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EVO – The Collaboration Network



The EVO (Enabling Virtual Organizations) System (http://caltech.edu)
is based on a new distributed architecture, leveraging the 10+ years of experience of developing and operating the large distributed VRVS collaboration system now in production. The primary objective of EVO is to provide an improved system and a service to the LHC and other major High Energy Physics programs that fully meets the requirements for usability, quality, scalability, adaptability to a wide range of working environments, reliability and cost. The EVO infrastructure automatically adapts to the prevailing network configuration and status, so as to ensure that the collaboration service runs without disruption. Because EVO is able to perform end-to-end monitoring, including the end-user’s computer as well as the network infrastructure, we are able to inform the user of any potential or arising problems (e.g. excessive CPU load or packet loss) and, where possible, to fix the problems automatically and transparently on behalf of the user (e.g. by switching to another server node in the network, by reducing the number of video streams received, by adjusting audio volume, etc.). The integration of the MonALISA agent-based system (http://monalisa.caltech.edu) into the new EVO architecture was an important step in the evolution of the collaboraton service towards a globally distributed dynamic system that is largely autonomous.
The EVO Client (called Koala) is based on Java and runs on the 3 main Operating Systems used by the scientific community: Windows, Linux and MacOS.ViEVO3DSome of EVO’s features and functions are summarized below:

  • Instant messaging functions and presence information (i.e. available, busy, … )
  • Private or group chat during a meeting
  • Meetings-by-invitation, ad-hoc meetings, booked meetings, and permanent meetings
  • Playback and recording functions (of the entire session[video, audio, whiteboard, Instant Message, Chat,..]


  • Shared files, high resolution sharing of any screen area, and whiteboard functions
  • Support for several standard videoconferencing protocols: H.323(Polycom, Tandberg, …), Session Initiation Protocol (RTP) used by most of the collaborative applications.
  • Automatic TimeZone adjustment and Multi-Language support (English, French, Slovak, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, and Chinese)
  • Firewall-friendly and support for Network Address Translation (NAT)
  • End-to-End encryption of all the media (video/audio/chat/IM/ …)
  • A new video application based on OpenGL where all the live video windows and other objects are embedded in, and may move in a three dimensional space. (This application, which uses the graphics processor unit (GPU) to offload the main CPU and leave it free for other work, is currently available on Windows only, support for other operating systems will follow soon.)
  • A integrated telephone gateway allows users to join an EVO meeting through the normal phone system

Complete documentation is available. Please read it for a full description of EVO.

Feedback from the user community is very important to us. It allows us to make the system more robust and reliable, and enhance its functionality. Don’t hesitate to send email to us if you are facing any issues. We’ll be glad to help troubleshoot the problem as quickly as possible, and update our documentation or EVO itself where needed, based on this experience.





The 3 Best Time Tracking Apps

You can agree that there are several distractions while working from home. For instance, you might feel the urge to check your social media platforms, stream your favorite shows from your computer, or even play that game that you can’t get your hands off. Besides, you might be comfortably seated on your couch or still in your bed with your pajamas. And that’s how procrastination sets in without you even knowing.

The application software records your business hours which your employer can monitor.

Lucky for you, developers have come up with time tracking apps to help you manage your time while working from home. These apps monitor the time you spend on a particular task. The application software records your business hours which your employer can monitor. This monitoring, in turn, improves your time management and productivity. That being said, we will have an in-depth look at three outstanding time tracking apps.

1. Toggle track

This application comes almost free. You can use it on your android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Web, and even browse extensions. Toggle is easy to use as it does not require you to enter specific details before you start timing. You can go ahead and start your time, and then you can enter the other details later.

Toggle can be used as an extension when you are using Chrome or Firefox browser, and it can pop up on other apps like Google Docs. The app is flexible enough as it automatically starts or stops depending on whether your browser is open or not. Toggle detects when your computer is idle and does not record the time that you away from your computer. If you are working on a serious project, you can time yourself and even set break intervals using the app. With these amazing features, you should consider going for this app.

2. Harvest

If you are working as a team, harvest can be a good pick for you. The app is designed to handle collaborative work, which the team leader can monitor. Everyone in your team needs to install the app on their devices which are then liked to the administrator’s account. You can use the app offline, and it reminds you to submit your timesheets to your team leader.

