One of our Company Values within GRAF UK is that we will always ‘Find a way’. It helps us to remember firstly, that there is always a way, and most importantly, that we should never give up. Sometimes it’s not easy and it can take a long time to find a way, but when one of your core values is that you will find a way, whatever the challenge, it helps you stay focused on solutions rather than problems.
One challenge that many businesses are facing right now, is how to stay connected and how to carry on working with people having to temporarily work remotely. The good news for many companies is that there are so many resources available now, many of which are free, to help people and teams stay connected and continue with business as usual from wherever they’re located. Here are the top 7 things we’ve used to help us continue to work when our team are in multiple locations.
1: Zoom meetings
We’ve used online conferencing platform Zoom.com for many years now. It’s convenient, it’s easy to use, it’s free for the most basic use, plus it’s suitable for phones, laptops & PCs so our whole team can access it. As you’ve probably seen by the number of people who are referencing it on LinkedIn over the past week, it’s a very popular choice for businesses.
If you don’t have the benefit of cloud based systems, which we didn’t used to have for our ERP system, then you need to use computers connected to your server in order to access company files. Depending on your setup, this can be difficult if you’re outside of your offices. However, there is an easy answer if this is your scenario. GoToMyPC.com enables you to work on your phone, laptop or computer from anywhere, but you’re actually working on your computer in your office, which means you’re connected to your server. It means you can work as if you’re sat in front of your computer in your office and you’re connected to all your normal files, folders and programs, but you can do it from anywhere. It’s not free, it starts from £21/computer per month, but for what it enables you to do if you’re not using the cloud, it can be very worth it.
3: GoToMeeting & GoToWebinar
We’ve used GoToMeeting for several years too and it’s very similar to Zoom. It enables online meetings with both video & audio and is very well-known for meetings and online presentations. We’ve also just used GoToWebinar for the first time and this was incredibly easy to use too. Again, either can be used by apps on your phone or tablet, or via the websites on any laptop or PC. Unlike Zoom, it’s not free to use (after the 14 day free trial) so you do have to pay for it, but if you’re using it regularly and getting a lot out of it then the £10ish per month can be very worth it.
4: Google Hangouts
We’ve recently used Google Hangouts for the first time. You have to have a Gmail email address to use this, I believe, but these are free and quick & easy to register for one. Then you can use the Google Hangouts platform for online meetings, presentations, screen-sharing and more. All completely free of charge and accessible to everyone on the internet.
5: Microsoft Teams on Office 365
Having changed to Office 365 at the start of 2020, our whole team is now more connected than ever when we’re not sat in the same office as each other, because we’ve got access to Microsoft Teams, which is great for video calls, quick online chat, screen-sharing and file sharing. You do need to be an Office 365 user so it’s not for everyone, but if you’re using Office 365 then this is a great new tool from Microsoft.
We’re all Apple iPhone users within our business (all Company provided mobiles that is), so we use FaceTime a lot to improve communication from just audio only to video, so that we can stay face-to-face and have the benefit of seeing each other when we speak. We’re also sometimes using WhatsApp video calls for this, especially for people not using iPhones. Although some of our team don’t like video calls, it really does help to improve communication and get more out of the conversation if we can see each other. So, we persevere and keep helping our team members to get used to it!
7: Merged phone calls
Not new and certainly not unknown, but I do find myself forgetting to use this as often as we should. The ease with which you can now speak to 2, 3, 4+ people on your mobile phone at the same time by simply adding new calls and merging them together, is game-changing. There are so many times we have conversations with one person and then have to relay that information to another person. It’s so much more efficient if all people hear it the first time it’s said and this is easily possible by having multiple people on the phone at the same time. If you’re not using this then you’re missing out and I would propose you’re wasting time. Why have two, three or four conversations with individual people when you can have one conversation with all of them, at the same time, and all of you can be anywhere, doing anything. It’s so convenient and quick & easy and depending on your job role, if you’re leading a team of people it’s probably something you should be using daily.
There you have it, our 7 best tips on how to find a way to stay connected and communicate just as much whilst working remotely as you would do if you were all in the same office. We don’t have to let isolation stop us from working, we just have to get resourceful and find a way to carry on. If any of these 7 things are new to you and you’re giving them a try for the first time, if you have any questions then don’t forget we’re only a phone call, email, FaceTime, text or video call away from being able to help!