5 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Virtual Team

Virtual teams are a fact of life and they are only becoming more popular as technology evolves. Because of this, management needs to adapt to new methods in order to succeed with a long-distance team.

Professor Leigh Thompson, J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, was surprised after a long-distance conflict-resolution simulation with her students resulted in a "bloodbath". However, she was able to gain insights on how to build stronger teams that can accomplish more together despite their location.

With the help of Professor Thompson’s research, we compiled 5 tips to help you manage your virtual teams successfully:

  1. Get to know your team: Before getting down to business, familiarize yourself with your virtual team members.  One fun way to do this is sending an email survey of quick questions for team members to answer about favorite foods, places to travel, etc. or have everyone create a slide with a picture and fun facts about themselves. Perhaps the day before a meeting, set up a brief pre-meeting to introduce yourself. This builds trust amongst teammates and it's also a great chance for everyone to test their connections and work out any kinks.
  2. Test the technology: Professor Thompson’s simulations revealed that over 50% of virtual team members have technological breakdowns. If one person can’t connect, it brings the whole team down; this is known as the LCD (Least Common Denominator) effect. Make sure your audio and video are up and running and prepare any slides you plan to present prior to your meeting.
  3. Meet “face to face”: A picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine how many a video is worth! Video conferencing is the most effective virtual communication because you are able to interact emotionally and intellectually. If you do not have access to video technology, looking at a small thumbnail picture of your virtual teammates when on an audio conference is a great way to see who they are and realize that there are people on the other side of the phone line that you are working with, people who deserve respect and kindness in the workplace just like you.
  4. Look in the mirror: Literally put a mirror in front of you if you are communicating over the phone, so you can see what your teammates or meeting members would be seeing if you shared an office. If using video conferencing, sometimes checking your “picture in picture” can remind you that you are being seen by others. You may feel more protected behind the screen, but your team members can see every smirk or eye roll that slips during a frustrating conversation. Taking away tone and body language makes even the slightest snarkiness in messaging and emails seem exaggerated. Try to use positive tones when writing to avoid any unnecessary conflict. Using a mirror will keep you on top of your game, making sure that you are reflecting your best attitude even if your teammates are not in the same room.
  5. Compromise is key: Working with a virtual team can mean working with people in different time zones. A 9:00 A.M. meeting that works for you may mean a virtual team member thousands of miles away has to work late to join in. Be willing to find times that work for everyone or take turns starting work early or staying late for a meeting.

When managing teams, you do not always need to be meeting or working together. Remember it is important for your team to work individually as well as in a group in order for you to succeed. Can video conferencing improve your team’s communication and speed up your business decisions? Try Easymeeting free for 14 days to find out.

10 Q & A's with Easymeeting's Founder and CEO, Hans Johan Tofteng

This week we sat down with the Founder and CEO of Avikom AS and Easymeeting, Hans Johan Tofteng. Hans Johan has been working with live audio production and AV-integration for over 20 years.

We asked him 10 quick questions to help us understand his passion for making technology that is easy to use for everyone and what inspires him when he is not in the office.

1. As the founder and CEO of Easymeeting, what is your vision for the company and services/products?
My vision for Easymeeting is to deliver an easy to use service so everyone can see each other when they communicate - Body language is 55% of the total information shared in a conversation and we want to enhance every conversation by enabling a shared visual experience. Think about the connection you feel when seeing someone's reactions and putting a face to a voice.

2. What inspires you outside of Easymeeting?
Being together with friends and family is no. 1 - when I do have time to myself, I spend it on my bicycle or with my camera and just let time fly by.

I also love learning more about technology that benefits people.

3. If you could tell your customers one thing, what would it be?
I am proud and thankful that they use our services to make their business more competitive.

4. Why do you feel everyone should be using Easymeeting?
Time is our most precious resource - it should not be spoiled by unnecessary commuting or traveling to a meeting that could be done with Easymeeting.

5. Tell us about an application of Easymeeting that really gets you excited about how video is being used?
I think education is one of the most valuable applications of video.

