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Friday Work Break: Let’s Hangout!

Author: Stefanie Kanter

I recently moved, and the reality of working remotely from the home office in Portland can be a bit (very) lonely.  I am a social person, and boy did I get used to having my fun coworkers around all of the time. I am having some separation anxiety, and this is where the almighty Google comes in. Lucky for me and the rest of the remote office world, Google+ unveiled the most wonderful feature when they launched: the hangout.

While an untrained eye might think this little tool is the same as Skype, I am here to tell you differently.

  • First of all, the video quality is a huge improvement over Skype. Everyone shows up crystal clear- we are talking the HD of video chatting.
  • You are able to hangout with up to 10 different people. So, if you are like Sparkloft and have employees scattered across the world, you can easily hold team meetings.
  • When hangin’ you are able to either have the main screen randomly rotate between participants who are speaking, or select one person to stay focused on which is incredibly helpful for paying attention.  If you work from home and are often subjected to hour-long conference calls, then you can understand how amazing this feature is.
  • You can all watch the same video on YouTube together, which is just plain fun.

Tips for optimizing your hangout:

  • After many hangouts it has become apparent that it works best when running Chrome (no surprise here.)
  • If one person is leading the meeting have everyone else mute their microphones to cut back on feedback and random noises.
  • Try to have everyone enter the hangout at the same time; it makes an annoying welcome noise every time someone enters so if people keep joining late it can be distracting.
  • If there is a group in the main office, have them join the hangout from only one account; this helps keep things running speedy.

Who knew hanging out at work could be so productive?