Interestingly, the app has a sync dashboard across devices which enables you to shift from one device to another. This feature is advantageous for those who work with multiple devices. You, therefore, do not need to start another time when you change your device.

3. Everhour

Everhour is an time tracking app that also allows employers to track their workers' availability

Everhour is another good time tracking app that syncs with other productivity apps. It is supported by apps such as Asana, Basecamp, Teamwork Projects, Trello and few other apps. With this feature, all the projects you have done with the other apps show up on Everhour. This feature makes the app flexible to use once it syncs with other apps. The sync feature adds a timer button on the web-based app that you decide to use, allowing you to start or stop the recording in the said app.

The app also allows employers to track their workers’ availability. The employees enter the maximum amount of hours they can be available in a week. The employer then allocates work according to the employee’s availability. Besides, the team leader can see what each member is doing, and a summary of the project being worked on is projected on a live dashboard.

If you want to remain focused and manage your time well while working remotely, consider using a time tracking tool. It is now up to you to choose your preferred time tracking tool based on your needs and circumstances.

The Best Tips for Working with To-do Lists

For many people, getting all their work done and in due time can be challenging. You easily forget what you need to do and which tasks need to be done first. It is because of such reasons that you need to work with a to-do list. What to-do lists essentially do is help you organize your thoughts, prioritize your deadlines, gauge your progress and give you a sense of focus and direction. Therefore, having a to-do list will enable you to be more productive and efficient in your work.

What to-do lists essentially do is help you organize your thoughts, prioritize your deadlines, gauge your progress and give you a sense of focus and direction

Choosing the right app for your to-do list is important. The app impacts how well you follow through with what you have set out to do. A good example of such an application would be the Microsoft to-do. This app enables you to jot down what you want to do, set reminders, and tick an activity once you are through with it. We are now going to focus on some tips to write an effective to-do list.

Have Multiple Lists

It would be better if you had multiple lists, say work, personal and household. Having these dissections will enable you to focus on particular areas while at the same time having a thought on some other priorities at the back of your mind. What this does is make you more organized and ensures you get all your job done. You can even have the lists in order of priority to make sure you first finish the most crucial tasks say work-related, then you focus on your other tasks.

Write Deadlines

Writing just what you have to do without indicating the deadline will not be effective. You need to know when you are supposed to finish a particular task, enabling you to prioritize your work. Having deadlines will enable you to plan your day and make adjustments where necessary. Also, what having due dates does is to make you manage your time properly so that you can be able to finish your tasks.

Make Quick Notes

Something might come to your mind while working, and it is important to note it down lest you forget. It would help if you had a shortcut to your to-do list so that when you want to write something, you can easily access it. Jotting down tasks is crucial as you will not be dwelling on them as you have already taken them down.

Make Regular Revisions to your To-do List

Make sure that you check your to-do list every day so that you can make revisions when you deem it necessary. If you have too many tasks, consider reducing some of them to a manageable number to have a list that you can comfortably work with.

Have Task Not Goals

You should have tasks on your to-do list that you can achieve within a short period.

You need to know the difference between tasks and goals. Tasks are objectives that are easy to quantify and can be achieved within a day or so. On the other hand, goals are long-term actions and are difficult to quantify. You should have tasks on your to-do list that you can achieve within a short period. Doing this will make you reach an objective that you set out to do within a limited time.

Have a Scan-able To-do List

You need to have a to-do list that you can easily scan through within a matter of seconds. Having a scan-able list is important so that you spend minimum time looking at you your list. You can achieve this by having very short statements in point form. It will also help if your text is highlighted.

Remember, to-do lists can only be effective if you use them appropriately. Therefore, consider following the tips above that will help you work effectively while at home.

The Best Virtual Team Building Activities

Working at home comes with its share of problems. According to full-time remote workers, they record that they get lonely and lose the motivation to keep working. These feelings are brought about due to a lack of coworkers’ physical connection and the change in the working environment. Remote workers agree that there is little or no social bond while working at home, negatively affecting your performance.

To increase employees' productivity while working from home, businesses and organizations develop creative ways to keep their employees motivated.