6. Why is that so exciting and important to you?
It enables everyone to learn and share information independent of location. Education is needed to bring the world forward.

7. What motivated you to get in the video conferencing industry?
I was working with audio visual design and installation and when I was introduced to video conferencing. I saw the amazing potential to change the way companies and employees conduct business, but also saw the limitations caused by the hard to use technology and costly upfront investments. I wanted to solve these limitations by bringing video conferencing to non-technical people through easy to use services and friendly support.

8. Give us a day in the life of Easymeeting's CEO...
I am so fortunate to be able to work on the things I love and feel passionate about, which includes meeting people on video every single day. I often meet with partners in Asia in the morning, Norway mid-day and the afternoon is used to meet our team in U.S. After all of these meetings I am home for dinner with my family. I focus a lot of time testing the user experience and discussing how to solve technical issues with our great team. I also like to stay involved with our sales and marketing departments so that I am always in tune with what we need to improve.

9. Easymeeting's tagline is "Connect. Enhance. Inspire.", tell us what that means to you.
Connect means that Easymeeting should connect you with anyone easily. Enhance means that the conversation and communication are enhanced by using Easymeeting. Inspire... What is more inspiring than meeting people independent of technology and geography?

10. For someone unfamiliar with video technology, what does Easymeeting do?
Easymeeting allows people to join video meetings with anyone and everywhere, by being easy and user-friendly.


Start your free 14-day trial to reclaim your most precious resource, time.

How does your morning compare to someone working from home?

Remote work is a growing trend. According to globalworkplaceanalytics.com, telecommuting has increased 80% between 2005 and 2013. But what is so attractive about working remotely? Let’s start with comparing the average morning of a commuter vs a remote worker:

6:30 am Alarm goes off, get out of bed
7:00 am Out the door, driving to the office
7:15 am Stuck in traffic with other morning commuters
8:35 am Arrive at the office and grab your morning coffee
8:55 am After talking to Kathy in accounting for 20 minutes at the coffee machine you login to your computer

Sound familiar?

Remote worker:
6:30 am Alarm goes off get out of bed
7:15 am Return from a run
7:30 am Make breakfast, read your paper (online news), enjoy your coffee
8:15 am Login to your computer and check for any urgent emails


The average employee has a 25-minute commute to and from work. That's 5 hours a week spent commuting and of non-productive time. In the example above, working remotely has already allowed for more time to enjoy the morning (or sleep in when you need it) and be online before a commuting counterpart. Having more time for coffee isn't the only benefit of working from home, for many parents being home in the morning means getting kids on the bus and saving money on child care.

What about the rest of the day, can an employee's productivity benefit when working from home? Absolutely. Many people think that working from home means sitting in PJs and watching television, this isn't (well shouldn't) be the case. Working from home is like going to the office, but with no commute and fewer distractions. Working remotely allows employees to choose more flexible hours and work from different locations. Research shows that allowing employees to have flexible work hours, whether that be on site or remotely, leads to more work being done compared to longer hours on the job.

Working from home means I’m spending significantly less on child care, gas, and car insurance. Without the morning commute to work, I have the time in the morning to make breakfast for myself and my family.
— Grant Murdock, Easymeeting Network & I.T. Specialist

When someone is working remotely, it doesn’t mean they are less connected to the office or their colleagues like you might assume. With video conferencing, remote administration, and cloud-based project management, employees can be just as connected and productive at home as they are at the office. If an employee wants to work from home, but doesn't mind going onsite occasionally, perhaps going into the office once or twice a week would be a perfect solution to keep them feeling connected to the team.

The biggest benefit of working from home is having more time to enjoy family, friends, and do the things that inspire you. Tell us in the comments below, what would you do with an extra 5 hours a week? Or an extra 260 hours a year?

Try Easymeeting's EasyConference free for 14 days to stay connected with your remote employees.

