If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times, the outbreak of coronavirus created a strange time for workers across the country – especially when it came to working from home.
While the concept of working from home isn’t a new thing, with millions of self-employed individuals making up the UK’s workforce and many businesses offering flexible-working, the recent situation was unprecedented.
Before we were officially told to work from home, the Relative team trialled a day or two here and there to see if we could navigate home working. This saw us opting to use several tools to help us communicate from our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen tables and wherever we decided to park ourselves that day.
While there were some teething issues, which probably wasn’t helped by millions of people trying to conference call at the same time, we landed on a few key tools to help us navigate the world of working from home.
Below, we’ve outlined what we used, and continue to use, to give you some ideas if you’re trying to find the perfect working from home set-up.
While we all had access to Outlook, as you know, missing an email can be easy, especially if you’re using a web version of your email provider, which many of us were. Therefore, we needed to find a quick and easy way to communicate with each other, and this is what we found in Slack.
Helping to keep conversations organised, Slack positions itself as a smart alternative to email, and, it does the trick. Easy to download and set up, you can set up workflows for specific jobs and clients and add specific workers to them, meaning only they get alerted when someone posts something in that stream. Aside from this, you can have individual chats with specific workers and even send files.
While email is still being used to communicate with clients, having Slack on the dashboard of your laptop is a quick and easy way to communicate with co-workers.
We were already using Trello here at Relative as it helps us stay organised when it comes to specific jobs and workflows.
The best thing about Trello is that everyone can see what tasks they’ve been assigned and whether a job is completed or not. And, a bonus of using it while working from home is, we could identify what jobs had been paused and what ones were still running – a huge advantage during lockdown.
One thing we’ve learnt since working from home is that meetings are far more successful when we can see each other. We went through several video call tools, some were jittery, some made it hard to see everyone at once, but, once we worked through this, Zoom came out on top.
With someone setting up a meeting, these were perfect for morning catch-ups to determine what jobs needed doing and who was working on what. The free version provides meetings that can last up to 40-minutes, which is ideal for first thing in the morning and allows you to see everyone in a grid.
While one of the biggest benefits was keeping in touch and being able to see who was working in their dressing gown or who’d shaved their head, it’s shown us that having members of the team in the office and at home won’t be a hurdle when it comes to future meetings
We used this to help store all of our passwords before lockdown, but it’s really come into its own while working from home. This is because everyone has been able to use it to log into different tools we use while also being able to access the work server, without having to send a million texts to find out who knows or has changed a password.
The other great element of LastPass is that it’s encrypted, making it extra secure for all those important details.
While working from home may have taken a little time to get used to, we feel we succeeded at it with the help of these tools and showed us it’s something we can continue to do in the future. And, with them all being free, or offering some form of free version for you to try out, if you’re having trouble or looking for a new piece of online software to help you out, take our word for it, these are great!