Granite Digital’s team has remained fully operational with all of our employees working remotely from home since the middle of last week. This is as a result of the investments in systems and the procedures that we have developed over the past number of years.
There are many actions which our team has taken in order to successfully work remotely and the feedback from our employees has been phenomenal.
In the current times, it’s so important to ensure that you have the ability to work effectively from home. We thought that this guide might be useful for some that are new to remote working. So we asked our colleagues to contribute their tips ‘n’ tricks and here’s what we came up with within 24 hours.
We hope that this guide will be useful – even if you only find one or two interesting topics – and we’ll keep updating it as more ideas come in – so feel free to leave a comment or two – we’d love to hear from you.
Setting Up Your Workspace
This is one of the first actions which should take place when working from home. You should try and ensure that you have a quiet, dedicated space without distractions (we know, we have kids, family members and pets too!!).
A quiet space will ensure maximum productivity and ensure that a full day’s work is possible.
A few recommendations from our team include:
- Whilst a laptop/computer is essential for everyday tasks if you have a spare monitor or TV, try to connect your laptop to it which will provide dual monitors which tends to speed up work time. In order to do this, you will need an HDMI cable or VGA cable. There are many tutorials available on YouTube for setting up dual monitors.
- Don’t forget any additional equipment such as a mouse or a keyboard, they can also help with working productively.
- We also recommend having adequate supplies such as notebooks, pens, paper and any other stationary which you will require (not forgetting the amount of tea and coffee that you will be drinking when working from home!)
Ensuring A Daily Routine
Creating a daily routine will ensure a clear mind throughout the day. Your routine should include a morning routine, an afternoon routine and after work routine. Waking up at the usual time, getting dressed and making sure to eat a good breakfast has helped us to work our full potential.
Some people who have just switched to remote working like to wake up at their normal time and use the additional time in the morning to either get some extra exercise or just use the time to plan their day ahead. So by the time they sit down to work – they are already ahead of schedule.
Scheduling breaks into this routine is often forgotten about when working from home. However, these breaks are crucial to a healthy mind and feeling refreshed. Taking your lunch break in its entirety will allow you time to refresh – including perhaps spending time with kids, family members and pets.
The Software To Work Remotely
Granite Digital works with a wide variety of software/online tools each day. Below is a list we compiled taking input from everyone on the team about the common tools we share.
- Slack – Slack is an instant messaging tool which allows internal communication. Our teams communicate through this platform on a daily basis. Effective communication should be of paramount importance between colleagues when working remotely. The great thing about Slack is the option to have channels for different categories – including random and social channels to keep team spirit high.
- GSuite – Google Suite consists of Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. GSuite allows for online collaboration on projects such as documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It allows team members to work together on projects simultaneously and help avoid emailing files over and back. As everyone is working on the same file the problem of version control is eliminated.
- Figma – Our designers use this platform to collaborate on design projects.
- Smartsheet – Smartsheet.com is an online advanced version of Excel that allows collaboration on project scheduling as well as some cool dashboarding and reporting functionality. The great thing about smartsheet.com is the ability to request updates from team members to ensure accurate project tracking – and it’s all online!
- Teamwork – Teamwork is an extremely powerful project tracking and project management tool used by Granite Digital employees and our clients on a daily basis. This tool allows effective project management between all parties involved. It allows project managers to assign tasks to various resources and tracks progress through the lifecycle of the project. Teamwork Desk provides a platform for support which our team finds really useful in dealing with support queries and helpdesk management.
- TinyTake – Our support teams highly recommend this application -it’s one that you might not have heard about. Tinytake is a free screenshotting and screen recording tool for both Windows & Mac. There are optional paid options available which may suit your requirements.
- Supportdetails – SupportDetails has everything you need to know to keep tech support people happy: which computer you are using (PC or Mac), which operating system (Windows or OS X), which web browser and more system information. It is really useful to find out exactly what your client is seeing when they are experiencing an issue with their site. When working remotely, we often send our clients this link and request them to send back a screenshot so we can recreate the issue using their system setup.
Setting Up A Remote Desktop
- Chrome Remote Desktop – Our developers rave about this. It is an invaluable tool for accessing your desktop machine remotely. No firewall configuration required and set up takes minutes. Install on your desktop machine via your google account and log in remotely using your chrome browser.
- Teamviewer – This tool also allows you to view remote desktops.
- Both internally in the organisation and external communication such as meetings, pitches and catch up calls.
- Granite Digital has currently suspended all meetings and we are encouraging our teams and clients to engage in virtual meetings using tools such as Google Hangouts and Zoom.
- Internally, Google Hangouts have been invaluable to our team and it will be needed more than ever now. Google Hangouts allows you to conference call both one-on-one and group calls. It is easy to use and a great tool for communicating. Users can also join by phone which has been useful for our clients.