Remote working tech tips
Remote working from home can be frustrating if you are new to it. Aside from the distractions, and the fight not to spend the day in your pyjamas, there are the real technical challenges too. How do you communicate with your team, your clients and your suppliers? How do you manage your projects? How do you quickly ask a question where before, you just leaned over and called across to your colleague. Email is slow, and let’s face it, we’ve all got too many of those coming in.
COVID-19 has challenged us. We’ve never been in an age where we are so equipped, from a tech perspective to remote work from home. But it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily easy. It takes change and adaptation, some of which is difficult. As the nature of our business means that our team works regularly with clients across the country and the world, we’re used to remote working. We’re also giant tech geeks, so we love adopting new solutions when we can find them.
Here are our top tech tips for remote working:
Remote Project Management: Asana
Free for up to 15 members on a team.
Asana is like an online shared list. A giant list if you use it correctly. You can set up teams of people, or just your own board. Essentially you can list every single project and task you have on the go and assign to team members; chat about it on the dedicated projects note section; schedule it on the calendar and upload files. And, the bonus is that it is free for up to 15 team members, so ideal for small teams and businesses.
Asana has a mobile app, which is great for those times that you think of something whilst you are lazing in front of the TV (ehm, not during working hours 😃) and want to make a note whilst you remember it. You can also follow up on projects on the go, which makes Asana our go-to app for project management.
Remote Team Chat: Skype
Skype is old, but gold. We tried Slack for a while, but couldn’t wrap our heads around it, so we’re back on Skype. It’s excellent for team chats and quick questions. A bonus is that you can send files directly, which makes it quick and easy. We use Skype extensively in our marketing and design studio – for our Halo team chats (we abuse the animated gifs option quite frequently) and one-on-one chats. Additionally, we have groups set up for specific clients, so only the relevant team members or that client are included on the chat; this makes for real ease of communicating.
You can use a mobile app for Skype, which also means you can use it to make wifi-based calls, or you can buy credits (or get free ones with your Microsoft subscription) and dial phones directly. This is most helpful if you have international clients.
Remote Conferencing: Zoom
So, there are quite a few of these conference calling apps out there (including Skype above), but we prefer Zoom. Something that’s just a bit easier about it is that you’re allowed a conference call with up to 100 members, for 40 minutes, for free. You can screen share and comment, and it’s nice to know who is speaking (the speaker is identified) as opposed to the old fashioned telephone call in when you have to guess based on the voice. You can dial in with your computer audio, or dial in by telephone if you need to.
Zoom has a mobile app, so you can access anywhere. Or, if you are like me, you can pace around whilst on a conference call!
Remote Conversations: WhatsApp
WhatsApp initially was a mobile app, but now you can instal WhatsApp on your Mac or PC for free. This is great for easy communications – instant messaging; voice notes; video and image sharing and calling. We like WhatsApp as it’s universal amongst our clients. So for quick questions, we can make a brief call or send a message/voice note. We like the desktop version, as you are not distracted by your phone, but can easily flick to the app to copy text, or download images and pdfs.
Remote Time Management: Harvest
Okay, this one is not free, but its reporting functionality makes it a winner. We’ve been using Harvest for about seven years and it revolutionised our agency. We can track timing with it with its convenient desktop widget. This means we’re able to bill our clients accurately. We’re also able to see where our non-billable time is spent. It’s really streamlined how we work. And for remote working, it means we can see what our team is doing.
Remote File sharing: WeTransfer.com
Email has size limitations for sending. For example, ours can only send a 22MB file, and only receive a 25MB file. So, we use wetransfer.com, which is a fantastic web service. Visit the site; select the file you want to transfer and enter in the email of the person you wish to send to, along with a short message. The person will receive a mail with a link to download your file. You will also receive a mail confirming it has been sent. Then you will be notified when they have downloaded it – this makes it almost like registered post! Top tip: Send them an email to let them know to expect the mail, or forward them the link – that way you can avoid the WeTransfer mail possibly going into the spam folder.
www.wetransfer.com is free for up to 2GB
Remote Cloud Storage: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Mega
So much to choose from here! They all start with free options, so there is nothing stopping you from having an account with each one.
Dropbox: 2GB. Dropbox is so great that we have the paid PRO version
Google Drive: 15GB
One Drive: 5GB. If you have a Microsoft subscription, you get a whopping 1TB storage!
If you are stumped with how to use any of these, we’ll happily talk you through it. None of these are affiliate links, so this is an honest review.
Have you got remote working tips to share?