The Remote Worker’s Digital Productivity Toolkit
By Kat, 3 months ago (5 min read)
Remote working has been on the rise for some years now, with forward-thinking companies offering this as an option to employees and therefore providing greater flexibility. However, in 2020, this often unexploited concept has become a necessity – with many governments introducing temporary rules to encourage social distancing.
While the concept of remote working boasts numerous plus points (including the chance to forgo a stressful commute), without suitable technology and a physical working environment in place, your efforts could be doomed to failure from the start. However, I’m going to help you navigate your way through this unchartered territory, exploring a range of online tools and practical tips that I, and the Land Digital team, are currently using to maintain normal business operations.
I’m going to start with an obvious, but very important one here, which is good internet connectivity. Fast, secure and reliable WiFi is a fundamental part of successfully working from home, as most daily tasks will require you to be online. Whether it’s just checking your emails or accessing specific business software apps and documents via ‘the cloud’, without good internet connectivity, you won’t get far.
If your connection is weak or slow where you’ve set up your home office, a good starting point is to reposition your router closer to your workspace. If that doesn’t work, you could also consider upgrading your router, investing in a WiFi booster or even a stronger router antenna.
Team chat apps
When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your colleagues and sometimes a little isolated, but this is where team chat apps can bridge the gap during times when you can’t all physically be in the same place.
There are numerous options for team chat apps offering instant messaging, file sharing, video calls, screen sharing and much more, but naturally your choice will depend on what your business’s needs are.
For us, Slack offers just the right features and usability that makes communication between teams and individuals natural, quick and seamless – even when I’m sitting in the same office as my colleagues – ensuring team connectivity is never an issue.
Other communication tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts are also primed for larger team meetings, allowing you to see everyone on screen at once, as well as conduct presentations through screen sharing. In the current climate, these platforms are even being used to host less formal affairs, like the Land Digital team quiz night that also gives a much-needed morale boost when we’re all separated!
Online office suites
In recent years there’s been a significant shift to using web-based office suites such as G Suite or Microsoft Office Online in favour of installed software packages for essential documents, spreadsheets and the like. The beauty of an online-based suite is that users can create, share and edit documents in real-time, without the need to email the most up-to-date version every time.
For those of us currently operating remotely, this capability makes life much simpler, saves time and means team collaboration isn’t hindered by not being together, as all members of our team can be on the same page (quite literally), wherever we are!
Another essential part of keeping up productivity is to ensure you have cloud-based storage for all your key files. Office suites like the above typically come with a decent amount of cloud storage as standard, but you can also opt to go with another cloud storage supplier.
As with web-based office suites, the advantages of having everything uploaded to the cloud means everyone can access the most recently updated files they need via the internet anytime and anywhere, rather than needing to gain access to an on-site server.
Project management software
In order for remote working to be productive, businesses need to ensure staff stay organised, focused and on track with projects and tasks. However, this can be tough when you’re used to regular team check-ins or project update meetings in the office, particularly when it comes to time-sensitive workflows with multiple team members involved. Of course, technology has a solution for this in the form of project management software.
Project management software provides teams with clear visibility of project goals, specific tasks and workflows in real time. Typically web-based, platforms like the one we use, Asana, allows team members to view project progress, leave status updates and adjust workflows, ensuring all team members have the same visibility of a project and are kept fully in the loop, even when working from home.
In creative industries like the world of digital marketing, team brainstorming sessions are a key part of everyday operations, but this functionality can be hampered when you’re not all in the office.
However, making use of handy online whiteboards and mind mapping tools like Mindly could be just what you and your colleagues need to get the creative juices flowing. With the capability to map out your ideas virtually for all the team to contribute to, this is one way to ensure your ideas come to fruition in a productive way that’s almost as good as a team huddle around the whiteboard.
Finally, I want to let you know about some clever little apps that can help you stay focused when working from home. Working in an environment that’s normally about relaxing, household chores and anything but work can easily affect your concentration levels, particularly, if like me, you’re also juggling childcare.
However, it’s important to remove as many distractions as possible from your working day. Firstly, stick to a strict work schedule that means any non-work related tasks are left until the working day is over and communicate it to other members of the household, too. Secondly, if you find your mind wandering to check your phone, emails or the latest news updates, you can install apps like StayFocused or Freedom that will block certain concentration-sapping sites while you’re working – ensuring you remain productive and focused on the tasks at hand.
Although working remotely can be a challenge when you’re starting out, we hope the above ideas will help you to build the right foundations to arm your team with a digital toolkit that ensures your business remains fully functional and productive throughout the current climate.
Here at Land Digital, we’re committed to providing our clients with the same level of support and service they’ve come to expect from us, despite our team operating remotely – ensuring that our clients come out the other side of this pandemic stronger and better than before.
If you’d like any help with future-proofing your business model, we’re open for business as usual and would love to discuss your needs, so please get in touch.