Although it is rare to be forced to stare at your own face for an hour at a time, it is oddly necessary during Zoom meeting. We noticed there is something mesmeric about it and not necessarily in a good way.

Tip: A way to deal with it is to switch off your video after the first few minutes and replace by your choice of fabulous flowers you have taken on your last lockdown walk. Helps others to focus when you have a bit of nature surrounding the unescapable Powerpoint presentation in the middle of the screen. 

Thanks to  @electronicmax @webcomic_name

Sitting duck

A well-known cybersecurity think-tank Open Rights Group got ZoomBombed very badly a few days ago. Right in the middle of the meeting someone hijacked screenshare and started streaming some pretty unacceptable vidoes. Don’t court trouble, follow those simple rules

Pro-tip: To stop Zoom Bombing you need to follow these rules 

  1. Set new User ID and password for each meeting
  2. Enable Waiting Room  – so as a host you have the power to admit new people (or not)
  3. Disable ‘Join before Host.’
  4. Allow ‘Screen Sharing’ by the host Only
  5. Disable ‘Allow removed participants to re-join;
  6. To be perfectly safe, restrict or Disable File Transfer option
  7. Lock meetings once all those that should be there have joined.
  8. End meeting properly, not just ‘Leave’ as there may be lurkers who are waiting to pounce

Hands off

Unless you are Jamie Oliver and in the mid flow of cooking Pepe e Cacio for the adoring public on your Insta Live, then you can safely assume your gesticulation will not make your points any more salient. As the camera is closer to your hands than to your face, your hands look enormous and create an excess movement.

Tip: Keep something on your hands, like a tennis ball and leave them under the desk. Better to look suspect but avoid destroying the focus of your team conversation.

Teams that jam together stay together

One saving grace of Zoom is that it has the party mode. For team celebrations, nothing better than putting a mellow tune and have a dance together. This lovely option is hiding behind Advanced Screen Share – the top of your Screen Sharing selection window as Advanced Tab. You can choose the Computer Sound Only, which lets you share an audio clip, but not share your screen, so you can still see everyone and you all can party to the same playlist. Here is a mix our DJ Dilly put together for the next Zoom get-together, check it out.

Listen on SoundCloud


Despite all the cute tools from Zoom, we feel a shadow of From Death-by-Powerpoint coming over us.  From one bad tool we migrated straight to overdose of Zoom.  People jump to videoconferencing even where there is zero reason to do that.

Tip: Only call Zoom Meeting if you are co-designing a nuclear power station together and you have to work on the same document at the same time. If not, it is a conference phone call not Zoom. At least your colleagues can walk the dog or do yoga with the headphones on while discussing the project. We can multitask and think while we exercise. 

Mum are we there yet? Ain’t no app for Covid19 

How long will the lockdown last? Boris promised ‘there is an app for Covid’ but sadly, there isn’t one as we know from our decade of research on High Street footfall Only a relatively small percentage of over 55 year olds use smartphones, even less can downloads apps. Not great if they are the most at-risk group who needs extra protection. Lockdown is a marathon not a sprint.

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New home for your old laptop? Help to bridge the digital divide

All children are schooling online but many on their smartphones rather than laptops and struggling to do homework. If you have your old laptop that could seve a child after some reconditioning, do get in touch. North Londoners – Camden Council scheme here.

For other areas check with your local council or school, there could be a collection near you.

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