This might be the first time that your office is officially closed and your staff are working from home. Sure, it was okay when 1 or 2 staff took their laptops home on the odd Friday; but, you might feel disconnected from your team and their projects.
You are not alone. Luckily, there are a range of free – and low cost – programs to keep projects rolling from home.
The team of 13 full-time staffers at Tourism Kamloops have been using Slack, Asana, and Zoom for over a year in our office. Now that we’re working remotely, programs like Slack and Zoom have kept the team in communications and in good spirits. Here’s our breakdown of 3 programs that are used daily with helpful tips & tricks.
Slack is an instant messaging platform that you can download or use in a web browser. Sending informal memos – such as brainstormed ideas and news articles- internally cuts down on “reply all” emails, but keeps the team connected.
Users can create public channels for topics such as YKA Strong, local news, meeting agenda topics, marketing programs, etc. Take advantage of funneling topics into channels to streamline work.
Tip: Any message you post in the channels will be visible to your entire team. Keep confidential matters – like annual budgets or HR grievances – off Slack.
Next time your colleague asks, “What are you working on?”, open your Asana page.
Asana is a project management software that breaks down daily tasks such as projects, tasks, deadlines, person(s) responsible, status updates, and more. The software is flexible for users to have their to-do lists in calendar or list formats, as well as include attachments, web links, etc. Users can also comment on other tasks or projects, which helps funnel communication in 1 program instead of the odd email, phone call, post-it note and Slack memo.
Project management software like Asana highlights individual and team workloads – useful for both entry and senior-level staff to assess project status. Similar project management programs include Trello and Monday.
Tip: Remember to invite your department lead or project manager to your “project” on Asana so that it’s visible from their end.
In pre-pandemic settings, video calls were avoidable, but now they’re inevitable. Embrace video calls with clients and colleagues with programs like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meetings, or Skype.
Video calls can sometimes feel uncomfortable. You can’t read people’s faces, responses may lag a few seconds, and your clients’ artwork could be distracting.
Do a quick audit before your next video call. If you have family playing in the next room, put in headphones to cut down on background noise. If the meeting has 5+ people, put your microphone on mute when you’re not talking. Lastly, respect video meetings like you would a face-to-face meeting and put your phone down.
Tip: If this is your first time on a virtual meeting platform, log in before the meeting and play around with the settings to get comfortable.
At the end of the day, your team will have the same questions and concerns for managers that existed in the office environment. Ensure that proper avenues exist to communicate and stay in the loop with project status.
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