To increase employees’ productivity while working from home, businesses and organizations develop creative ways to keep their employees motivated. They are investing in virtual team-building activities. These activities are aimed to motivate their employees and create bonds, though online.

Virtual team-building activities provide a break from the usual screen time and engage the employees breaking the monotony of work, which is ideal. We will focus on some virtual team-building activities that you should consider to improve your productivity while working remotely.

Group Chat Socializing

Talking about work every time can be boring for many people. A good ice breaker from the serious stuff is good at drawing you a bit from your work. You can have simple conversations with your team members. Share what you had for lunch, call one another by your nicknames, and a joke or two wouldn’t be bad. Such conversations enable you to bond with your workers bringing about the necessary collegiality while working as a team.

Messy-desk Face-offs

Working at home comes with some freedom as you are not sharing your working space. You can concur that there are some people at work whose desks are always clean and neatly arranged. Funny enough, this is not always the case while working from home. You can decide on one evening to have a snick preview of your desks, and I’m certain that you will be surprised. Some of the least expected people have messy desks at home. This game is a nice activity for you to have some nice bonding and tease one another.

Guess the Emoji Board

You can decide to have a competition in which you guess each other's best emojis

Most of you, if not all, use emojis while texting. For some people, if you send them a text without an emoji, they’d think it’s dry. You can decide to have a competition in which you guess each other’s best emojis. You send a list of all players to all participants to guess their colleagues’ favorite emoji. You’ll be surprised by some of the picks that you will get. This activity is a good bonding experience as you will tell what other people perceive you. You can have a prize for the one who gets the correct guesses, say a lunch treat, or something of the sort.

Two Truths and a Lie

In this game, you have each of you mention three things about themselves, and you let your colleagues guess which two statements are correct and which one is a lie. When everyone is done, you reveal the lie. You can then have scores for each of you and have a prize, say for the top three. This game lets you share some of your attributes and hobbies in a fun way. You get to know one another and have some good bonding time.

Bucket list Sharing

Bucket list sharing is an activity in which you share some of the things you would want to engage in at any point in your life. You can let one person share their bucket list, say every Friday. This activity is a nice way to learn about some of your colleagues’ ambitions and aspirations. It makes you have some connection with those around you, and it can even motivate some of you to work towards their dreams.

It is important to note that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Consider engaging in some of these team-building activities to enhance your productivity and bond with your colleagues.

4 Alternatives to Video Meetings on Skype

Skype provides a platform where you can create and join video meetings. This application has come in handy for organizations and businesses that want to hold interviews and conferences. You can attend these meetings remotely provided there is a stable internet connection. You can also send messages and files to the participants in the Skype meeting. Also important to note is that calls from around the world can join the discussion on Skype at a rate.

several applications can be alternatives to Skype. They offer almost similar features, and some have some unique features

That said, several applications can be alternatives to Skype. They offer almost similar features, and some have some unique features. We are now going to have an in-depth look at some of the alternatives you can have for Skype.

1. Zoom

You probably have had of zoom meeting or had an opportunity to interact with it. It is arguably the first name that comes to your mind when asked about an alternative for Skype. Zoom is one of the best platforms for video conferencing. Its premium service allows you to hold a meeting of up to 500 participants. This feature comes in handy when you want to have a conference with a large number of participants.

With zoom, you can share your screen and allow your participants to follow through while presenting. For those who cannot attend the meeting at the designated time, zoom enables you to record the session and get back to it when you are free. You can also change your background when you deem it necessary, thereby giving you the privacy you may need. So, if you want an alternative for Skype, consider trying this app.

2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is another excellent app that enables you to enjoy video calls and hold conferences. Something unique about this app is that it allows you to share Office 365 documents and collaborate with your workers. If you operate mainly with Office 365 documents in your organization, this app is suitable for your video conferencing.

Besides, the Microsoft Team comes with a storage of up to 1TB to share and store your files. You can also instantly shift from a video call to a conference, thus proving flexible for you.

3. Jitsi Meet

Jitsi is another good app that you can use as an alternative to Skype. With Jitsi, you do not need to download the app to access it, as you can do so through the website. This easy access comes in handy when you are not close to your computer, and you need to attend that online meeting.

