Amid the coronavirus scare this year, it appears remote working is the new way that everyone across the globe is working. Remote working as a team is not new to us, but it’s exciting to see companies who are not used to working remotely figure out what that means for each of their teams and a business as a whole.
Since working remotely is new to many teams, we wanted to offer the best tips we’ve learned over the years that have worked for us as an all remote team.
Tip 1: Use Zoom.us
We are certain that many teams are now discovering the power of Zoom.us video conferencing. We have tried many different video conferencing services and have found Zoom.us to be the most user-friendly, stable & clear video conferencing platform.
The good news is there is a free version for many people to use. There are some limitations to the free version: 1. You have a limit on the number of people who can join. 2. You also have a time limit: Usually 40 minutes.
We have a company account and add the necessary team members to have a pro-level account so they do not have these limitations. We also use a paid features called “Zoom rooms.” This means team members are able to have “breakout” session in other virtual rooms outside of a the main meeting.
We have also installed the Zoom for Google Calendar Plugin in our browser so when we are creating meeting requests, we can choose ‘Add conferencing’ and automatically create a Zoom meeting link to that meeting. Makes life all around easier – and we are all about automation!
Tip 2: Communicate Often
Like many teams (remote or not) we use Slack to communicate as a team. We also open up specific Slack channels for our clients to communicate with us.
As a remote work team we aren’t able to pop our heads in to each other’s offices and “ask a quick question.” So we use Slack for communication.
If your team members are naturally good communicators, what will change about remote team working are the communication channels you use. May be less walking around and asking questions but there will still be plenty of Slack messages and emails.
A good rule of thumb for those using more electronic communications as you work remotely is to over-communicate. It’s easy to assume people know things, but working from separate locations means some people do not get all of the info they need at the same time as other people. If you want someone to know something, tell them.
Tip 3: Check-in with each other often
Also, check in often. It’s easy for remote team members to get in their “zone” and do good work in their areas of specialty, but no one knows about that if you don’t share it.
We set a specific time a day for 15 mins that our core team checks in with each other. Each person shares what we’ve been working on the last 24 hours, what they plan on working on the next 24 hours and if they are stuck anywhere. These quick check-ins help us all be on the same page. We set this as a phone call for the core team each day and stick to the plan and make a point to not get too chatty on each of these calls. And we are literally in and out of that call in 15 mins or less. You can also set this as a regular email chain or Slack channel at a specific time of day.
Tip 4: Utilize project & task management software
We had to throw this in there … this is what we do daily! We use our own Bento software to manage tasks & projects. We have noticed the thing that can get lost the easiest with remote work teams is communication and feedback from both internal team members and clients. Feedback is often necessary.
We use the project management tool in Bento to manage projects for ourselves and our clients. The commenting tool used throughout the Bento app is clutch for us, because it allows us to have a discussion in the app on a specific project, task or file. Then we can also open up the discussion to the client when we need their feedback. (Which saves a LOT of back-and-forth emails.)
We also often use the task management tool to assign team members tasks with details in them and due dates to make sure all that needs worked on is getting done in a timely manner.
Then we use our custom dashboards to get a high-level view of all of the above so we can keep up with it all!
We hope these tips help you and your team if you are navigating this world of remotely working. If you have questions feel free to reach out to us.