The way we work has shifted dramatically in the past few weeks. Businesses that have for years relied on working collaboratively in an office environment are being forced to move online with staff having to work from home; many of them for the first time.
As businesses try to adjust, we are all looking for ways to maintain the status quo in a time of self-isolation. At Salted Stone we have worked across multiple continents for more than 5 years. I want to share with you some of the things we have learnt from this experience that will enable your business to maintain productivity, collaboration and morale during this changing business landscape.
- Structure your team's day
One of the first things to often fall to the wayside when moving to remote work is structure. Create a new routine for your team. Make sure you start your day with some communication and collaboration. Have a morning coffee meeting via Zoom each day where you can discuss the goals for the day. You can even do a team brainstorm to create a checklist of important tasks or activities, and work together to structure the day around them (including some break time of course). Get individual team members to share tasks they may need some collaboration or assistance with and then move forward ready to begin the day with a plan in place for what is going to be done. Getting your team all on the same page is extremely important when they are all working in isolation.
- Ensure your team is working in a comfortable, clean and dedicated workspace
Spaces affect your mentality, and when working from home it is super important to create a distinct workspace away from the distractions of the rest of your house. Ensure your team is set up with the right equipment and materials to do their work. Team members should also set up their workspaces, clean up their space and remove any distractions and mess to make the space feel inviting and productive. Don’t forget that computers should be clean of distractions too. Remove any unused apps from the desktop and taskbar to keep your desktop space clear and help you maintain focus throughout the day. A clean space really does equal a clean mind.
- Utilise cloud based software for productivity and collaboration
There are a heap of great tools out there you can use to help with team communication and collaboration. Here is a list of tools that we at Salted Stone have found valuable over the years:
Slack is a great tool for collaboration and productivity that brings all your work-related communication into one channel. On the surface it’s an instant messaging platform yet its integrations with other tools like Zoom, Teamwork and even CRM’s like HubSpot enable you to not only improve your overall team communication, but also your productivity. You can check out all the apps with Slack integrations here.
Teamwork is a team collaboration tool that lets you centralise all information about tasks or clients in one place. Connect your Teamwork with Google Drive or Microsoft Office to really accelerate your productivity. Additionally, recording of time and completed tasks will enable you to track your teams performance whilst they work from home.
Zoom is an online tool for video and voice calling with a bunch of great features including screen sharing, annotations and even breakout rooms. This one is key for us allowing our teams to communicate and collaborate in real time as if we are in the same office.
- G-Suite (Google Drive, Docs, Sheets etc.)
Google’s cloud equivalent of Microsoft Office suite of products, Google G-Suite for business enables your team to work collaboratively on projects and documents online. The ability to create Team drives to keep files and documents in one place that are accessible by everyone is a productivity boon when working remotely. From Google Docs to Slides and Sheets, our team can work on a multitude of client documents simultaneously from different parts of the globe.
FlowMapp is an online tool for developing user flow maps, sitemaps and personas. Your team can collaborate together mapping out ideas and journeys as well as project timelines. Great as an idea generation tool and a management and mapping tool, FlowMapp is great for virtual teams.
Another online brainstorming and collaboration tool is Mural. Think of Mural as a big digital whiteboard for your team. Working together you can add comments, drawings and map out potential solutions. A great tool for enabling your team to strategise solutions to problems and work collaboratively on projects from their digital offices.
- HubSpot (or other CRM/Marketing Tool)
HubSpot and other marketing and CRM tools empower you to manage a huge amount of your online activities on a central platform. Get the team working together on marketing initiatives and planning new social posts and blog content to keep up communications with your customers. With a free version available there is no better time to get started with HubSpot than now.
- Run online team building events/activities
One of the toughest parts of having a remote workforce is the feeling of isolation and lack of team bonding. To counteract this we recommend working with HR to organise activities to get the team together in a more relaxed environment. Some ideas we have run before include:
- Virtual Coffee Catch Ups
Everyone grabs their morning coffee and jumps on Zoom, and we all talk about that show we watched last night or our plans for the weekend — or how low we are on toilet paper.
Team Spotify Playlist
Share the music love with a Spotify playlist for your team. Let everyone add their favourite tunes and jump on Slack to question people’s taste and try and figure out who put Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ on there... You can check out ours here: S2 Tunes.
- Midweek Lunch Hangouts
Put on your finest attire, grab your lunch and a beer or glass of wine, and jump on Zoom or a Slack call to chat with your team like you're out at a team lunch. A great way to lift everyone’s spirits in the middle of the week.
- Friday Frothies
Whether you're at home finishing up work, down at the beach with your dog or fishing down by the river, grab a drink and jump on a Zoom call with the team to round out the week with a drink and a yarn. A great way to celebrate the work done that week and let everyone know what you have planned for the weekend.
- Buddy Up
Set up a buddy system where everyone on the team gets assigned a buddy and rotate the pairings each fortnight. Encourage the team to check in on their buddy, have a break, coffee, lunch, donut, game of cards/chess, video game – whatever they enjoy. Communication for meeting up is best initiated on Slack and done over Zoom. Most importantly, it should be done with the camera on! Everyone needs to see each other and connect. This will help to keep building relationships between your staff and get them supporting each other.
- Virtual Coffee Catch Ups
- Data Heaven
Keeping up to date on your business performance is imperative at these times. Keep an eye on the critical measures of your business as you often can’t see or feel your business performance like you normally do back in the office.
You can use dashboards in HubSpot, Google Analytics or your marketing platform of choice to track your digital marketing performance, check up on your online traffic and conversion rates, and identify areas for improvement.
Additionally, dashboard and analytics tools such as Grow, with its multitude of connectors to a range of different platforms, enable you to build dashboards and track your performance across all aspects of your business — from marketing to sales and even internal productivity. Keep on top of your performance with an ear to the ground to find out where you need to make improvements, and where you are absolutely killing it!
That’s it from us! We hope this helped and wish you the best as we all navigate through these difficult times. Stay positive and remember there is a future Beyond Covid-19.
If you want support with your marketing, sales or anything in between, from an all remote digital agency, reach out to us here!