This year, many people have been staying indoors more and finding new things to do at home.

Friends and family have been talking over social media and mobile apps about what they’ve been up to, new things they’ve discovered, and new shows they’ve started watching. Schitt's Creek was a huge success at the Emmys 2020 recently as it scooped up awards in every category it was nominated for. Some other tv shows that have been popular during lockdown this year, that people can’t stop talking about, have been Normal People, Ratched, and many more. 

As you can see, although the lockdown forces you to stay at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not a good enough reason for your socializing to come to an end. Your physical contact with your family and friends might have come to an abrupt halt and will probably be like that for a while, but there are many modern-day online communication methods that you can use to have just as much fun as you used to have with those special people in your life.

Even if your business has had to shut its doors for a while during the pandemic, there are ways for you to still have meetings with your work colleagues and employees. With all these apps available, you can still have day-to-day contact with your employer and other work colleagues, keep up with your normal workload, and be a success in your chosen career.

Six tools that you can use to easily communicate with others:

There are many modern-day online communication opportunities available today that make it possible to enjoy quality time with all the people who are special to you and have those all-important meetings with the people you work with. Whether you are arranging a board meeting, hosting a quiz night, or catching up with a friend, these things are all still possible with a bit of help from technology. 

Zoom

This is a great way for a small or large group of people to get together for a chat. On free packages, meetings can last for 40 minutes and you are even able to record your get-together if you want to so that you can look back at a later stage and talk about that awful time that you spent in self-isolation. While video conferencing technology has been around for years, unexpectedly this year many more people had to use it than usual. As homes were in lockdown and more people were working from home, businesses like Zoom saw a sales boom amid COVID-19 pandemic. According to BBC News, Zoom expects sales as high as £1.4bn this year, which is a huge opportunity for the company. Zoom is available on desktop as well as mobile apps and is ideal for staying in contact with others during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Skype

This is probably one of the most common and more popular ways to make online voice/video calls, for work and for leisure. Skype is reliable, simple to use and a great option for staying in contact with family, friends, and work colleagues - not only during the pandemic but at any time. It costs nothing and it allows up to 50 people to get together for a conversation at the same time. One of the best things about Skype, is a feature it has that allows you to blur out the background during your chat, so no one can see if you haven’t tidied the room before your meeting!

WhatsApp

Owned by Facebook, this app gives you the opportunity to chat or make video calls to anyone, anywhere in the world, as long as you have a strong internet connection. Whatsapp is just one of the many ways that technology can help you stay in touch with family and friends. It’s one of the most popular messaging apps around and is used by millions of people worldwide for instant messaging, and audio and video calls. Whatsapp is an incredibly simple way to see and talk to friends and family members who live far away, who you cannot visit, or are unable to visit you during the lockdown. 

Gmail family account

If you have children under 13, the Google Family Account is an ideal way for them to safely stay in contact with family and friends this year. By creating the account for your child and using the Family Link App, you will be able to set ground rules and control and manage what your child sees and who he/she chats with online.

Slack

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, many companies all over the world have allowed their employees to work at home. This move resulted in Slack, an extremely popular work-related communication service, becoming even more popular. Available on all the major platforms, the app allows you to chat with team leaders, work colleagues, and bosses, either individually or all together, via a variety of groups or channels. One of the best features of the app though is that it allows employers to make sure that their employees are indeed working as they should be, while they are at home. Slack is quick and easy to use for team collaboration, video meetings, and general office chat, to help keep good communication following for remote working.

Houseparty

After its release in 2016, Houseparty, considered by many as being almost the same as being with someone in real life, was downloaded in an exceptionally short time, by about 35 million people all over the world! According to a report in The Guardian, downloads of Houseparty shot through the roof in 2020 at the start of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While you might not be able to travel to see friends right now, apps like Houseparty can help you all have a bit of fun together in the comfort of your own separate homes. Unlike standard video chatting, this app was developed mainly for having fun, allowing eight people at one time to get together and play games or socialize for a few hours.  Once you have the app and have added the people you want to play with, it’s a simple matter of clicking on the dice icon at the top of the page, in the right-hand corner, choose a game, and start having some serious fun with your friends and family! Test your trivia or drawing skills against each other with some of the fun app features available to use. 

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