The app also has features such as a Chatbox and a Dropbox, which you can record calls and upload them there for your team members to view. Jitsi also requires you to enter the meeting password before joining a meeting; thus, only the invites have access to the forum. It can support up to 75 members at a go. Still, if you want to increase the video’s quality, you should reduce the number to at most 50 participants.

4. Google Meet

Google Meet is an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that you should consider having. You can create the meeting right from your google mail and then send the link to the participants. The app allows you to add up to 250 participants. However, the app will enable you to broadcast to 100000 participants if you are dealing with many people. It also allows messaging with end-to-end encryption. All it takes to access these fantastic features is a Google Account.

When looking for an alternative for Skype, remember to concentrate on features like the number of participants, quality of the call, and the app’s reliability.

Apps that can make working in home office easier

The pandemic has disrupted normal working conditions for many workers. As is the case, many businesses have scaled-down operations at their main offices and shifted to remote working. Many folks may have been on the receiving end of this new normal. You may have noticed that remote working gives you leeway to work as you please. You can choose to work from your bed, have multiple breaks, and constantly check your phone, among other things. However, it is up to you to keep yourself motivated and to make good use of your time.

Luckily, companies have developed some applications to help you increase your productivity while working from home

Luckily, companies have developed some applications to help you increase your productivity while working from home. With these apps, you can keep track of the time you spend working, plan your work accordingly, and have virtual meetings. Below are some of the essential applications that you should consider having if you are working from home.


Toggle is an app designed to help you monitor the time you spend on a particular project. You may have noticed from previous work experiences that gauging the time you spend on a task is difficult. Toggle enables you to check on the amount of time you’ve spent working on a particular work and so you can improve your speed where necessary. This app comes in handy if you are employed and paid based on the amount of time spent working on some project.


This app gives you a platform for workers to communicate with each other when working in teams. Perhaps in your organization, you belong to a specific docket in which you must have constant communication with each other. Slack provides you with channels that your team members can join to communicate in one group. Besides, you have the opportunity to chat privately with any of your team members. You also can leave and join the channel as you need if the information is irrelevant to you.


Skype is a video conferencing tool that lets you communicate with your clients or coworkers

Skype is a video conferencing tool that lets you communicate with your clients or coworkers. The application is almost free and has several standout features. For instance, besides allowing you to have a video call between two or more people, you can also share messages, files, and videos among yourselves. This app enables you to have a formal meeting and share the said items and project them on the screen. If you are looking for an application to have effective meetings, consider having Skype.

Microsoft To-Do

Getting organized while working at home is crucial as you might forget some of the activities you have to do. The Microsoft To-Do app helps you to stay organized as it allows you to have a to-do list. You can make a task list, take notes, record data, plan an event, or even set reminders to make sure you do not forget the most critical tasks. With this app, you will remain organized and finish all the work you set out to do at the beginning of the day.

Chrome Remote Desktop

This application enables you to have access to your computer remotely. You can access your desktop from another computer, phone, or tablet at any time of the day. You type the access URL into any browser or download the app if you are using your phone. Also, your colleagues can have access to it from their respective locations.


This app works similarly to slack but has some more standout features. If you are working on different projects simultaneously, the app displays the tasks on boards. It shows the current project, who is working on it, and the current stage. If you oversee most of your colleagues, you should consider having this app while working remotely.

About the World Cyber Games of the Past

The World Cyber Games were an international competition akin to the Olympics of playing video games. The tournament was open to the world, and it was funded by Samsung and Microsoft. This article explains why it was such a success, and it gave rise to the gaming world known as eSports. There are hundreds of players around the world who are playing in tournaments of this kind, and the World Cyber Games were truly the first.

They brought the world of gaming together regardless of the platform to play games on systems that everyone loves. They honored the past, and they looked forward to the future. This is a look at what makes eSports special, and there are those who will be quite pleased to learn that the gaming community is open and honest with all those in its ranks. They created memories and good times that anyone around the world may have enjoyed.

#1: The eSports Are Born from A Single Event

eSports are the games played by professional gamers in a competitive environment. There are quite a few of these events around the world, and the events feature players combating each other in games that may require one or two players. Certain games are played for the highest of high scores, and other games are played in a head-to-head format. Players competing in the World Cyber Games were playing games across multiple platforms until a champion is crowned. The gold, silver and bronze medal were awarded to the winners of the event, and another game was contested.

