I have always been a bit of a nerd and I love watching sci-fi, DC, Marvel all those weird and wonderful shows. However, in the last few weeks, I feel like I am an extra on one of those shows. The world as we know it has had to adapt and change including businesses and how they operate.
For some this has been a massive shift in their daily life. I started working with SMB Consultants(‘SMB’) back at the end of 2014. I was moving to Queensland to look after my ageing Mum and wanted to be able to continue to work. This was the start of a shift in how SMB worked as well. Over the last 5 years, SMB has gone from mainly hiring staff to work within their Surry Hills office to having a mix of staff working both in the office and remotely. I am based on the Fraser Coast, we have another on the Sunshine Coast and another in Auckland New Zealand.
We have tried and tested a few different online programs to find what works best for us and provide as much cohesion as possible within the business. It was fortunate for us that towards the end of last year we switched across to a softphone system that can be accessed via mobile or computer with all the capabilities of a PBX system eg direct lines, extensions, voicemail etc. So when the shift happened SMB was able to smoothly transition to all staff working from home.
One of the most important things, when everyone is working remotely, is communication. There are many tools out there that can help businesses keep the communication lines open and productive but sometimes finding the ones that work for your business can be a little daunting.
Some of the programs SMB use include:
Slack - A direct message communication tool used within SMB as well as external teams that acts as a communication layer between emails and support tickets
Zoom Meetings - Over the last 4 years, 95% of client meetings in SMB transitioned to Zoom meetings and made up over 50% of the company's communication. Staff meetings and huddles are part of the culture which allows every team member to stay connected
Zoom Softphones- The switch to softphones enabled SMB to take a business number and distribute calls to a decentralized workforce.
Trello - This program is a virtual whiteboard and can be used in a variety of ways, including allocating tasks, color coding, checklists.
G Suite - Google drive has been around for a while now and it is easy to overlook when you are used to using Word or similar. But Google Docs/Sheets allows teams to collaborate easily on the one document and see previous versions if needed.
Some ideas that could be implemented around these programs are:
Virtual daily standups via Slack.
Regular department/team/staff meetings with Zoom and using the Trello boards for project/WIP review.
Collaborate on lists/spreadsheets/documents with G Suite.
Regular staff catchups - It is not all work, it’s good to have that time to interact with each other, like virtual Friday drinks.
The list goes on. Anything is possible, you just sometimes need to look at it from a different perspective.
Personally, it hasn’t been a big adjustment for me working from home but I have to agree with all the experts, don’t sit in your PJs to work. Get up, have a shower, get dressed, make your coffee and then you are ready for the day. Make sure you have a comfortable environment to work in and if you have a laptop take the opportunity to sit outside and work as well and don’t forget to get up and go for a walk the same as you would if you were in the office and popping over to speak to a colleague.
If you would like to have a discussion around what would work for your business we would love to have a chat over a virtual coffee with you. Simply send me an email via our contact us page and we will schedule something.