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Important Things to Know About the Revolutionary “Share Economy”

Important Things to Know About the Revolutionary “Share Economy”
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When we were kids, one of the first lessons we learned was to share. In a world where business is under increased pressure to be more socially responsible, easier on the environment and take a more active role in social issues, some businesses are getting the message.

The share economy is made up of companies like Airbnb, Elance, VerbalizeIt, Mechanical Turk, co-working spaces and numerous other services that unite those who have available goods and services with the people who need access to them.

The “share economy” is changing the way people access the resources they need. But it’s not all rainbows and puppies, there are downsides. If you are already participating in the new sharing economy or considering it, you need to know these nine things.

1. It requires companies to make better products

When a product is shared by a large number of people instead of just one person or family, a different level of quality is required. It gets passed around more and is subjected to more wear and tear. Cheap, throw-away products are no longer acceptable.

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2. It’s better for the environment

When you aren’t using something you own, you can share it instead of throwing it away. This saves natural resources. For example, we don’t have to manufacture a whole bicycle for each person who uses a bicycle only occasionally. They can use bike sharing to get access to a bike only when they want it.

3. It destroys jobs

St. Louis cab driver and ride-sharing critic Umar Lee, believes that car sharing facilitated by companies like Uber and Lyft hurts people by taking away their jobs. He says:

Driving a cab in St. Louis is a job that has allowed drivers to buy homes, raise families and send their children to college. Its not a plaything for me. I work six or seven days a week on this job (usually 10-12 hours a day) and that’s the money I use to support my children and pay my bills.

4. You can own less

The share economy lets you have access to things instead of owning them. If you want to use something, you don’t need to own it because access is an option. This saves money and resources and gives you the ability to have richer life experiences because the cost of access is reduced.

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5. It’s hard to regulate

In the traditional economy, regulation by the government is how we ensure safety and quality. When the parties providing and receiving the goods and services are distributed individuals, it becomes difficult to regulate. According to Jeremiah Owyang, share economy expert and founder of Crowd Companies, it’s also difficult to stop:

This is powered on mobile and social; the only way you can stop this tech-based movement is to stop the Internet.

The share economy depends on reputation instead of regulation.

6. It brings economic opportunity to everyone

Those who do not have the means to start a business or job opportunities available to them can make money by sharing their skills. Ryan Frankel, share economy enthusiast and co-founder of VerbalizeIt says:

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The shared economy model allows us to disrupt a traditionally broken translation industry, be a driving force for business internationalization and create job opportunities around the globe for those with a proven and tested skill-set.

7. Company growth is driven by reuse

In the legacy economy, company growth came from selling more products. Growth meant getting more people to consume more goods. Companies that facilitate the share economy grow when their customers share more of what they already have.

8. It’s harder to tax

It’s easy to tax hotels, cab companies and industries dominated by large companies, but when the service providers become distributed, as they necessarily do in the share economy, it gets messier, but not impossible. However, San Francisco recently reached an agreement with Airbnb to collect taxes on rentals in the city.

9. It helps people get access to resources they need

Resources that were previously inaccessible due to a higher cost of owning or purchasing them can made be more accessible. For example, entrepreneurs, who would have previously been limited to working out of a spare bedroom, can get access to workspace in a collaborative environment. Jason Deem, founder of Nebula Coworking, says:

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Coworking encourages innovation and experimentation by fostering a collaborative community of entrepreneurs who benefit from the diversity of skills and connections in the coworking environment. It also minimizes the risk of starting a new business by keeping costs low through the use of shared resources.

How to start participating in the share economy

You may find that you can benefit from both being a consumer and provider of shared resources. Begin by looking at things you own, but don’t use as much as you could. Start with your most expensive assets, such as your house, car, boat or other large, expensive items. Then research your options for sharing those things and making some money doing it.

Next, look at resources that you use. Think in terms of access instead of ownership. Research and understand your options for getting access to those things you want instead of owning them. You may find that you would be better off getting rid of things you own and accessing them instead. Or you may find that you can get access to things, like a boat via Boatbound, that you previously thought were inaccessible.

You’ll get the most benefit by participating on both sides of the sharing economy (consuming shared resources and sharing your unused resources). You might find that you can get access to more of the things you want and spend less money.

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Give it a shot, it’s the future, so you might as well see if it will help you, right?

Featured photo credit: Ted Manasa via facebook.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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