COVID-19 Communications and Connectivity Tips for Remote Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating significant disruption in all areas of business and life. To help you to find some order in the chaos and adjust to new ways of doing and being, Doctor Digital has put together a series of COVID-19 blogs with tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for how digital and e-commerce tools can support you and your business.
Doctor Digital Says:
Managing connectivity is critical for a home based and remote workers as are some simple planning and management tools. While there are plenty of benefits to remote working (think comfy Ugg boots and a reduction in all those unnecessary meetings when you are deep in the thought flow), one of the downsides for many people is a sense of isolation. When the context for remote working is a global pandemic, you are also adding chaos, fear and deep uncertainty into the mix, which can be extra challenging.
Keeping your people connected to work and to each other is essential in this period of social isolation. Luckily, there is an abundance of tools to help you do this that are tried and tested by hundreds of thousands of remote workers. They are designed not just for fun and communications, but also for making work streamlined, removing tonnes of email, collaborating on documents, instant communication, video and voice calls, and a host of other handy activities. Part messenger, part workflow, part social media, they may just become indispensable to your business when you get back into the office. While there are a few options around, there are two that are the most predominantly used in remote working culture.
Slack is the original messenger tool for work, beloved by tech startups, rad not for profits and everyone in between. This product is great for real-time communication, for one-on-one conversations or with everyone on your team. Slack is as close to a virtual office as you can get and for even better organisation you can create one channel for every client, and invite only the people on that project to be on that channel. Slack is free to use as long as you want with an unlimited amount of users and integrates with a vast number of other apps to make it seamless to use.
Sign up is easy with an email and you are good to go. Slack has a very intuitive interface on desktop and mobile. Once your profile is set up you are ready to go. Build some channels and post directly into them, based on your current projects, and to keep team culture alive, you can also make some fun channels for things like recipes, DIY projects for home quarantine, how many rolls of toilet paper you have stockpiled, photos of pets and kids or anything you want. You can opt for notifications when messages arrive, or not if you don’t want to be driven crazy by the ping of enthusiastic notifications. Daily meetings can be held by video or audio using Slack simply by adding people to a group call.
Workplace is Facebook's workplace connectivity tool, and this may be an appropriate option to quickly get your teams connected if everyone is already using Facebook, as its Workplace options have a similar look and feel to the usual Facebook feed. You can chat, collaborate, message, do video chats and meetings, integrate with your existing business tools and systems and easily keep up to date with what is going on. There is a 30 day free trial plus low per user per month costs if you want to keep using Workplace when social isolation recommendations are lifted. Like Slack, Workplace has lots of integrated features so you can literally do everything in the channel, and works a charm on both desktop and mobile devices. Definitely a social feeling space, this could work well for morale and creating a sense of connection and camaraderie by using a familiar format for work in an uncertain time.
Either of these options will be an affordable and highly useful tool to help your people adjust to the definitely unknown waters we are all bobbing around in right now. More than ever this is a time to ask are people OK, and accept that when there is this level of anxiety globally, it is contagious, and can be pretty tough for people to handle. Encourage openness, empathy and kindness with everyone – and you can set up a channel for that in Slack or Workplace.