6 Q & A's with Easymeeting's Chief Operating Officer, Caity Serra

Caity Serra, COO

Caity Serra, COO

Caity Serra is no stranger to providing video conferencing as a service. Since joining Easymeeting in 2011, she has worked in our Customer Service, Marketing, and Operations departments before settling into her role as COO. She brings a focus on delivering the best possible experience to our customers and partners through all aspects of the business. We sat down with Caity Serra to get some insight into Easymeeting, video conferencing and what inspires her.

1.  For someone unfamiliar with video technology, what does Easymeeting do?
Easymeeting delivers video conferencing services much like a cell phone provider delivers cell phone services. In order to access their meeting room, a company chooses the amount of participants or locations they want to connect and subscribe for a monthly service. Easymeeting is a cloud service, meaning everyone who joins a meeting within your subscription shares resources through the Internet. Our EasyConference can be described as a conference room sitting in the "cloud". If a company purchases a 15-participant subscription, there are 15 "seats" at the table in the cloud. Users can occupy these seats from computers, video systems, mobile devices and telephones.
2. How do you define an Easymeeting experience?
To me, the Easymeeting experience is a combination of great customer service and high-quality video meetings. We provide our customers with an easy-to-use platform for face-to-face meetings, but what sets us apart from so many other service providers is the unprecedented customer service that our users experience when they have questions, need training or have issues. Our team is dedicated to the success of our customers’ meetings; going above and beyond is all in a days work.
3. Give us your favorite experience at Easymeeting...
I have been lucky enough to work with many departments at Easymeeting, which gives me so many success stories. One of my favorites involves a customer that is a non-profit arts organization using our services to bridge their locations all over the US. We were lucky enough to be invited to sit in on one of their presentations where artists were sharing their different performance styles with each other via video conferencing. My favorite part was when the correspondents in Hawaii performed an Ancient Hawaiian Hula performance. I used to live in Hawaii and being able to see the culture over video while sitting in New England reinforced the power of video meetings all over again for me.
4. Easymeeting's tagline is "Connect. Enhance. Inspire.” What does this mean to you?
“Connect. Enhance. Inspire.” is the core of what we do and why we do it. We connect customers around the world, enhance their everyday conversations through visual interactions, and inspire them to work more effectively with remote teams. The end result is saving time for employees and allowing them to do what inspires them outside of work, whether that is traveling, golfing, spending time with family or rock climbing. Team members that feel inspired are much more valuable than team members that feel overworked- and giving a company the tools to be inspired is crucial.

Our team is dedicated to the success of our customers’ meetings; going above and beyond is all in a days work.
— Caity Serra, COO

5. What inspires you outside of the office/Easymeeting?
The easy part of this question is my family, especially my daughter. Because I utilize our "Connect. Enhance. Inspire." motto in my everyday tasks I am able to be present in my career and present at home with my daughter rather than traveling for meetings and working insane hours. I also love the outdoors and am always amazed how refreshed and inspired I can feel after spending time in the garden or at the beach. By having time for these things outside of work, I feel that I am a better leader and employee.

6. What are some of the challenges the video industry faces in the next few years?
The video conferencing industry is, and has been, in a bit of an identity crisis for a few years now. We believe that the industry as a whole needs to become easier and more accessible. Many people are now accustomed to using video for quick calls with friends and family but are weary of using video conferencing as a business tool. If we can't as an industry make business meetings just as easy as the calls to grandparents and cousins at home in our living rooms than we will continue to struggle with adoption rates. It has to be EASIER!
To make your video conferencing experience easier, try Easymeeting today.

How does Easymeeting compare to Skype?

A common question we hear from potential video conferencing users is, “how do you compare to Skype?” Of course, with the most notable name in video chat, this is to be expected. Skype is a great social tool for you to chat with friends and family in different locations and because of that it may seem like a cost-efficient way to bring video conferencing technology into your business. However, Skype lacks the security and quality of a true video conferencing service provider.