The events were split into the ability levels, and all the gamers played each other on an even field. There was quite a lot of fairness built into the games, and they were contested until a true winner was crowned for each game.

#2: Who Plays eSports?

Gamers from all around the world can take part in the world cyber games, or just watch them online.

There are quite a few players around the world who are going to tournaments on an annual basis, and they play games on their chosen console as experts. There may be players who play their games across multiple platforms, and they may be champions of their games on more than one platform. The players who come into eSports are there due to online exposure. They have a name that allows them an opportunity to play games around the world, and they are often on the radar of gaming companies who wish to employ their services.

The players who come to eSports events are often the best in the world at what they do, and they are given an opportunity to prove there is no one better at their game on their system. The World Cyber Games helped prove that, and they brought forth a new era in the eSports world. Some of the best players included:

  • Salvatore Garozzo
  • Johnny Quach
  • Dave Geffon
  • Ronald Kim
  • Kyle Miller

#3: Which Consoles Were Used?

The most-current Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation, X-Box and online games were played at tournaments around the world, and the World Cyber Games brought all the different gaming systems into one room. These players often did not face off against one another, and there was a forum where they were able to play each other even though they were on opposite ends of the spectrum. It is quite important that anyone who loves gaming has a look at the formatting of the World Cyber Games. The tournament helped bring every gamer together rather than separating them into their respective systems.

The systems that are represented were some of the most advanced in the world, and the players often used controllers that were designed to make their gaming much easier. They want to build a gaming culture that shares information, and watching the World Cyber Games helps gamers learn how the best of the best work. They offered:

  • Age of Empires
  • Counterstrike
  • FIFA
  • Quake III Arena
  • StarCraft
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Halo
  • Dead or Alive
  • Gears of War
  • Guitar Hero
  • and many others

#4: Watching the Contests Online

There were quite a few contests that were posted online, and each new contest ensures players will see what it means for the world’s best players to face off against one another. These players know all the best tricks, and they are aware of how every game works when it is played to its maximum potential. Players who post their matches online offer insight into the world of gaming at the highest level, and players may attempt to copy what they see online.

Their favorite players will help them learn to play their favorite games, and the World Cyber Games gave way to online video sites that show players in the midst of their best games. Learning to play like a professional is quite simple now that the World Cyber Games have allowed for a vibrant online gaming culture.

#5: The Finest Games Are Released

Gamers from all over the world can take part at the World Cyber Games

The best players in the world have been seen playing new games online, and it is quite important for players to have a look at what the newest games are like. The games released through the World Cyber Games were the best in the world at the time, and it is quite important that players are looking at proper previews of their favorite new games. The previews feature the best players in the world, and the games look much better when they are played by someone who is skilled in the art of gaming. Playing online video games is a skill that may be learned watching the World Cyber Games and their best players.

Anyone who is intrigued by the online gaming community must look for videos of the World Cyber Games as they provide a peek at what the best gamers in the world are capable of, and they may try the tournaments that have replaced the World Cyber Games such as World Gaming, Major League Gaming and eSports events hosts through the XGames.

#6: The 2020 Online Competition

Due to the global corona pandemic, the 2020 competitions could not take place as usual. Instead, the organizers agreed on a solution that was also appropriate for the 21st century – the World Cyber Games 2020 took place entirely online. Because of this, it also received the title “WCG 2020 Connected”. Seoul and Shanghai were the host locations, so it only featured players from Korea and China. This did not diminish the success of the event – it even received 650 million views.

How to Hire the Right Virtual Assistants

There are many things that go into having a thriving business. Every business owner knows or is forced to learn that they cannot do everything on their own. For this reason, having a virtual assistant or having several virtual assistants is beneficial as the company is growing. When looking to hire someone to be part of the team it is imperative to not rush into things and to be clear on what kind of person is desired. By hiring someone wrong for a position it can be a costly mistake. There are definitely benefits to both the business owner and the virtual assistant for everything to be done virtually.

Most companies only review virtual assistants who take the time to submit a resume documenting their experience. This shows that they actually value the work they do and they take necessary steps to ensure that they get the attention of the hiring manager. A good virtual assistant will be able to give the names and contact information of people they have worked for in the past. By contacting at least some of these people, the business owner will be able to find out about the quality of their work and a bit about the personality of the potential assistant. If the assistant does not have any references but the business owner decides to hire them, it is best to do it on a trial basis. This way the person will understand that it is a trial basis and will hopefully do their best work.

