At Alter Endeavors, we foster and celebrate our team’s ability to work from wherever there is wi-fi — whether at home, a local coffee shop or an international destination. We always have the option to utilize our shared office in Austin for client meetings, intensive work sessions or simply to catch up with one another, but we do find that working remotely has many benefits; from saving time and money to improving employee satisfaction.
While there are certainly challenges to overcome when your team spends a typical workday physically apart, we have spent years creating systems and processes to optimize communication and workflow, while maintaining accountability. We’re sharing 5 particular tools that allow us to work remotely effectively and efficiently.
Utilize An Online Messaging Platform
Our team uses Slack, an online messenger, to check-in throughout the day. We create channels according to departments and specific projects our team is working on and we find it is a quick way to exchange information without overloading email inboxes.
Slack easily integrates with several other platforms like DropBox and Zoom and even allows you to send fun GIFs with Giphy to keep humor intact and spirits high. Other online messaging tools you can utilize include Skype, WeChat, etc.
Find a Project Management Tool
Whether you’re working from home as a freelancer, with an agency or with a large company — we find a robust project management tool is essential in order to ensure a team member can pick up where you left off if something comes up.
Unlike an office setting, where you can look over someone’s shoulder for project updates or breakdowns, working from home can leave you wondering where a team member is at with a specific task or project. We use Basecamp to stay on top of who is doing what and when it will be done by, but there are tons of other great tools like Asana, Monday, and Trello.
While it does require input and participation from the entire team in order to get a project management tool to the point where it is fully operational, it will certainly save a lot of headaches and unnecessary emails once the process is set.
Maintain Face-to-Face Interaction
While not having to go into the office or sit in traffic every day can be quite nice, it’s still important to maintain face-to-face interaction with your team and your clients! We use Zoom conferencing to schedule internal team meetings and client calls. We make it a goal to hold monthly calls with clients and weekly meetings with our team to ensure that everyone stays on the same page. Other solid tools for video conferencing are Google Hangouts or BlueJeans.
When we’re not quarantining, we make a point to meet in person every so often, gathering at our shared office, in pairs at a local coffee shop [we love Cosmic Coffee], or ending a Friday with a team happy hour [we love Austin Beer Garden Brewing]. Your company culture doesn’t have to be sacrificed just because your team works remotely!
Use a Collaborative Content Organizer
Having a place to store your internal documents is extremely important when working remotely with your team. We recommend finding a tool that allows you to work collaboratively with your team on documents and reports, such as Google Drive. Our team uses Google Drive because it allows us to designate folders for each of our clients and work collaboratively on content such as blogs, social media calendars and much more.
Another good tool for organizing photo content and other important files is Dropbox. When we first start working with a client, our process involves setting up a Google Drive folder and a Dropbox folder for that client and then prompting them to add any helpful assets into whichever platform they are most familiar with. This process helps us start with a foundational base that anyone in our team can access remotely as we create content.
Take Security Measures
Whether you’re working in an office or at home, it’s important to take security measures to ensure that your logins and passwords are stored securely. At Alter Endeavors, we use 1Password to store all of our company and client logins so as to prevent team members from e-mailing passwords back and forth. This tool allows us one central and secure place to pull any information we may need for access purposes.
Another consideration should be whether or not having an IT consultation with a company like Trinsic Technology is necessary for your company, specifically if data in your industry is regulated in any way.
With these tools easily accessible, it’s more possible than ever to set up a highly functioning remote company. Just remember – effective communication and utilizing these specific tools is the key to successfully helping your team work remotely. If you have any questions about how we operate internally as a remote-based company, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Alter Endeavors Digital Creative.