Working from Home Tools You Might Not Know About
Current at 15 April 2020
Our friends at Yonder HQ have released some helpful tips for working from home, they have allowed us to share these with you. We’ve added to Yonder’s ideas by sharing our knowledge gained through the full Velocite team working from home the past few weeks, using Microsoft Teams as our base tool. We hope by sharing this knowledge that you too can get value from these tools (some you may already be paying for and not utilising!).
Must-have equipment The two essentials for working from home are a solid internet connection and access to a computer. If high quality internet is in short supply where you are, look at other options like using your phone’s data allocation (hot spotting) or a mobile broadband device that plugs into your laptop via USB.
Move to video or telephone meetings There are a few options for meeting together when you can’t gather in person, now more than ever it is important to communicate well as a team.
Use your smartphone - most have teleconference capability. An iPhone, for example, allows up to five callers into a conversation, but each phone is different. Check to see what yours can do. This is a quick, easy way to chat with colleagues or customers.
Have a video meeting - Free platforms like Skype are trusted and easy to use. At Yonder, they use Zoom , which has a free plan that is robust and will meet most needs. If you are using Google, then Google Meet is another really good option. At Velocite we are using the Microsoft Suite, we use Microsoft Teams for internal and client video calls and file/screen sharing.
Collaborate via shared documents A stumbling block to collaboration is making sure that all staff can access business files regardless of whether they are working from home or some other location. This means documents need to be stored in a secure online facility that is hosted in the “cloud” rather than on a local desktop at your premises.
From the beginning Yonder have used and can recommend Google Drive and Dropbox as great solutions (both have free versions). You can move key files to this online location, and staff can store files here as well, so that others can comment. It’s easy and it works. Velocite use an online document management tool called Suitefiles. Suitefiles enables us to work and collaborate on our Microsoft product documents at the same time and access them anytime, from any device as they are saved real-time on the cloud.
For project and task management you can use a software such as Asana to delegate tasks, and can communicate with your team using systems like Slack or again in the “channels” of Microsoft Teams (Velocite use a combination of Asana and Microsoft teams and it works well).
Manage customer enquiries differently It is important to have clear processes in place for answering client queries. Using Suitefiles we have been able to develop email templates in Outlook for creating consistency when responding to client queries. Make sure you keep a track of the queries you are receiving and create a workflow management tracker (Asana or Excel) to track work that needs to be completed. Daily workflow stand up meetings via Microsoft Teams video calls are also an effective way of staying on top of job deliverables. When working remotely make sure you have the following systems in place:
Phone enquiries - we suggest redirecting your landline to a designated staff member’s phone, so that incoming calls continue to be answered.
Web enquiries - Secondly, make sure emails and web enquiries are able to be accessed remotely by giving passwords to relevant staff, so that they can access the enquiries online (instead of on the computer at your premises).
Your team can use tasks (a common feature of most email platforms) to delegate tasks to other team members that may result from incoming enquiries, or use something like Asana.
Look after your well-being Staff will be looking to you for answers, and even if you don’t have them yet, communicate regularly with staff about what you do know. An update that says “We’re working on it,” is better than no update at all. Also take time to care for your own well-being.
The key to getting the best out of any tool is to give them a go and ensuring everyone is consistent on how they’re being used. From customer calls, internal meetings to Friday team drinks using there are many tools that enable us to stay connected during this time. Using Microsoft Teams has been invaluable as a tool to keep our team connected over the past month.
We hope that these tips help, and that you, your team and your family are well. If you would like advice on any of the tools mentioned or want to create a customised “Working from Home” tool suite for yourself we're here to help. Please get in touch and we can help to get you sorted.
Velocite team 😊