Zoom video conferencing has been the platform of choice for many during the coronavirus outbreak, with the company reporting 300 million daily meeting participants at of the end of April. One of the big attractions is a free tier which offers an excellent range of functionality, including support for up to 100 participants. 

How long is a Zoom free meeting?

Zoom's free tier allows people to be in a meeting for up to 40 minutes. Once that mark has been reached, everyone will be kicked out of the call. This is probably the most frustrating thing about Zoom, but it acts as an incentive for people to pay for a subscription. 

They start at £11.99 per month, which extends the time limit to 24 hours. More expensive plans remove the limit altogether, and it's worth noting that only the host needs to subscribe. See the full range of subscriptions here.

How do I get around the Zoom time limit?

Here's the clever bit. For this to work you'll have to Schedule a meeting, as opposed to jumping into one straight away.

In the settings window that appears, select Other Calendars under the Calendar heading. 

Hit Schedule and all the info about the meeting will appear, including that all-important ID. Copy and paste this and send it to all your potential participants. 

Once the call gets close the official 40-minute limit, a countdown clock will appear in the meeting window. At this point, the host should choose Leave Meeting (not End for All!). While it might look like the meeting has ended, if everyone clicks on the original joining link a new 40-minute period will start over again. 

It's not a perfect solution, but will at least force everyone to take a break from what they are doing. 

What if I don't want to use Zoom?

Although Zoom is the most popular video conferencing software at the moment, it's by no means the only one. Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger and Google Meet (previously Hangouts Meet) have all seen significant growth in active users, particularly since the latter became free for everyone. 

Check out more alternatives in our guide to the best online video conferencing services.

Visit Home Hacks for more top tips and advice on dealing with the new normal.