Limitations of an Assistant

Before hiring the virtual assistant an interview should take place. The interview can be done virtually or in person. By doing the interview this will give the business owner or hiring manager a better understanding of what the virtual assistant can do. Some assistants can complete technical work and others cannot. It is important to know the limitations of an assistant before they have been hired.

The interview is also an excellent time to talk about salary requirements. Some virtual assistants are very inexpensive and others are on the more expensive end. Just because someone may be inexpensive or expensive does not make them necessarily better. The business owner must take time to ensure they hire the best virtual assistant to meet their needs.

Confidentiality Agreement

A good idea is to have the virtual assistant to sign a confidentiality agreement. Sometimes they will know about a company’s policy and other confidential information. By signing a confidentiality agreement this is one way to protect the company and its clients.

When hiring any member of a team it is important that the decision not done hastily. This way the business owner can be sure they hire the right person for the position and this can cause a long-term working relationship.

Maintaining Virtual Assistants

One of the best ways to keep virtual assistants and make sure that they are adhering to the standards is by using great communication. The business owner must share in details exactly what they are wanting and be precise in communication. They must also set time limits for projects and point of contact. By having things in order from the beginning the business can try to make sure adding the virtual assistant to the team goes as smoothly as possible.

Digital Communication is Highly Important

The biggest aspect of any business is a high level of communication. If the communication piece is not a part of their daily routine then it can cause important details to be overlooked and that could cause some loss of profits. Over the years many business owners used to depend solely on phones to communicate with staff and their clients; however, now things have changed drastically. Now more than ever people are relying heavily on digital communication. Digital communication is amazing becomes it helps people to save time. Business owners have so many things going on at the same time that time is truly an asset. By utilizing digital communication business owners are able to focus on the things that matter the most.

Instant Messaging

When companies use instant messaging they can ensure that someone gets their message as soon as possible and they know that it is sent. On many platforms, they can even tell when it has been read. By doing things this way a business owner is able to get the information they need quickly and create a more efficient way to do business. It allows for an easy way to communicate. Also, internally many people use this to share folders and information with members of their team while still being able to do other things.

Digital Bulletin Boards

Some companies have started to utilize digital bulletin boards to give out daily details. This is a great way to give the team updates all at once about what has happened throughout the course of the day, previous days and a way to reiterate goals. This will also be a place that will share with them any changes they need to know before a meeting takes place.

What to Consider When Using Digital Communication

One of the main reasons why many business owners wanted to stick to mainly using phones is because some details can be missed in messaging with people instead of talking to them directly. So it is best to review every message to ensure the true meaning is revealed. It is also beneficial to check for spelling and grammar errors. It may take a bit more time to look over things thoroughly but it is worth the extra effort. Another thing to check is the headline. The headline should be straight to the point and make someone want to open the E-mail. Creating files can also help with communication. This way a person is able to find emails and information quickly.

How to Be Efficient and Productive in a Home Office Setting

Many businesses are starting to allow their employees to work from home when possible or even on a daily basis. Entrepreneurs also have the benefit of working from home as well. There are steps that can be taken to be set up for better efficiency and more productivity. Everyone wants to be able to get things done timely and in the best way possible.

One major key that should be taken into consideration is the amount of organization that goes into the home office. If the office is not organized then this allows for valuable time to be wasted trying to find documents and other things that should be readily available. It may take some time to organize items in the beginning but this will definitely help save time when the day to day tasks start to accumulate.

A Comfortable Atmosphere is Important

If at all possible it is best to have an office space that has a window. Some people definitely feel uncomfortable if they do not have a window and then this sometimes causes them to take more breaks just to remove themselves from the office space. Windows also cause less eye stain due to lighting issues. It is important to have an office space that feels comfortable. No one wants to spend a significant amount of time in an office space that does not feel inviting.

The office space should be free from noise if at all possible and should have a door; especially if there are children in the home. This allows for more privacy and causes a person to stay more focused and productive throughout their day.