Skype was designed for mass consumption as a free service. Skype has been associated with poor quality and many people come to expect a poor user experience when meeting over Skype. This is one thing when you are chatting with your family members across the country, but should not be the impression you are giving business associates, partners, and contacts when you invite them to a business meeting over video. In addition to common video quality issues, Skype’s basic version does not integrate with video conferencing systems. Video conferencing systems have been invested in by many companies and they provide the highest quality video for video conferencing. If you really want to put your best foot forward when meeting with important contacts, joining from a video system can make a huge difference in quality and accommodating large groups at one location. As a business-oriented service, Easymeeting is designed to integrate with video conferencing systems, like our Easymeeting TWS, and deliver professional video quality.  


If you use Skype as your video conferencing service of choice, you will only be able to invite other Skype users to your video meetings. Your guests will need to register for a Skype login, which can be a hassle and slow down your business. With Easymeeting, you do not need to ask your guests to do the work. Easymeeting is a cloud conferencing service that integrates with Skype for Business, web browsers, video systems and across multiple devices. Simply share your EasyNumber with your guests or send an email invite, they can join the meeting without an account. With the use of WebRTC, joining from your computer does not require a download and our quick and easy to use EasyConference Mobile app for tablets, will have you amazed at how quick and easy your business meetings can be connected.


Technical problems or bad connections can interfere with important business meetings, and you will want these issues resolved as soon as possible. Skype offers online chat and email support, but how responsive will its support team be in the middle of your meeting? Easymeeting offers live video support, phone service, email, and online chatting. Our goal is to get your meeting back on track as quickly as possible and our Easymeeting Experts offer exceptional customer service and support.

Why Easymeeting?

In addition to the better quality, better support and increased accessibility, Easymeeting services and products are designed to create the best user experience possible for your business and clients. Easymeeting provides great video quality, interoperability and customer support so your meeting can run smoothly. With less problems and great service from our Easymeeting Experts, you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself outside of the office. Try Easymeeting free for 14-days.

Improve Your Interview Process With Video Conferencing

Many people seek employment opportunities outside of their local area, but scheduling interviews can be difficult and expensive. Distance and travel expenses should not prevent potential candidates from seeking these job opportunities; in fact, employers can utilize video conferencing technology to give all job-seekers the chance to interview.

This is proving to be a growing trend for Human Resource departments. According to a research report, 32% of organizations invested in video interviewing in 2013, compared to 21% of organizations in 2012. Using video conferencing technology allows for employers to save time, money and reach a wider pool of talent while maintaining a level of professionalism and personalism. Video interviews can also attract a new generation of candidates that value innovative and tech-savvy companies.

Because of this growing trend, we wanted to provide some insight and tips for both parties in a video conference interview.   


Contrary to what comes to mind when you think of “video chatting”, video conferencing is a great way for businesses to connect multiple office locations, hold meetings, and communicate with customers. Think of a video conference interview as a typical interview, without needing to give the interviewee a temporary parking pass. There are still the expectations for the interviewee to arrive on time, wear professional attire, and present himself or herself in a way that reflects a respect for the business and a willingness to work hard. Conducting video conferencing interviews shows potential employees that your organization is flexible, efficient, and open to new ideas and technologies. Try not to conduct the interview over a social chat service, such as Skype, which is self-admittedly designed for casual conversations and not business meetings. Using a video conferencing service (like Easymeeting) and even investing in video conferencing equipment will ensure high-quality images and minimum technology issues.


Video conferencing interviews are a great way to find internships or job opportunities while you are at school, planning to relocate or work remotely. However, making a good impression during an interview over video is just as important as a face-to-face interview.

  • Make sure the interview is scheduled for a day when you have a window of time to be at your computer for at least an hour.
  • Find a quiet room with a plain background and be ready to start at least ten minutes prior to the interview time.
  • Wear an outfit you would wear to an office interview. If you need to stand or adjust your camera, you probably do not want your potential boss to catch a glimpse of sweatpants.  So, do not plan to wear pajamas, lay in bed or sit in the middle of a busy Starbucks.

