Staying Connected

We’re coming up on four months of quarantine now and, for many, that’s meant four months of mental health struggles.

Consider the run on toilet paper we had at the beginning of it all. People’s anxiety over the unknown triggered that hoarding behavior. But having enough toilet paper (or way too much in many people’s cases) only satisfied a superficial risk. The underlying anxiety remained.

We are social creatures. Most of us want to be around people. Human contact, emotional and physical, is important. I’m a performer. I need feedback to be fulfilled. I’m also a hugger. I want that physical affirmation from the people I love and trust. I’m fortunate to be quarantined with my family right now. They can tell if I’m up or down. My oldest son, who’s out of the house, will check in with me on Tuesdays because those days are often (for whatever reason) my most stressful day of the week.



Knowing how important it is to me to have that interaction, I’ve made it a point to try to reach out to friends and family during the pandemic. Some of that contact may have been via a text message or instant message of some sort. Messaging is great. It’s quick, it lets someone know I’m thinking of them, but it does have a downside, too. It’s easy to lie in a text message. If I were to ask how you were doing/how you were feeling and you replied, “I’m good!” would I have a reason not to believe you? Even if you replied, “Oh, not bad, getting along pretty well I guess,” would that trigger a sense of unease?

Messaging keeps us in touch, but I’d argue it doesn’t really keep us connected.

A phone call gets us closer. If we can hear each other’s voices, we can hear the subtle inflection that helps tell the real story of how we feel. And, be honest, is there a much better feeling in the world than sharing a hearty laugh with a loved one? Speaking of laughs, I’m also fortunate to have a group of friends that I unwind with via PlayStation in the evenings. The ridiculous jokes, occasional curses and honest laughs are a welcome release during all of this.

Maybe the best way to get in touch with someone though, if you can’t see them in person, is on a videoconference. Whether it’s Skype or Zoom or Facetime or Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts or whatever else you may have access to, actually seeing the faces of your friends and family is important. Then you really know they’re okay. If you haven’t done it yet, give it a shot. Video call someone you haven’t seen lately. You’ll make sure you see how they’re doing and they’ll be able to see how much you care.

I wish you all health.

Brian Crommett
702 Communications

Remote Team Tips for Success

Follow-Up to KVLY’s Point of View with Chris Berg Appearance on April 10, 2020

Last Friday, Chris Berg was kind enough to have me on his show to talk about the current tech climate and trends in technology now that most of us are working from home. Specifically, he asked me to discuss the main issues businesses need to tackle in this remote work reality. If you missed it, you can catch the segment here.



Here are five topics to pay closer attention to:

1. Bandwidth assessments

Do your remote workers have the bandwidth it takes to work from home? will show the available bandwidth. From there, you or a team member will have a better idea of how successful you can be hosting or attending a video conference and how long it might take to upload and download files from a centralized location.

Factor in the number of people in the household trying to work or learn remotely. Remember, you’re all sharing whatever bandwidth you have coming into the home.

2. Security concerns

If you’ve got an IT staff, they’re working all the time to make sure the PCs you’re using are updated to avoid compromised software. In today’s environment, we may be connecting directly via VPN into an office environment.

If your employees are using a home PC, ask them:

  • Have they been diligent with software updates?
  • Do they have antivirus software? Is it up to date?

3. Communication platforms

Do you have a collaboration platform set up? Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Slack are all great examples of tools you can use to chat, videoconference, share files, screen share, and collaborate in real time.

4. File sharing

Are you going to have everyone connect to and upload files to a server in your office for collaboration? Are you going to utilize Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other cloud-based location?

5. Communication

Whatever your plan is, you need to make sure you’ve conveyed expectations to your employees. Now’s the time to communicate where everything’s being kept and how to use the tools in front of them.

Working from home isn’t going away anytime soon. While we’ve all done a great job getting our workforce remote in a hurry and we’re doing business pretty well, there is always room for improvement – especially if we’re going to see ourselves in this situation much longer.

If you have questions on these topics, your best bet is to talk to a trusted IT professional like 702’s Managed Services division. They can help assess your work environment and make recommendations so that we can all stay home and work well.

Brian Crommett
702 Communications