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Friday, March 5, 2021

4 Work-From-Home Tech Tricks I Learned From Twitch Streamers

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Like many Americans in office jobs, I started working from home in March due to Covid-19, and I haven’t been back to the office since. As a proud Zoomer, or member of Generation Z, I grew up with video calling and instant messaging as academic tools, and I have worked with remote employees during all of my internships. Still, I quickly realized that I was out of my depth and turned to the true professionals: YouTubers and streamers.

Hear me out: This is a group of people who have worked from their bedrooms or home offices by choice for years. Whether they are sharing video games or hobbies, or just hanging out and chatting, their work is based on sharing themselves and/or a digital presentation with an audience that they must keep engaged.

With that in mind, here are four things I’ve learned about working from home from streamers:

Be Aware of Your Stamina

We’ve likely all heard about Zoom fatigue and our limited ability to watch a bunch of little faces on screen, but stamina is about a lot more than the length of the meetings. In a time when a lot of people are dealing with more distractions during the work day, the first question should be, Does this even need to be a meeting?

A lot of streamers also have YouTube channels, and certain types of games and projects will always be uploaded to that platform instead of being streamed. Some things have a lot of dead time that can be edited out, or aren’t dynamic enough to keep a live chat engaged. The same principle can be applied to your office-based work. Is this a topic where it’d be helpful for people to prepare and process their contributions? Is there a benefit to having a live discussion about this?

If it’s going to be a meeting, make a goal that is clearly defined at the beginning and stick to it. And mostly importantly, know when to call a meeting even if you haven’t accomplished what you wanted. If you’ve hit a wall on the issue at hand, you are not going to come up with the answer in the 118th minute of an hour-long meeting. I have attended many streams titled “Finishing the game today!” in which the game is not finished. Probably because it’s been almost seven hours, the streamer is hungry, two of the moderators are in a time zone where it’s 3 am, and everyone’s focus is waning. That means it’s time to wrap up for today, and you should do your coworkers the same favor when you’re facilitating.

Your Furniture Is As Important As Your Tech

I’m biased because I was diagnosed with a serious nerve issue while I was working on this article, but your office furniture is very important. More important than your headphones and your microphone and all the stuff you were expecting in this article. If you don’t have a dedicated desk and office chair, it’s time.

I just bought an Uplift automated standing desk, a portion of which my job paid for, and it’s amazing. I had one of these at a past internship, so it’s not actually something I was introduced to by streamers, but as someone who also spends 12-plus hours at my desk each day, I understand why they’re so popular. I keep it at 25.3 inches for sitting, a solid 5 inches lower than a standard desk, and it has been life-changing for my wrists. Also, it has a huge whiteboard top, which is one of the only things I’ve missed from the office.

I’ve been on the Logitech universal system for peripherals since high school, when a friend bought me a wireless mouse for Christmas after I expressed an interest in 3D modeling. Now I have the futuristic MX Vertical Mouse and the MX Keys keyboard. I honestly don’t know why we’ve ever made computer mice any other way—it’s so much easier on your wrists to use the “handshake” position.

This srticle was first published on WIRED

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