Whether it is due to a progressive company model or due to the ongoing corona crisis, one thing is certain. In 2020, the model of remote work, teleworking or home office is facing a promising future.
More and more companies recognize the advantages of the future-oriented concept. Often, they now grant their employees the long-awaited option to work from home. At weBOUND we have been working location independently since 2016. From basically anywhere, we support customers internationally in the implementation of online shops, funnels and online products. We have therefore built a large internal knowledge library on everything related to home office and remote work.
In today’s blog post we open the gates to this library. Here, we share our experience and the best tips and tricks for working together in different locations.
What is Remote Collaboration?
Remote Collaboration [rɪˈmoʊt kəˌlæbɚˈreɪʃən] n.
= working together on a project without sharing the same location
“Remote collaboration” refers to the collaboration of several people on the same project at the same time in different locations.
So it is about an increasingly important way of working: The collaboration of teams from the home office.
But there is more to it than that. It is about making whole teams from all over the world one and bringing them into harmony across spatial distances.
Today, this is not only easier to implement, but also more necessary than ever. The measures triggered by the coronavirus require an increasingly restrictive lifestyle. Meetings, conferences or even a normal working day in the office are no longer possible indefinitely.
It is, therefore, all the more important to develop a system for your company that enables and optimizes collaboration over spatial distances.
Collaboration in the home office sounds like a contradiction in itself. However, entire teams can be coordinated with just a few tricks and tools – and all that is required is a WLAN connection!
How to enable Collaboration during Home Office for your Team
Keep up your communications-system
Regular communication is the be-all and end-all in the home office. This means getting your act together as a team member. The key is communicating any progress, questions or urgent matters without delay. Of course, this should be done depending on the situation and whenever it is necessary. Whether via team chat, email or Slack updates is up to each company and of course also depends on the type of information.
However, it can also help some teams to carry out regular online stand-ups. These put the entire team into the picture. The video software Zoom is particularly suitable for this, as it allows both, live broadcasts as well as recordings for absent employees.
Writing is silver, talking is gold
Even though it’s tempting to just email colleagues, teams shouldn’t get too involved in written communication modes. Sometimes, a phone call or a video call can do wonders. Maintaining direct conversations in the home office not only helps to avoid misunderstandings and clarify processes quickly. It is also a sign of appreciation and enables trust to be built up over a distance. This is not about saving time and efficiency. It is about clarity and transparency, so do not be afraid of long discussions!
Don’t forget to appreciate
Even if proper celebrations and gatherings are not possible for teams working in the home office, they should not be neglected. WeBOUND has its own virtual room. iIn our case this is a channel specially set up for festivities in our communication system. We use it to celebrate positive developments or gather for celebrations such as birthdays together. This strengthens cohesion and spreads joy!
Some things simply cannot be clarified using text messages. It is all the better that meetings and conferences do not have to be disregarded even when working from home. However, it is important to consider a few aspects so that the online meeting does not turn into a waiting game and coffee gossip:
- Adhering to appointments: As with ordinary meetings, care should be taken to be on time and avoid delays. Of course, train delays are not really of danger in this situation. Instead, all participants should check their internet connection and all technical devices involved. This will help to decrease the chance of any delays.
- Agenda: Similar to personal meetings, an agenda for meetings in the home office is a great idea. It gives all participants the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming meeting and thus helps to minimize unnecessary delays. In order not to literally lose sight of it, it can be shown on the edge of the screen.
- Maintain concentration with Freedom: At online meetings, there is a particularly high risk of digressing briefly and skimming the news on other tabs. In order to maintain concentration, it is advisable to use programs such as Freedom to voluntarily, temporarily restrict access to distracting websites.
- Avoiding disruptions: Ringtones on cell phones, notifications on laptops or family distractions. Nothing disrupts everyone involved more than such small interruptions. Therefore, mute notifications on your laptop and cell phone and hang up a “Do not disturb” sign. This should help you to be able to hold undisturbed meetings in the home office.
Ultimately, the question arises of the ideal video program. Here are the top 2 weBOUND favorites:
Video all-rounder Zoom
Zoom is truly an all-in-one software. Online meetings from all electronic devices, video webinars with several hundred participants, and even the creation of different conference rooms are combined in one application. Zoom can also be linked to your calendar, so that conversation partners can independently book individual appointments to certain virtual meeting rooms.
Professional, immersive online meetings with Adobe Connect
With Adobe Connect, there are no limits to personalized online meetings. Up to 25 participants can be distributed across customizable, virtual meeting rooms and strategize together. In order to make meetings as immersive and engaging as possible, question and answer rounds, surveys, simulations and small games can be integrated.
Collaborating in Teams
Home office operations also means not being able to simply lean to a colleague at the next table to share ideas with one another. Instead, programs are needed that make it possible to work together on visualizations and documents.
Create consistent systems
If several people work together on different projects at different locations it is necessary to create rules and framework conditions within which to act within as the first step. When creating common documents, it is, therefore, advisable to agree in advance on the structure, formal criteria and basic rules These can be recorded in a glossary and can be referenced in the course of the collaboration.
Cloud-based database for company documents with Google Drive or Google Suite
Google Drive connects the Microsoft Office package with Google functions. This means that you can work in the same document, Excel or presentation at the same time. Plus, everyone in the team always has the right version ready everywhere – even on a cell phone. Furthermore, access and authorizations to the documents and folders can be restricted and assigned. These can also be used for knowledge management.
Giving access to a computer with TeamViewer
TeamViewer is ideal for cross-screen work in the home office. This program makes it possible to give a conversation partner secure remote access to your PC without having to be in the same room. This is particularly helpful when the technology is on strike and the IT department is located in a completely different part of the town or even world.
Share what you see with Screenleap
With Screenleap at the latest, all problems of screen sharing with teammates have been permanently solved. Forget the researching of cumbersome video solutions. This browser software makes it easy to share your own screen with any person in order to integrate it directly into certain processes.
Sending big amounts of data with WeTransfer
Sending high-resolution documents, photos, or presentations can sometimes be difficult when the amount of data to be transported is high. With WeTransfer files and folders up to 2 GB are sent to several recipients at the same time. They receive a download link that can be forwarded.
In contrast to documents, it can often be a little more difficult to share and edit ideas when everyone is in their own home office. The rule already mentioned applies here: “Writing is silver, talking is golden”.
Don’t write cumbersome, eternally long messages in order to make ideas that may make sense for yourself, but are only confusing snippets for outsiders. Instead, it is much easier to explain ideas with the spoken word and additional visualizations and to develop them together.
Visualize ideas with MindMeister
A picture, or rather a mind map, says more than a thousand words. However, since pen and paper are not very online-friendly, MindMeister helps to visually prepare, develop and share ideas within teams. There are no limits to joint brainstorming!
An online whiteboard for all purposes Miro
For people who are used to using a whiteboard to accompany their presentations and brainstorming sessions, Miro could be a real game change. As it is with a real whiteboard, it is possible to have several people access a board at the same time and thus take part in the visualization process.
The first days of implementation of the home office concept, naturally mean a major change for teams and companies, which also involves a lot of work. However, once the system is implemented, there is no longer any need to shake it and this quickly results in increased efficiency and flexibility.