How to stay connected with your team in the new ‘work from home’ landscape

March 24, 2020

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How to stay connected with your team in the new ‘work from home’ landscape

As new emergency orders are being issued almost daily, specifically “Shelter in Place” that restricts residents from leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary, companies are forced to adapt to the new ‘work from home’ landscape. Whether you own a small business or are part of a large corporation, giving your employees an opportunity to stay safe at home while keeping up with their daily tasks is essential.

Last week, we shared how you can adapt your marketing strategy during COVID-19, so this week we wanted to take it one step forward, sharing some digital platforms that can help you and your employees stay connected online. We’ll present a few platforms that will help you to stay in touch with both your clients and employees as well as project management platforms that will streamline workflows and keep your team focused, organized and on track. Ready?

Digital Platforms For Communication:

By now you’ve probably already heard of Zoom, a video conferencing platform that makes it easy to connect with people - whether it's a one-on-one meeting to a 100-person conference. Before the pandemic, it was already one of the fastest growing communication platforms available to businesses because of its easy-to-use features and vast selection of app integrations. This high-quality tool can be utilized for team meetings, conference rooms or video webinars. It also easily integrates with Google Calendar which implies that all the attendees will have the information about the meeting in their own calendars.
Slack is an excellent group communication application that streamlines real-time messages. Think of it like a professional instant messenger. The great advantage of Slack is that you can create private spaces with team members that are related to the specific topic you want to discuss. For example, you can create a channel for your marketing department or for an upcoming project and upload attachments directly to the message. This platform can also be integrated with other project management platforms to centralize all your work tasks.

If your company has a sales team that is pitching to potential clients over the phone or wants the ability to easily screenshare to show a presentation, Uber Conference and Google Hangouts Meet are great options. Uber Conference makes phone conferences seamless, avoids those long access codes and also has a screen-share feature. If you already use Google for your email service, a Google Hangout video conference link will automatically be created for you to use on that call.

Skype is one of the most well-known communication tools on the market, as it has been widely used for both personal and business communication for over a decade. It allows you to have video and phone calls, which comes in handy when you want to meet potential clients or discuss topics that are difficult to explain via email communication. You can easily share your files or any other quick information with the instant chat feature tool.

Considering how many people transferred their work to remote, it was somehow expected from Skype to develop Meetings and Business versions, adequate for communication between different departments or larger companies.

Project Management Platforms

Now that we've covered a few communication tools, you will need to implement platforms to help you track the productivity and progress of your projects. If you want your employees to stay efficient, as well as know at which phase each project is, it's a necessity to use at least one project management platform. Lucky for you, plenty of them are completely free.

Are you still using 'old-school' techniques, such as a notebook and pen to keep organized? Instead, try writing down all your 'to-do' tasks in Asana, a powerful task management software. This free digital solution will help you organize every step of your project - from due dates and team divisions to personal and group assignments.

Moreover, this platform covers three components: workspaces, projects, and tasks. This allows the entire organization process to be more transparent. As the Asana team likes to say, ''building trust while working remotely'' is what every business needs while employees are working from home.

If Asana is not sufficient for your needs, consider testing ClickUp for your projects. It’s a valuable cloud-based tool adequate for centralizing your work and tracking its efficiency on a single dashboard. It's suitable for industries and businesses of all sizes, and is a useful solution when it comes to centralizing your work. You might find ClickUp particularly good for coordinating sales, marketing, development, design, and other departments of your company. For only $5 a month, you will be able to customize all your projects and ensure your team delivers on time.

Monday is another project management platform that can make your everyday work easier. Like ClickUp, Monday is not free, but you have the option to test it out with their two-week trial. It is one of the most versatile management systems you will find on the market since it's excellent for managing customer projects, executing ad campaigns, working with video production, as well as using it as a CRM.

Monday focuses on processes and different situations one might stumble upon during work, which is sometimes even more important than just simply marking if the task is complete.


Which Platform is Best For You?

Every business and team is unique, which is why we recommend trying two or three different platforms in order to find the one that's truly suitable for your company. There are many other high-quality communication platforms we haven't mentioned, for example: Fuze, Blink, and Whereby. Additional project management tools to consider, include: Workzone, Wrike and Trello.
Neil MacKenzie, Director of Marketing at Universal Furniture, navigates projects and due dates with a popular project management tool called Basecamp. Their everyday communication consists of FaceTime meetings and Zoom conferences, in cases when the audience size is more than three. We spoke to Stacy Garcia, Chief Inspiration Officer of global lifestyle brand Stacy Garcia, Inc. who said, “we’re a week into working remotely, and like many companies, trying to find our cadence. We’re accustomed to a very creative, collaborative environment, so we’re finding ways to be inspired and inspire each other while working remotely. Luckily, because so much of what we do requires collaboration with our partners, we already had tools in place to communicate with teams in various locations. Currently, we’re using Basecamp and Zoom as our primary tools.”

We at Embello have recently been testing out Hibox, a platform that combines the ability to direct message teammates and assign tasks on a project basis. We’ve also been looking into Vonage, a global leader in business cloud communications which released a few relevant solutions to aid in the adjustment of business operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

As the landscape of how we work continues to evolve and we all do our best to rapidly adapt to new ways of conducting business, we hope our recommendations provide you with some guidance. Implementing excellent communication and project management systems, whether this ‘new normal’ will be temporary or long-lived, should always be a priority. Luckily, we have great technology to rely on and plenty of options to stay connected and productive.



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