How to Work Effectively from Home
I think that we can all admit that 2020 has started off with a bang – in all the wrong ways. From floods, severe storms and wildfires to the newest global crisis: coronavirus. As countries around the world are forced into lockdown, many business owners have had to move their business operations online. For some, this transition will come easily. But for those who continue to rely on face-to-face meetings, documents circulated around the office, and the daily dose of belly laughs at the water-cooler, it can seem daunting.
As the world begins to embrace the work-at-home life, it is more important than ever to implement tools to encourage collaboration, continue (virtual) face-to-face meetings, and manage your employees’ tasks. So, how do you effectively work from home while making sure that your employees stay on track?
Since the inception of GCD Inc., our team has worked remotely with employees living in Alberta, Ontario, Italy, and sometimes even Somalia. As laptop warriors, we’ve mastered the online platforms necessary to run a successful business from home, all while with our kids on our laps. So, we wanted to share some of the most helpful tools we’ve found over the years. (FYI – in no way are we affiliated with any of the tools listed below; we just genuinely love them!)
How to be Collaborative from Home:
G Suites ($):
We eat, sleep and breathe G Suites. It is one of the most comprehensive collaboration and productivity tools out there. Connect with your team, create everything you need right online, and store your files in a secure online platform.
Similar to how you may store your current files on your personal laptop computer, or maybe even on an internal network at the office, Google Drive is a secure place to store all your files! They can be accessed at any time and from anywhere from both your computer and your phone. You have the ability to keep your files private, or share them with your team. From documents and spreadsheets, to forms and presentations, the various types of collaborative files you’ll need are at your disposal. The best part of working with Google files is the ability to work on the same document simultaneously and never worrying about accidentally deleting important information in a file (with a history change log).
💡Pro Tip: Make sure you create a folder structure that makes sense for your business and is simple enough for any new employee to find the right document the first time.
💡Pro Tip: For the sake of both simplicity and consistency, create a naming convention for the files you’ll be saving to the Drive. We use “Document Title | Client Name | Month / Year”.
Keep your conversations about specific projects and tasks organized and keep your emails for client communications only. Slack is one of the best ways to communicate to your team about things like deliverables, questions, ideas, team discussions, mindset and training opportunities. Each Slack workspace is broken down into something called “channels”, which depending on your business needs could be for different projects, topics or teams. Each channel can be accessed by only those employees who you give access to!
💡Pro Tip: Sync your G Suite with your Slack account. Your status in Slack will automatically update when you’re in a meeting and you can share Google files directly in the appropriate Slack channels to stay up to date on progress.
Holding Virtual Meetings:
Although this tool is a small monthly or annual fee for meetings over 45 minutes, it is a great platform for hosting virtual meetings. Video conferencing has never been so easy with the ability to share your screen, record meetings (and even search transcripts), keep your employees engaged with virtual hand raising or polling, and meet securely with end-to-end encryption. It’s extremely user friendly and you can join from anywhere, on any device. Even better, you can track your employee’s engagement with the application’s attention indicator to make sure everyone is paying attention.
Google Hangouts Meet:
For a more affordable option, those that have subscribed to G Suite will have the opportunity to use the Hangouts Meet application offered by Google. This tool is simple to use and can connect directly with your calendar. There’s no additional set-up or software to download. You can participate in one-to-one calls or hold group meetings and connect through either your laptop or your mobile. There’s also the ability to call in to the meeting using the dial-in phone numbers provided for each individual meeting scheduled.
💡Pro Tip: When presenting data or a lot of information, prepare a presentation and share your screen so participants can more easily follow along.
Managing your Employees Remotely:
This free project management system keeps all of your work organized in one place. Create tasks, allocate employees, assign due dates and create custom views based on your preferences. It’s easy to stay up to date on what everyone is working on with the ability to view your employee’s profiles and task lists. There are literally thousands of integrations as well. One of our favorites is Toggl.
The amount of time you spend on a project matters. With Toggl, you can monitor productivity and staff performance for each of the tasks that are assigned in ClickUp. Toggl has the ability to assign tags to easily pull reports for time entries to show you the information you need.
💡Pro Tip: Create projects and tags at the very onset so that entries are cleaner and properly grouped in reports.
Need Help to Efficiently Work from Home?
If your business isn’t already online and you’re unsure of how to navigate online meeting softwares like Zoom or Google Hangouts, if you are thinking about setting up an online store, if you need help amping up your social media, if you need to streamline team communications with one of the above tools – reach out to us. We will work with you to get you set-up for success.