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Millions of Americans are working from home because of the coronavirus, many of them struggling to focus at makeshift desks in a spare bedroom or the kitchen table, with kids or roommates doing the same.
It’s easy to become frustrated by distractions or a slow home WiFi network, or simply wonder about the best way to hold a videoconference. Here are some tools that can make working from home easier, helping you stay focused, productive, and sane.
Free Videoconferencing Apps
Even though you’re working from home, you’ll probably continue to meet with clients and co-workers, and videoconferencing can help with that, as well as keep you in touch with friends and professionals like tax preparers.
If you’re going to be holding small, simple group meetings—essentially conference calls with smiling faces—try a consumer-oriented videochat app such as Google Duo (which can accommodate up to a dozen participants), Apple FaceTime (up to 32 people), or Microsoft’s Skype or Facebook’s new Messenger Rooms (each has a capacity of 50).
If you need presentation features such as document sharing or whiteboarding, consider the free version of a business-oriented platform such as Zoom, Google Meet (which is replacing Hangouts), Microsoft Teams (which is going to replace the company’s Skype), or Cisco Webex. You’ll face some restrictions compared with paying users, but they may not matter to you.
The free versions of Google, Zoom, and Webex limit meetings to 100 participants, and Microsoft maxes