Everything you need to know to work productively and efficiently from home
If you run an office, it’s likely you’ve been working remotely for the last few months.
Although this has allowed businesses to continue operating during lockdown, it hasn’t always been easy.
Digital tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack can certainly help remote working seem less, well, remote. But to know which tool works best for your organisation, you need to experiment, and get a feel for how the platform could assist you and your business. Here’s five platforms you can look at to get you started.
With an incredibly intuitive user interface, Slack allows you to link different digital services to it, such as video conferencing apps, online calendars and cloud storage like Dropbox and OneDrive.
Members of your team can use this freedom to create their own ideal working environment, while also being able to share different file formats with each other seamlessly from any device. Ideal for remote working.
As it serves as a multitasking space, the “channel” function of Slack allows you to communicate with each other and organise tasks efficiently and intuitively with your entire team or with individual members.
Trello helps you organise all your processes through interactive boards called “cards”. These allow your team members to work on different phases of a project independently and assign tasks to each other.
Everything is perfectly organised and can be seen by all team members. This makes it ideal for organising all the tasks assigned throughout the week or month, so that you can see at a glance how much has been done and what’s left to do.
Teams is a Microsoft tool that takes advantage of the entire Office 365 cloud ecosystem such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Having access to all these apps in one place improves efficiency and reduces the need for emails.
This makes handling all the preparation and organising that goes into meetings much simpler. You can easily search for and message everyone inside and add people from outside of your organisation, video chat at the click of a button and collaborate on shared files.
The app is also great at helping you keep track of pending tasks and allows you to easily record all your meetings so they can be shared with those not present. It’s an ideal tool if you collaborate a lot across departments, or outside of your organisation.
Zoho is another cloud-based project management tool that allows you to collaborate with your team. It uses horizontal bar charts to help you visualise planned actions over a certain period so you can see the status of assigned tasks and easily figure out if you’re falling behind or ahead of schedule.
Other useful tools include invoice generation for workers based on the hours they’ve worked, the capacity to host a video call with up to 100 people and the ability to automate company-wide alerts – particularly useful in a crisis.
It also lets you integrate third-party applications like Dropbox, Microsoft and Google, as well as various CRM programs such as Salesforce.
Asana uses an interactive dashboard, allowing you to assign different tasks to employees across a shared calendar. Similar to Trello, you can plan and follow all the smaller tasks that go into a larger project.
You can create workflows, so everyone knows each individual task they need to complete. So, on your “timeline” you may include tasks such as “order from supplier” or “restock the merchandise that arrives on the third day” and everyone will be clear about their role.
You can communicate through the app and attach files to tasks, so all information related to it is in one location. You can also link other digital tools to it – making reports through Office 365, managing Outlook or Gmail accounts and even creating newsletters with automation platforms like Mailchimp.