Many companies are re-tooling and finding the best ways to remain connected and productive in a remote work environment in the work from home economy. At the same time, most companies are looking seriously at conserving cash and eliminating non-essential expenses. To help, I wanted to offer recommendations on the essential tech stack for virtual work—no fluff, just what your team needs.
At Rhythm Systems, we’ve always had several remote employees, and we had the benefit of doing a lot of research and vendor comparisons before we were all in crisis, so I wanted to share what we’re using in case it helps your team:
Virtual Meeting Platform
This is essential for maintaining your Rhythm of Work™ with your team and for keeping in contact with your customers. You need a tool for your weekly adjustment meetings and to replace the in-person collaboration you would have had in the office.
- Depending on your needs, you may be fine with a basic screen-sharing and video conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. Many of you may already be paying for these tools as part of your business subscription, so be sure to investigate the tools already available before making a purchase.
- We use Zoom. We found the video and audio quality to be superior at a very reasonable price point, and it has many advanced features that make our virtual work experience better.
You likely already have a system in place for file sharing, but if you don’t, this is another must-have for virtual teams. You need a way to collaborate and share documents without the never-ending email attachment versioning nightmare.
- We use Google Drive for this. Google is also our email platform, and we use it for chat, calendar, and to host our employee intranet site. We found that the more we can max out one system for all it’s features, the easier it is for us to keep track of things. Having too many systems creates a lot of confusion so if your mail and calendar tool also has document sharing and collaboration features, take advantage of those.
- Again, you may already have Microsoft or iCloud document sharing and storage available to you, so be sure to check out what you already have. Other options include Box and Dropbox.
You need to replicate the collisions your team would have in the office, if you can. Introducing chat for quick questions you would usually pop in someone’s office to ask, or for more informal conversations that can help with connecting people is important.
- As I mentioned, we use Google Hangouts for this. We’re a small team, and this works well for us. We have a protocol we all follow with Chat to ask, “There?” before beginning a conversation, just in case the person is not available (the virtual equivalent of knocking on the door).
- Many companies use Slack for chat. Many other applications include chat features you can take advantage of (like Zoom, for example).
Strategy and Work Management
You need a way to see easily that your team is on track and working on the most important priorities. You need a tool to help you keep your key metrics front of mind and to ensure you are effectively executing on the strategies you need to survive and thrive as a business. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our Rhythm software platform is the perfect tool for remote teams to stay focused and aligned on getting the most important work done.
Here are a few of our collaboration tools to help your team stay on track:
- Daily Huddle notes to stay aligned everyday
- Meetings feature to create agendas, capture notes and link to related documents
- Special teams and custom dashboards to help manage projects
- Commenting on Priorities and KPIs to keep up to speed on the most important goals and solve problems faster
- Actions to establish accountability for smaller ad hoc tasks
With these key applications in place, your team can stay connected, stay focused and remain productive no matter where they are working. As a leader, you can keep a pulse on what’s happening with the team and with your customers so you make the best decisions possible.
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