Working remotely as a team gives the perfect encouragement to move to the cloud if you haven’t already.
The cloud is very secure as all documents are securely backed up, your staff will have access to a wider range of software; and your staff can plan their workloads efficiently together and collaborate better.
Three key actions
- Find out from other charities how get the most out of the cloud
- Use cloud-based platforms for document storage and sharing, like Microsoft Office 365 or Google G-Suite
- Use digital productivity tools, like Trello, Microsoft Planner and Miro
Cloud-based document storage and sharing
A cloud-based document storage and sharing platform is a must-have. Without one, you’ll struggle to work effectively as a remote team.
The two key platforms available are Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite. Basic packages are completely free and paid packages cost a few pounds per employee per month. There is no excuse for not moving to the cloud.
The key advantages are:
- Teams can easily and securely share documents
- All your work is instantly backed up
- Colleagues can simultaneously work on the same file
- No need to save local copies of files or send large email attachments
- Working in the cloud means that your team can access a wide range of applications just from their web browser, so they don’t need to worry about installing and updating lots of apps
- If team members are having connectivity issues, they can work on documents offline then synchronise changes later
There are even easy to use tools to help you find files you have been recently working on, like Microsoft Delve (Microsoft) and Google Drive Recent Files so you can quickly pick up where you left off.
Productivity and planning tools
Working remotely means you won’t be able to crowd round a whiteboard or flipchart. So how do you keep on top of big-picture planning when you can’t all look at the same office wall?
If you use a shared planning tool well, and keep the information up to date – you don’t need to schedule an extra meeting to talk it through.
A very popular model for shared planning is an online board where each task gets its own card, and cards are grouped in lists or columns. As they change status cards can be easily moved using drag and drop, for example, a completed task is dragged from a ‘To Do’ list to a ‘Completed’ list. You can also assign tasks to specific people, attach files, code by category, add checklists and due dates. Popular products include Trello, Microsoft Planner and Miro.
Collaboration tools like this only really work well when your whole team actively updates them. So it’s worth establishing practices or routines to help people do this. One example is a weekly review where completed tasks are marked done and new ones are added.