How to make remote working “work” for your businesses

There’s no getting away from it. COVID-19 is a challenge for businesses. Thankfully, there are loads of ways that you can minimise the impact the pandemic has on your business. 

Firstly, take a breath - now is not the time to panic, now is the time to think outside of the box, perhaps a little out of your comfort zone, to learn from others that have adopted practices that will see their business hold steady during this turbulent time.

Below we've laid out our top tips for working from home, including some of our favourite tools. If you haven't already, don't forget to sign up for your free Maybe* account - it's a great tool if we say so ourselves, but you don't have to take our word for it, we've been named a 'must have tool for your team'.

Work is wherever you plug in your laptop.

You’ll struggle to trade without your team and while it’s likely that some or all of them will not be coming into work, that doesn’t mean that they’re not able ‘to work’. Just as home is where you hang your hat, work is wherever you plug in your laptop.

Meetings, quick chats, presentations, document sharing, project management, office banter - all of these activities that may normally take place in your office or boardroom can take place online, using free or very affordable tools. 

At Maybe*, we’re a business built on remote working, with a team spread over three continents and multiple time zones. We’ve got years of experience of using online software to keep our teams communicating and our world turning. Here we’re sharing our favourite tools to make remote working simple, efficient and effective.

Here's a pic of me ➡️taken as I write this blog about remote working while working remotely from my kitchen in Gloucestershire.

 

Team communications

This is often the biggest concern for businesses needing or wanting their staff to work remotely. But with clear guidelines and a simple system, digital communication can be as effective, if not, more so than in person. 

The Maybe* team’s go-to communication channel is Slack. It’s a workplace that allows you to organise your organisations’ communications in channels for group discussions or private messages. You can host video calls with your teams, share your screen, send documents, images and other assets. It’s quick and easy to use and we’d be lost without it. 

Slack might be the most popular team communication platform (8million users and growing) but it’s not the only one.

If you’ve got time to look around, check out: Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace, Flock and Chanty.

Video comms

Another great tool is Zoom - we use this when we need to do video conferencing, training, presentations and if we need to record our video calls to share with others.

Similar tools  include: WebEx, Skype, LogMeIn, GoToMeeting.

Project management

Keeping on top of everything is a challenge in any business, but having a good project management tool in place is the difference between order and chaos, especially when your team is working remotely. It’s business critical that your team works efficiently and stays on track with projects when working under their own steam.

The Maybe* team lives on Trello - we use it for its flexibility and ease of use. Each Trello board is filled with lists, which are filled with cards containing tasks. Each card is attributed to a person or group of people. Every time there’s an action, the relevant people are notified. Documents can be attached to the card and there are sections for notes.  It’s also got a great App, which we find handy when we’re out and about delivering social training. 

Other options: Monday.com, Asana.

Document management

With people in different places needing regular access to often the same documents at the same time, it’s crucial you use a system that enables real time collaboration.

We’re big fans of Google Suite. Multiple users can edit a document at the same time, while seeing each others' changes instantaneously. Much like Microsoft packages, you can produce text documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets and drawings.

Google Docs is part of Google Drive - the leading file synchronisation cloud storage solution. It allows you to store files on the cloud and access them whenever you want, provided there is an internet connection.

This gives our whole team immediate access to any document whether we’re working from our kitchen, on the train or (for those of the Maybe* team working from Dubai) sat on a balcony in the sun!

Social management

During a time of crisis, it's critical that businesses are communicating with their customers, whether you normally do this over the phone or via email, the most efficient way to communicate en masse is through your social channels. It will come as no surprise that here at Maybe*, we use Maybe* to keep track of our social activity!

Rather than struggling to monitor multiple platforms at the same time, Maybe* pulls together all of the metrics from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so we’re able to see what conversations are happening which relate to us, who is engaging with us, how our social ads are converting and a load more. Through the platform you can plug in any of your business data to see how your social content is impacting results. 

There’s also an ‘assign’ function within Maybe* which enables you to allocate different tasks to different members of your team. This is really useful when your team is in multiple locations as it prevents duplication and confusion across your channels which can be a waste of time and look unprofessional. You can also use the Maybe* reporting tools to quickly share a snapshot of your activity with your colleagues - super handy when everyone’s busy trying to combat a virus but needs to see top level business metrics. 

Need a hand?

Working remotely is old hat for us at Maybe* and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but we appreciate that for many people who are new to it or for those whom remote working is less a choice and more COVID-19 side effect,  you may feel overwhelmed and need a hand getting your head around it, and fast.

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