Like many companies, OfferZen has adopted Zoom as our primary video conferencing platform when we started working remotely. Over the last few weeks, we’ve learned a lot about how to set up Zoom for the whole team. Here are some tips on how to set up a company account, host both big and small meetings, and even have some fun with team events and virtual backgrounds.
Over the last few years, our team has made use of both Zoom and Google Hangouts for video calls. However, when the whole office went remote, we decided to choose one tool for everyone to use to help streamline our operations. We decided to go with Zoom because we found that it worked particularly well for both large format meetings and one-on-one calls.
Here are some of the steps we took to get started, and a few tips we’ve picked up along the way.
Customise your license package to suit your needs and budget
There are different license types on Zoom to accommodate different needs and budgets. We decided to go for a combination of ‘basic’ licenses, which are free and allow for calls up to 40 minutes, and ‘pro’ licenses, which cost $14.99/month and allow for unlimited calls.
We also opted to pay for cloud storage for our client meetings, so that we could record them for quality assessment purposes.
Pro tip: You can manage your licenses month-to-month as your requirements change.
How to set up your account
Once you’ve decided which package you’d like to go with, it’s easy to get started. Here’s the step-by-step process we followed:
- Create an account for your company and log in.
- Work out how many ‘pro’ licenses you need and buy these in ‘Plans and Pricing’.
- Once you’ve bought your licenses, click on ‘User Management’.
- To add individual users, go into ‘Users’ and then click ‘Add Users’ on the right hand side of the screen.
- Fill in your team members’ email addresses and mark whether you’d like them to be ‘basic’ or ‘pro’ users.
Pro tip: We group our teams by department for easier user management.
- All invited users will remain in the ‘Pending’ tab until they have accepted your invitation, making it easy to keep track of where everyone is at.
Advice to help team members get themselves set up
Once everyone has access to the Zoom accounts that you’ve purchased, there are a few things we’ve found each individual can do to seamlessly integrate Zoom into their workflows:
- Download the app onto your laptop and phone: While Zoom can be used via your web browser, the app makes it much more accessible.
- Add Zoom meeting details to your Google Calendar invitations: This requires some setting up beforehand in the Google Admin settings, but it’s quick and easy.
- Add the Zoom Scheduler to Chrome: This is an extension that allows you to start an instant meeting, or schedule a meeting in both your own Google Calendar and someone else’s. You can download it from the Chrome web store.
- Add the Slack plug-in to schedule meetings through Slack: If you’re messaging someone and find that it would be quicker to chat face-to-face, this nifty plug-in allows you to jump on a call immediately. Find more detailed set up instructions here.
- Enable ‘non-verbal’ participation in your Zoom settings: This allows you to interact during a meeting with ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to get your point across easily. You can also ‘raise your hand’, which is a cool way to get the presenter’s attention without disrupting them.
Make use of a ‘pro’ license to keep ‘face-to-face working’ as normal as possible
Collaboration is a big part of our culture at OfferZen. To help maintain this online, we decided to purchase additional ‘pro’ licenses for each team, so that they have a room to have daily standups, team meetings, and more casual interactions like coffee chats. Some teams leave this meeting room open, with individuals logging into it to ‘work together’ throughout the day.
Pro tip 1: To make these team meeting rooms as accessible as possible, we’ve added the Zoom link to each team’s Slack channel description.
Pro tip 2: Add the magic link to the front of the URL to prevent the meeting opening in your browser first: zoommtg://zoom.us/join?confno=
Pro tip 3: For more spontaneous, quickfire interactions, our Product team has found Discord to work really well.
Try out the different ‘big meeting’ formats to find one that fits your team
At OfferZen, we have a company-wide meeting every Monday at lunchtime to update everyone on the major things that are happening. It’s an hour long and we make use of Slides.
We initially tried to host this meeting using Zoom’s ‘webinar’ functionality, which costs $40/month, as it’s noted as the easiest way to present to large groups. However, we found it to be quite impersonal, because unlike a standard call, the presenter can’t see any of the attendees, which makes interactions hard.
We’ve opted to go back to the regular meeting format, and have just asked everyone to keep themselves on mute when they’re not presenting or talking.
Pro tip: We use the chat functionality when someone has a question. The speaker sees the question pop up on the screen and can answer immediately. This helps keep the session interactive, but not chaotic with multiple people trying to talk at once.
We’ve found this functionality to work really well when hosting team events online. So far, our awesome Office Manager, Zsa, and Events team have run a pub quiz and a murder mystery. The breakout room functionality allowed both team-wide meetings and private meetings between smaller groups to discuss answers without everyone listening in.
It’s also a function that the host controls, which makes it easy to run the event smoothly.
Check out a more detailed explanation of how this feature works here.
Use the ‘virtual background’ feature to have a bit of fun
Our design team has put together a bunch of fun backgrounds that have given our online meetings a real boost.
To add one, click on the arrow pointing upwards next to the video icon at the bottom of the screen, select ‘Choose Virtual Background’, then select ‘I have a green screen’, click the ‘plus’ icon, and upload an image of your choice from your computer.
Here’s a link to one of our favourite backgrounds we’ve been using for you to enjoy too.
Note: This functionality seems to work best on more high-powered machines. We use Macbooks at OfferZen, and have found that teammates who are using Macbook Airs aren’t able to use the background feature as effectively as those with Macbook Pros.
Some of the cons we’ve experienced with Zoom
Support is hard to get hold of
For the most part, moving over to Zoom has been super easy. However, when we have had queries, we’ve found the Zoom support center quite hard to get hold of. Their customer base has exploded with the increase of remote working but they haven’t been able to expand their team quickly enough because of their own COVID-19 related constraints. When you do eventually get through to someone they are usually helpful.
It doesn’t notify you before it bills you each month
With a large team, using Zoom can get expensive if your budget situation changes and you haven’t kept a careful eye on adjusting your license packages. If you do reduce your licenses, you need to remember to remove teammates’ email addresses from the ‘pro’ license allocations, otherwise you will still be billed for them.