Monthly Archives: April 2021

how to make the most of remote working and online collaboration with your colleagues

People are being forced to work from home more than ever before. For some, this is how things have always been, but for others, the integration of our personal and professional lives can be difficult to adjust to. Fortunately, we’re here to show you how to make the most of remote working and online collaboration with your colleagues.

We’ll talk about when and how to make time for work and fun, as well as how to set boundaries between the two, and we’ll recommend some of the best tools for online collaboration. More importantly, we’ll discuss what we believe to be some of the most critical aspects of working from home etiquette.

The Best Apps and Tools for Collaborating with Colleagues

Of course, the best apps for us to use will be determined by the type of work we do. Testing out different apps and tools is essential to getting it right, so we’ve recommended some tools to help you work smarter, not harder.

Do you have to create and share a lot of documents with others as part of your job? Then Google Docs is a great option. Do you need to plan a team project to keep everybody on track and organized? We’d recommend Restyaboard to set tasks and plan projects, as it can be used both online and on your phone.

If you’re working on multiple projects with multiple people, Discord or Slack are great options for creating individual channels where everyone can easily communicate, ask questions, and share updates.

Read How to Manage a Remote Team Effectively During COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Collaboration Tips to get the most out of WFH

Communication is essential when working on any group project, but it is especially important when you are not in the same room. To get the most out of working from home, use chat channels like Slack. They’re an excellent way to keep everyone up to date, share documents, and leave a trail of messages that people can search back through.

Create an environment where everyone is encouraged to provide constructive feedback and to be transparent and honest. We lose the advantage of nonverbal communication when we use chat channels, so it’s important that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.

If you have online meetings, always end them by summarizing the main points, ensuring that all tasks are assigned and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing. Following this, record signs of success – it’s always a good idea to keep track of what’s going for your team, so you can keep a project on track.

WFH etiquette: what’s best practice?

Like anything, working from home comes with its own sets of best practices. The WFH etiquette rules will depend on the method of remote working you’re using.

If it is largely email-based, it is necessary to check your emails regularly and respond as quickly as you would in the workplace. However, much as in the workplace, we are permitted to take breaks, so we do not expect people to be available to us immediately simply because they are at home.

If your work has opted to collaborate through messaging services like Slack, keep in mind the tone changes dramatically when we communicate via writing rather than face-to-face. As a result, rereading messages is an important move when working from home. In any conversation, it is best to keep it short and as straightforward as possible. Unlike in the office, we can’t have those follow-up conversations for clarity after a miscommunication, so getting it right the first time is crucial.

This is also an excellent time to determine if the platform you’re using is the right one for your needs. When Zoom became the go-to tool at the start of the pandemic, everybody had Zoom calls and meetings all of a sudden. Just like you don’t always need a full meeting to get to the heart of the matter, communication via email or texting can be more effective than a video call.

Also, read ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS FOR STARTUPS

All work and no play

One of the most common problems people have when working from home is finding the time to switch off. If you’re at the office and your ‘To-Do” list isn’t done, you leave thinking you can pick up where you left off the next day. Remote working makes it more difficult to sign off because it’s all too tempting to believe you could finish the entire list tonight, couldn’t you?

Keeping a schedule is important not just for getting work done, but also for knowing when to stop, take a break, and relax. This can be anything from cooking to walking the dog to scheduling time for workout breaks – as long as it allows you to set aside some time for yourself.

This should also include establishing communication limits with colleagues. Switch off notifications and inform colleagues while you’re taking a break, so you’re not disturbed and tempted to jump back into the thick of it too soon.

Getting down to work

If you’re new to working from home, it’s easy to throw routine out the window, but sticking to a schedule is key for success. Yes, you might lie in bed and work on your laptop, but it’s necessary to differentiate between our work and personal spaces.

The first step is to choose a location that will serve as your home “office.” Since this is a temporary situation for many people, most of us may not have an actual home office or even a large enough desk space to convert into one.

Work-from-home veterans will tell you that’s fine – if you’re using a kitchen counter, a dining table, or a small foldaway table, all you need is a peaceful area to focus, and you’ve got yourself a workspace.

Once you’ve decided on a place, make sure it’s kept tidy. It sounds simple, but if you have to switch things around all the time, it will make settling into work each day much more difficult. A tidy workspace also means you’re Zoom-ready at all times, which can be aided by using XSplit VCam to blur or even replace your background!

With the right set of tools, you’ll have an easier time adjusting to the new normal.