Video conferencing interviews can make finding and hiring a wider pool of employees easier on both sides of the hiring process. For more information on bringing video conferencing to your office, give Easymeeting a try or contact an Easymeeting Expert. We’d love to help you out!

What is a virtual meeting room?

We know that when you can't physically touch or see something, it is hard to understand. For service providers like Easymeeting, it can make it difficult for customers to grasp what exactly is being offered to them. Many of our customers or potential customers have asked what a meeting room in the "cloud" really means.

For this reason, we have decided to share with you the easiest way to visualize what a virtual meeting room is.

Picture your virtual meeting room as a physical meeting room. There is a table, a whiteboard and a specific number of chairs at the table. Similar to this conference room, your virtual meeting room has a specific number of "chairs" based on your subscription. There is no standing room, so the room can only hold the number of people as there are chairs. Once someone gets out of the chair and leaves the room, someone else can enter the room and fill that chair.

Often times in meetings it is more beneficial to show the other attendees what you are talking about instead of just explaining it, so you go to the whiteboard. Whether it is a webpage, an excel spreadsheet or a new marketing campaign, you can share this in your virtual conference room. How? With your virtual meeting room, you have the option to "present" which means anything on your computer can be viewed by the other participants on their respective devices. Presenting desktops is a feature many of our customers utilize daily, taking collaboration to the next level.

Your virtual room is always available so you can use this room as much as you want for as long as you want. Many companies find that having multiple virtual meeting rooms is beneficial, just as they have multiple physical conference rooms. This allows several departments or employees to conduct their business meetings at the same time, rather than a large company all scheduling around one room, physical or virtual. 

The meeting room stays in the same place. Once you have joined a meeting from that room once, you will always know how to join it. The virtual meeting room has the same meeting ID every time you join it, making it easy for you and your guests to attend meetings. There is no guessing what the meeting ID is or how to get to your meeting. Additionally, you can lock your virtual meeting room with a lock feature or pin number, just like you can lock your physical conference room. This helps to ensure privacy during confidential meetings as well as avoiding interruptions from that notorious co-worker that never checks the schedule and barges into the conference room unannounced mid-meeting.

To try your very own Easymeeting virtual meeting room, request a 14-day FREE trial here.

When was the last time you stood up?

It's time for employees to take a stand, literally. It feels like every other day I see a new article about how bad sitting for extended periods is for your health. The last time I read one of these articles, I asked myself, "what is stopping me? Why do I feel the need to put my health on the back burner to get an email out 5 minutes sooner?"

I wanted to share a few suggestions that I have found help me get up and get moving throughout my day.

  1. Set a reminder on your calendar or computer to get up every hour. You only need to get up for about 5 minutes. I save my trips to the water cooler and the coffee machine for these times. Feel like you don't have time every hour? Try starting with once every two hours.
  2. If someone down the hall sends you an email or chat, get up and walk to their office to "respond". Not only will it likely save you time by communicating face-to-face, but it will give you a break from sitting.
  3. Team stretching. Yes, team stretching! This sounds strange, but sometimes it is easier to remember to get up and move when there are others doing the same. Stand up, raise your hands above your head, move your neck around, you can do just about anything and it will be better than having your butt in your chair and your fingers on your keyboard. You can take turns each day having someone lead the team in stretching exercises, or create a friendly competition.
  4. Invest in a standing desk. They can be expensive, but if you have a lot of laptop users, you can create a standing workstation that can be shared throughout the day.
  5. Spend 10-15 minutes of your lunch break going for a stroll. Whether it is outside (I recommend it, especially with Spring now in the air) or down the hall. Don't have time to take a lunch break? Make time. It will not only get you moving, but it will help you stay productive by breaking up your day.
  6. Stand up, sit down, repeat every 30-45 mins. It's been a crazy day, you just looked at the clock and it is already lunch time. You haven't moved from your desk. Well just stand up, shake yourself out and sit back down. Pretty painless right? Try and do this every 30-45 minutes if you can't go for a walk throughout the day.