The comfort and functionality of the furniture that is placed in the home office is a top priority. The chair must be comfortable so that a person can withstand long amounts of time in it. No one who works should stop taking into account how they feel on daily basis in their environment. If they are not comfortable many times their work will begin to suffer.

Some people who work from home truly believe that a standing desk is one of the best investments they have made in their home office. They may not use it all the time but some studies have shown that sitting all day can be detrimental. Also standing has been linked to increased metabolism.

Create a Plan and Schedule

A top success tip is to create a plan and schedule around when things will take place within the day. Although a person is working from home it is still a great decision to stick to a routine or schedule. This way they can stay on track to how productive they actually are within the course of a day. When working from home something that many people do is overwork. They are home so they do not realize how much time they are actually extending to projects. By overworking they cause a negative work-life balance. By having a schedule they will know how much they are working and will be able to see if they can be more productive in other ways.

A Musical Environment

Music can be a very healthy part of a person’s day. Music can make people feel various emotions. Music can cause people to be more relaxed and more productive throughout the day. One of the best parts of working from home is that an ideal playlist can be created. The worker can listen to the music that they would like to experience the most.

Art, Pictures, and Plants

The scenery that is in the office can cause productivity to be better. Most people enjoy having something to view while they are working. Some people choose pictures of their family, art or plants. The person who works from home has to find what motivates them. It can be quite different from everyone. Certain colors even have a different impact on people. At times it is even good to change things up a bit in the office space.

The Family Dynamic of Working from Home

Everyone who works from home who lives with family understands how difficult it can be. For this reason, it is best to establish boundaries as soon as possible. Families should have communication regarding work times and what is expected. They need to understand why things have to be this way. Children especially should be talked to. They are more likely to adhere to the expectations if they are aware of them.

By taking all these necessary steps an amazingly, productive and efficient office space will be created.

How to Work Virtually

Why People Are Using Slack and Skype

One of the main facets that are important within any business is communication. If the communication piece is not done properly on a day to day basis, then the business will not be sustainable and the profits will decrease significantly. It is ideal for there to be various ways to allow for connection on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Skype Usage

One of the top communication tools is Skype. Many people look to Skype because it is a well-known name in the technological world and many of its features are free. So if someone is on a budget or is just starting their business this is highly appealing. Even if someone wants to take it up a notch, Skype has a plan that only costs two dollars per user each month.

Slack Usage

Slack is not as well-known as Skype but has quickly gained steam among its clients. Many people are choosing Slack because of all of its offerings and being able to do so many things on the same platform is highly appealing. Skype and Slack are quite similar but there are some key differences.

The Basics of Cost

If someone was interested in Slack they should know that the basic version is absolutely free; however, it is limited to two-person voice and video calls. Plus it only has two app integrations. They do offer plans that start at $6.67 per user per month. This allows group voice and video calls. These plans have better security, unlimited integrations within the app, and unlimited searches. They also offer a $12.50 monthly plan. It includes advanced IT features.

Skype’s online meetings are free for up to ten people. If someone would like to include more users they can upgrade to the $2 per user monthly plan.

The Ultimate in Collaboration

Skype and Slack offer collaboration tools. Slack utilizes channels to ensure that they make it as easy as possible for their users to connect. The users can create hashtags to help organize projects and to make sure that everyone on the team knows what is going on. Users are also able to drop files just by utilizing a simple drag and drop method. The conversations that are held on Slack are archived; so that someone can easily find what they are searching for.

Skype even allows for collaboration during a video or voice call. Users can utilize screen sharing, whiteboards, group polling and PowerPoint presentations. Users can do these things on Slack as well but they would have to integrate third-party integrations.

The Best for Integrations

Microsoft programming is integrated into the Skype seamlessly. So PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook are all included in this. The downside is that Skype does integrate other things outside of Microsoft.

Slack is known for its integrating power. Many business owners have found that they can get a large amount of work completed even within the Slack platform. So this could save them some time.

Which Platform Wins

It is highly difficult to decipher whether people should choose the Skype or Slack platform. It is mainly up to what is the most important to the user. If someone is looking for a platform that has all the bells and whistles then they may be more focused on what Slack can do for them. The best part of the Skype platform is that it is user-friendly and it covers all of the basics. Someone who has more tech skills may want to have the Slack platform.

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