• Claire Shelley

Tips and tools for working in a remote team

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Working remotely

In these unusual times, many of us are adjusting to a new life around Coronavirus as well a new routine working from home, which can be a challenge if you're not familiar with the tech available to support you.

In times of uncertainty, communication is key to help businesses safeguard their employees and navigate the unpredictable. The most important thing we can do is adapt.

Clear and consistent communication in any organisation is a challenge but critical and the challenge becomes even greater if you are suddenly working as a remote team.

More than ever, I’m feeling grateful for technology, it can help minimise disruption to the smooth running of your business by keeping employees connected.

I’ve been working remotely for the past few years and thought it might be helpful to share my findings and some tips and tools.

Have regular catch-ups

It takes more time and effort to build and maintain relationships when working from home. When it’s not possible to grab a coffee and have a chat, put regular team catch-ups in the diary instead.

Using a video conference tool like Zoom or Skype is second-best to being in the room with someone and helps create a feeling of connection.

I find Zoom more intuitive and user-friendly than Skype, though both are popular.

Zoom is free for the most basic package. It works well for live training/meetings for multiple people. Your webinars can also be recorded and shared, great for going back and refreshing your memory or if you’ve had to step away from the meeting for a moment and missed some of the discussion.

Effective communication

Sending emails is okay but it's not always effective. When the whole team aren't present in email conversations, pieces of the puzzle can be missed, lost or overlooked.

Slack helps you to manage projects with your team. In Slack, conversations happen in channels, they can be organised by topic, project, team or whatever makes sense for your company.

Monday and Trello are other ways to collaborate with your team and manage projects. The key advantage of using project management tools is that everyone is working from the same platform and can keep up-to-date with how a project is progressing, add notes and know who is working on what.

I like the layout of Trello, it’s visual and is similar to moving post-it notes around a board. I have a ‘to do’ ‘doing’ and ‘done’ section which makes it clear what I need to focus on. You can also write notes in an email, and send them to your Trello board, this is a really handy function when you are out and about.

Improve efficiency

Another way you can improve performance and efficiency is by using video.

You could record short videos in Loom to give project updates, show someone how to do a task, make introductions or onboard a new employee. Recording a quick video is efficient because trying to write up onboarding materials can take a long time.

Loom is a cost-effective way to record and share videos. The most basic package is free, but it’s only $4 a month if you need advanced recording and editing.

If you don't like the idea of video, most computers and mobiles have a Voice Recorder app. So you could put together a message and then send the message file in an email.

Both video and voice messages are a nice way to connect with your team and add a personal touch.

As we aren’t sitting at our desks 24/7, communicating via mobile is very effective for urgent or quick questions. Why not create a Whatsapp group for your team to use.

Sharing files

Google Drive and Dropbox are online storage platforms which hold all your data on the Cloud. They allow users to store files on their servers, synchronise files across devices, and share files. Both work well with Microsoft Office.

WeTransfer is a handy way to safely send large files to clients and colleagues. It's completely free and is perfect for when you need to send an attachment or video that is just too big to attach to an email.

I love tech and learning about new or useful software solutions, so if you have any tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear them, hello@claireshelley.co.uk

NB: I don’t receive any endorsements for talking about software, I’m simply sharing what I find useful. 😊

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