At BookerZzz we are quite used to people working from home, although for some of our departments this is more common than for others. Due to the press conference from our Dutch Prime Minister yesterday, we decided to get the whole company to work from home due to the Corona virus. Here are our handy tips & tools to work from home with everyone!
#1 Connect with your colleagues
If you want working from home to be effective it is important to keep in touch with your colleagues. It is not only important for business, you also need it for a bit more fun. A big challenge with remote working is having the ability to communicate effectively when you aren’t present in the office, luckily there are some great tools to help you.
At BookerZzz we work with Microsoft Teams which enables us to chat, call each other and have video conferencing. You can easily communicate to your colleagues but also set up specific groups (for example for your own department) so you can collaborate. You can even share your screen with someone!
Our product & developments also uses Slack for internal communications but also to manage projects to discuss and brainstorm within the team. Next to idea-sharing it is also great for quick feedback and you can create channels for different teams and functions. An alternative for Slack could be Flock
Other alternatives are:
1. Google Hangouts
A great tool for chat and video conferencing that works nicely and is easy to set up
Another video conferencing tool that allows teams to have face to face meetings. A benefit of Zoom is that you can record calls and video’s
An interesting tool where you can capture your screen or voice, and instantly share your video in less time than it would take you to type an e-mail
#2 A place to work together on projects
Communication is important, but collaboration and project management is key! Therefor it is important that people can continue doing this even from home. Having a place where you can work together and where information can be find is something we encourage. We use Confluence for this, as we think this is a great team workspace product where we can share both knowledge and stimulate collaboration. The standard templates are easy to use, especially in the beginning.
The free option is be Asana, where you can use existing templates to add new workflows quickly, create lists of tasks for yourself or other team members, create projects where tasks can be posted to shared boards, break larger tasks down into sub-tasks, and even convert a task into a project should it become too big. As a manager you can check the status of any project quickly and easily without contacting team members by e-mail for updates.
My personal favourite is Trello (based on the Kanban technique), which acts as an online post-it note board that can be shared between team members, but can also be used as your own reminder. It allows you and your team to multi-task very effectively, and to know where everybody is on any project/task at any time. It allows you to break big projects down into smaller chunks. Trello is highly visual and easy to understand making it ideal for the non-project manager. Good to know: the basic version is free of use!
#3 Be able to access, share and save important documents
With most people working with Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) it is key you have access to them. When it comes to documents that are saved on a private server, you need to have a VPN-connection to be able to access the files from home. Therefore we encourage our colleagues to tools that are easy online accessible.
The most known and easy tool is Google Drive, which includes Docs (like Word) Sheets (like Excel) and Slides (like Powerpoint). People know how to concept and you can access the files anywhere in the world when you have the log-ins. Sharepoint is another great tool. This one is integrated with Office 365. For project management we prefer to save all the files in Confluence. It serves as an information hub and can tag individuals to alert them about updates.
For sharing large files an e-mail server often can’t handle the capacity. For this you can use Wetransfer or Dropbox. The last one is especially useful if you work on several computers or in several places. Just like with Google Drive you can create folders that you can share with your colleagues and can automatically synchronise files with your computer.
#4 Secure your documents
Last but not least: safety! Besides having a VPN-connection, it is also important to have a good password management software. At BookerZzz we use 1Password in several departments. It is a tool that allows you to share the access to a particular service with others, without revealing the actual password and are a lot better than manually store passwords on your computer. Not only do these tools keep you safe, they also make it easier and faster to log in.
So once you are set, here some tips for working from home
- Create your own work space/spot at home, this will help your mind to shift to “work mode”. So make a separate desk and don’t use your couch 😉
- Get dressed like if you would go to work. Not just for when you have a video conference, but also again to get yourself in “work mode”. Keep the same routine as you would do when going to work (so start your day with breakfast etc).
- Connect with your team and colleagues and have and keep an open communication line with your team. Check in regularly, keep sharing ideas and ask for feedback. Also let everybody know from the team in the morning you are there and when you are “offline” for more than 1 hour. Just like in the , start with a “GOODDDD MORNING”.
- Have a daily kick-off with your team to stay in touch and keep the fun in your work. Even if it is virtual.
- Create your own rhythm during the day; try to plan your day. Don’t forget to plan time “away” from your laptop to stay productive (just like in the office you go to the coffee machine).
- Try to work in the same way as in the office, for example: do not cancel your meetings but use video conferencing. The “owner” of the meeting should make sure he / she sends the invitation for the video conference (always try use video) and make sure meetings start in time. Make sure everybody is prepared with camera/headphones and test them ahead of the meeting.
- Use the tools for project and task management like Trello & Asana that can help you keep track on your to-dos and deadlines (that you set for yourself) as you maybe feel less pressure from your manager.
- Work on that project or presentation that takes creativity and less distraction from others.
- Maybe bit off topic, but be extra careful on (Corona related) phishing mails from hackers.
- Make sure you have a good and stable internet connection, good level of light and buy some healthy food 😉
I hope this guide can help you in the coming weeks!