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March 27, 2020

How’s the remote working?

Time to Shine staff, like those of so many other organisations, are now working at home, as we seek to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect ourselves. We’ve moved fairly smoothly into remote working.

It’s not the same as being across a desk from your colleague, or being in the same physical meeting, but for many people it’s a great way of staying connected with each other.

We’re sharing some of the knowledge that we’ve gained about remote working. We’re very aware that this change will be easier for some organisations than others. Please share your own top tips and little victories.

For meetings where you can see and talk to one person or several people together, from your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Benefits: Teams and individuals can stay in touch whilst working remotely. In addition to other meetings many organisations are running a short daily check-in online where people can share how they are doing and talk about the work they have planned for the day.

How it works: Uses the camera and the audio from your device and connects you with other people who have also joined the online meeting. Not all desktops and laptops have built in mic and video camera. You will need to connect a camera and a mic if your machine doesn’t have these. You may have to download an app and set up an account.

Tip: Whichever one you use, it sounds way more complicated than it feels – try and set up a test meeting with a colleague.

You may choose or be asked to use any of these:


Probably the most popular platform and the easiest to use. The free version allows meetings up to 40 minutes. Plenty of online help is available.


Free version available. Uses more bandwidth so connection may not be as good if you have several people at the meeting.

Jitsi Meet

Free and open source, encrypted and anonymous (no need to create an account), really simple to use but the language on the website is a bit more techy.

Microsoft Teams

Free if you are using Office 365. Anyone can join a meeting.

Google Hangouts Meet

Free if you have GSuite . You can set it so anyone can join a meeting.

For instant chat conversations where you can also share files, links, pictures and more.

Benefits: Teams and individuals can stay in touch whilst working remotely. Use the same application to manage informal chat and work-related stuff. Talk to groups or individuals. These are the two most common messaging apps.


Free version is all that many organisations will need. Organise chat into different channels. It works on desktop, tablet and phone. Lots of clever features and integrations, including with Office 365, Google Drive, Trello and more. Messages are searchable. You can also switch between chatting via text and phone/video, and calling from within the app.


Free phone app. Send text messages, photos and videos using the internet. Anything you send is encrypted, although it shares data with FaceBook. Designed for phones but can be used on tablets and laptop/desktop.

All of these apps are safe to use. You are invited to join a meeting or a chat and you only connect with people who have also been invited.

If you or people you work with feel anxious about online safety, there is helpful information online at Age UK.

You can also get information and support from 100% Digital Leeds.

Harriet Walsh
Time to Shine Administration Officer

Coronavirus and older people in Leeds