We are all busy. We all feel certain days getting away from us, and I am guilty as charged when it comes to not taking breaks. But I have found myself getting up more often to move around, and--surprisingly--the world didn't end. It's important for us to remember that our health and well-being should be our top priority.

For me tips and tricks on how to stay focused, on task and healthy while at work, subscribe to the Easymeeting.

BYOD Is No Longer A Trend

 "Bring your own device" (BYOD) is the practice of allowing employees to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes.

In 2014, Market researcher Gartner Inc. predicted that almost four in 10 organizations will rely exclusively on BYOD by 2016, and will no longer provide devices to employees. Moreover, they predict 85 percent of businesses will have some kind of BYOD program in place by 2020.

Today, even the super security conscious companies are making this shift in policy because BYOD offers a number of benefits, and employees are starting to demand it.

Advantages to having a BYOD policy:

  • Improved productivity: Research sponsored by Citrix showed that almost one in five small and mid-sized businesses achieved productivity gains of 30 percent or more by adopting mobile work styles like BYOD. Because your employees are comfortable with the device they are using, they require less training and on-boarding efforts. Plus, your IT team will be more productive and less stressed without receiving frequent help desk tickets regarding device issues.
  • Improved bottom line: Companies are able to avoid spending money on devices that might not be as powerful as the consumer devices that many of their employees already own.
  • Improved talent: BYOD allows for a more mobile employee base, and is attractive for remote workers. BYOD also helps these employees to stay connected with video conferencing and other collaboration tools even when they are not in the office.

Things to remember:

  • You should have a BYOD policy in place. Among other things, this will establish the level of support that can be expected for employee-owned PCs, smartphones and tablets from your IT department.
  • Be security conscious. You should also have a BYOD security policy in place to help protect your company's confidential information.

With employees using services like Easymeeting that allow employees to connect to their EasyConference room on a device they are comfortable with, it makes meeting even easier. Give us a try by requesting your free 14-day trial.

For many small to medium sized businesses, this practice has saved them money and kept their employees happy. Does your company support a BYOD policy? If so, tell us about it in the comments section.

Start Your Video Meetings On Time

In case you missed it in our March Newsletter, Spring is in the air and like most people you are busy, busy, busy. But are you are using your time as productively as possible? Start by beginning your meetings on time. If your team or colleagues are notorious for using more time than allotted for the meeting due to a late start, follow these 5 steps, and get your time back!

  1. Log into the meeting a few minutes early. Being logged into the meeting room does not mean that you cannot accomplish anything while you are waiting to get started. Simply put your microphone (and camera) on mute while you work and wait for others to join.

  2. Include the "how to join" instructions or auto-join link in your meeting invite. In many cases, meetings start late because someone doesn't know how to join. So for first-time users (and forgetful colleagues) it is easier to see the dial instructions, or simply to follow an auto-join link in the invitation.

  3. Begin the meeting when all the "key" players are present. Some invitees are not considered critical to a meeting, so --if this is the case--begin your meeting once all the key participants have joined. Typically the beginning of the meeting is not the most important, and if someone is taking notes they can send them to anyone who arrived late.

  4. Keep your meetings small. Stay focused on what you want to accomplish by the end of the meeting. Brainstorming/problem-solving meetings may require a larger group than a decision-making meeting. Popular opinion tends to suggest 10-25 people in a brainstorm/discussion meeting (sometimes breaking into subgroups) versus only six or less in a meeting that a decision needs to be made. When thinking of who to invite think small, but not so small you are eliminating diverse opinions.

  5. Be respectful of other people's time. We all consider our time precious. Sometimes, simply remembering that being late for a meeting means you are wasting other people's time is an easy way to fix your chronic late syndrome. If you are a critical participant in the meeting and you are running late, send the other attendees an email 15 mins before the meeting as a courtesy.

Meetings are a great tool that can help you and your company save time and money. Be sure you are prepared at the start of your meeting and don't forget to reach out to one of our Experts if you would like to make a test call prior to your meeting, we are happy to help.  Try Easymeeting for free and start enhancing your conversations today.