How to empower remote teams with project management tools

During the COVID-19 lockdown, remote teams have adopted project management software in massive numbers. Also, early reports of user activity show quite a shift in the way businesses have used cloud task collaboration tools to

  • sustain customer retention
  • improve customer experience
  • boost remote team productivity

To keep their businesses sustainable, teams around the world had to challenge the status quo and rethink their approach, work patterns, work hours, and overall rules of engagement.

Though there were several collaboration tools used across a company, the requirements & usage varied.

Teams chose what they wanted best. For example, one team may use Zoom and another may use Google Meet, while another may rely entirely on Slack for all collaboration needs.

There has been a significant change in user login patterns too.

  • Project Managers and team lead signed in on an average of 42% less in the pre-COVID era.
  • Over 89% of businesses never invited their clients to their internal project collaboration tools.
  • 82% of users used to do only weekly time tracking.
  • 64% of users would just update task status without posting comments or progress notes.
  • Overall usage of project and task management tools used to be around 57% with team sizes between 150 -500 users.

Read How to Manage a Remote Team Effectively During COVID-19 Pandemic

What encouraged Remote Teams to adopt Project Management Software?

Days of water cooler discussions, shoulder taps, instant messages, conference room meet-ups, and coffee talks were things of the past.

Getting me-time and face time reduced significantly.

For some, it was about running projects on their own with zero to minimum team help.

Teams had never understood a day when they would be 100% remote and have zero human touches.

The whole concept of work, operations, and customer connection had to be reworked, and it is still a massive challenge for teams all around.

It sounds harsh, but it’s real, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Not everyone could have predicted it, and not every business required a remote work policy.

Conversely, not all businesses required office space.

So basically the entire canvas of the business world had to be kind of redrawn in early 2020.

As a result, many aspects of team management that had previously been taken for granted were unexpectedly transformed into challenges, as well as a nightmare.

Basically,

  • Getting quick answers within seconds wasn’t so easy.
  • One cannot just walk over to the next person for help.
  • The work-life balance went for a toss.
  • Not having a home office felt like a crime.
  • Tracking the team’s work wasn’t so easy anymore.
  • Customer deliverables were delayed.
  • Meetings and presenting to customers became an issue.
  • Having control of the overall project plan was a nightmare.

Simply put teams that went remote were in a state of chaos, anxiety, confusion, distrust, and fear.

Business owners and project managers have suddenly been tasked with innovating solutions in seconds. Not only for themselves and their families but also their teams and clients.

Each one of them was required to be on top of all work activities and run the show business as usual.

Moreover, they must show their leadership skills, stay in the driver’s seat, be the man with the plan, and be seen as dependable for their teams.

Easier said than done.

What did the Remote Teams need immediately?

To begin, getting things in order was the priority of the day.

Hence, project teams decided to bring everyone aboard a central project management platform to streamline:

  • Task tracking
  • Information exchange (files, designs, presentations, worksheets)
  • Time tracking
  • Resource management
  • Customer interactions
  • Progress tracking
  • Issues discussions
  • Share quick wins & expected delays

Finally, maintain a single source of truth and reduce the hassle of shuffling between apps rather than shifting work forward.

Also, read 5 TOOLS TO COORDINATE THE REMOTE TEAM

Empowering the Remote Teams

Keeping the teams focused on the end goal of customer retention, satisfaction and optimum customer experience at all times is crucial.

Once you have a centralized platform for all of your project planning, execution, monitoring, and communication, you provide hope and clarity to your teams.

As a result, they know what to do, when and whom to call, and how to contact them.

Thus reduced chaos, minimum effort, and less time spent getting to the crux over multiple calls.

When your teams know what’s up next and the expected outcomes they channel their efforts in the right direction and on things that matter most.

Distraction-free work is most important to remain effective and efficient.

It’s not so much about clocking time as it is about outcomes.

Hence, ensure that your remote teams can:

  • Collaborate seamlessly among themselves
  • Access the required info as and when needed
  • Track & share progress
  • Raise or point to risks as soon as identified
  • Have clear timelines for delivering their tasks
  • Maintain a clear time log as required by the business or customer
  • Ask for help without fear
  • Know the team’s availability to schedule project meetings & discussions

Tools like Restyaboard provide holistic capabilities for all remote teams to manage their projects, time, tasks, and resources effectively.

You minimize the need to have multiple apps, multiple logins, and disparate data sources and thereby reduce your CAPEX & OPEX costs given the current economic slowdown.

How empowered is your remote team today? Signup Now to find out!