In the midst of COVID-19, it has inspired many of the largest tech companies around the world to swiftly implement ‘remote work’ policies across their workforces. These added health and safety precautions brings to light the importance of having systems and tools in place within your organization to quickly enforce ‘social distancing’ and to provide employees the opportunity to stay connected even if you’re not built like a traditional tech company.
If you’re primarily a services company like Elevate, where a lot of your business and day-to-day work is conducted in person or within the office environment, you may be quickly scrambling to figure out how to get your employees and clients connected digitally. No time like the present to introduce a very apps to keep productivity, collaboration and morale up during these somewhat unpredictable times.
When we first introduced Slack at Elevate, it took a while for everyone to stop emailing or walking across the office to tap people on the shoulder. That was the norm back then and it was incredible inefficient and distracting. But once everyone got used to it, it made our daily work communicated streamlined, collaborative and easy. It’s an extremely powerful team chat tool that can be integrated with a whole host of other apps. (We use Zapier to automate a lot of things that get sent to Slack)
I’d go as far as to say Slack is an absolute must for every office and organization, whether you’re distributed, remote or on-site. They’re pricing starts at $0/month (what we currently use) and includes: 10k searchable messages, 10 apps and integrations, 1-to-1 video calls, and two-factor authentication, the free version gives your team access to Slack’s basic features.
Quit sifting through countless emails to find that month-old report that you got forwarded from your manager then redlined then sent back to your manager who then saved the wrong version and requested you send it….again. Get your team setup with a Dropbox account to save all your most important documents in one place. They’ve recently rolled out a new suite of app integrations, including editing in Google Docs which makes real-time collaboration across contributors using different publishing tools a breeze.
Collaboration – Google Docs
If your team often works side-by-side on presentations, reports or redline docs frequently, but can’t seem to get on the same page, google docs will become their best friend. The G-Suite of apps that includes google docs, slides, forms etc makes collaborating on work in real-time a breeze. It’s intuitive and web-based functionality allows users to access their work and quickly make edits or changes on the fly with worrying if their co-worker will be working from the most recent version. It eliminates the need to attach things in email. And it talks to other apps like Slack and Dropbox.
Video Conferencing Apps
These are our favorite video conferencing tools. For screen-sharing and virtual meetings/demos, we opt for google conference/hangouts. It’s simple interface and web-based hosting makes it easy to share with external stakeholders and the quality is always very good. This can be especially useful for gaining face-time with clients, coworkers or service providers when a phone call or email just doesn’t do the trick.
Google Hangouts is the default tool of choice for video meetings. Slack even lets you launch a hangout right from within a channel!
An alternative to Hangouts, Zoom has a higher threshold for the number of people who can be in a meeting at once. It has a desktop-based app and integrates with a variety of other apps for quickly setting up a Zoom meeting with a group.
Project Management- Asana
Out of sight, out of mind can be a real symptom when employees/managers are granted work from home privileges. While it might seem easy to keep tabs on what’s going on across teams, projects and initiatives, when you’re unable to physically check-in it’s important to empower employees with a way to update their status on tasks. I’ve been using Asana for over 7 years and have tested many other collaborative project management tools (basecamp, trello etc) none of which hold a candle to Asana in my opinion. If you’re looking to delegate and stay on top of important deliverables, this is app is a must.
Unfortunately the jury is still out on exactly how widespread this coronavirus is going to be or how long it will last, but it’s given companies a moment to assess their ‘distributed team’ readiness plans. Obviously, while SaaS companies generally have a head-start when it comes to deploying remote work policies, it’s not to say a services-based company can’t use it as a great opportunity to integrate some new technology into their operations.
What are some of your favorite apps to use when working remotely? Leave a comment below ~