Ep 71 | Keep your Team Connected While Working Remote

Don't freak out about being a remote office. It might be going on longer than we expected but with some simple adjustments you can make it work!

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It can be tricky to navigate working and leading teams when everyone is working remotely. But with a few simple tools, you can keep on top of your teams and stay on track for your goals. I'm sharing my tips for tools that can help you work remotely.

In this episode you'll learn:

→ Ways to make communication clear and easy.
→ Find a project management tool you like.
→ How to ensure your team is available at the same time.
→ Video conferencing that keeps your team seeing face to face

Want to skip ahead?  Here are some key takeaways:

[3:28] Find a communication tool that you can use on a day-to-day business. Slack is my favorite to use and is also free for the most part. It allows you to organize your topics and you can integrate it with the other tools you use in your business like Google Drive.
[5:55] Find a project management tool that works best for you. This allows you to stay on top of projects in the work and not have to follow up to know what's up with particular tasks.
[7:56] Create a team schedule. Know when your team is available and all able to reach out. It might be your team is all only from 9-2 and the rest of the hours are made up at the team members' unique situation.
[10:55] Make sure you're connecting with your team on a weekly basis and seeing each other's faces! Get some status updates and tackle questions right away.

Resources

Slack
WhatsApp
Voxer
ClickUp*
Asana
Trello
Monday.Com
Zoom

*This is an affiliate link. That means if you choose to purchase we may receive a small commission. We are only affiliates of programs that we ourselves use and trust.

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Full Transcript

[INTRO] Hey there, Sami here with another episode of the Digital Marketing Therapy podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. We are talking about organization and how to keep your team connected when you're not working in the same office space anymore. So a lot of different businesses are in very different situations with regards to what the work situation looks like, do you have some people in the office? Do you have people coming in and out and rotating on a different timeline so that you don't have people there all at the same time? Whatever that is. It's definitely different than what we're used to. And as we look into the fall, and schools opening or not reopening people needing to stay home and homeschool, there's a whole nother level of how do we keep our teams connected, productive, how do we keep moving things forward, while still supporting each other and understanding that what we're going through right now is not like anything we've ever had to experience before, or businesses have had to become agile in a way like we haven't had to before.

Adjusting the way that we process our information, put things out to the audience. You know, the way that we fundraise the way that we sell our products, all of that is evolving and changing. And not to say that it's all a bad thing. But it's, you know, how we then get our teams to be efficient, effective is just kind of another piece to that puzzle. So, in today's episode, I mean, I know we've been home for a while. So it might seem odd that I'm choosing to do this topic now. But I just do feel with schools, and any parents that you have that work in your office, this is a topic that's going to come up again and again, businesses are going to have to become flexible and figure out what's the best way that they can support employees while still getting work business keeping things afloat. So that's what I'm going to share with you today is some of my ideas for ways that you can do that within your organization.

And if you listen to this episode, and you're like, Okay, I like these ideas, I really want to just have like a quick call to just kind of say, Okay, here's where our situation is, what suggestions do you have for me, I would love to do that with you. And you can book time with me 30 minutes, all you have to do is go to https://thefirstclick.net/officehours, book, 30 minutes with me, we can strategize. We can go through your business, what it is that you're trying to accomplish, and how we can kind of create some tools and systems around your team so that you can be effective and efficient and get things done. And keep serving the amazing people that you serve and and do the same for your employees. So that's we're going to talk to talk about today and again, if you want to book time with me, it's https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. But for now, let's get into the episode.

[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[BODY] Okay, so the biggest hurdle that I find when it comes to remote workers is communication. And having a communication tool is really great for your team to stay organized on specific topics, but also to kind of keep that fun conversation going to support wins to provide resources, all of that good stuff. And one of my favorite tools for that is Slack. There are other tools that you can use, some people use WhatsApp, and Voxer or whatever.

 There's lots of ways that you can have communication flowing between your teams, but I really love Slack for a few reasons. One, there's a lot of ways that you can use it for free. So it's not going to be cost-prohibitive to your organization. But I love that inside your company thread or your company, I'm going to say some of these terms wrong because I'm not like that into like, anyway, I'm going to say probably some of these categories wrong. But as you go into your business that you've created in Slack, then in each in there, you can create as many channels as you want. And different employees can be a part of different channels. So just depends on how large your organization is. So maybe you have a marketing channel, maybe you have, or if your marketing department is huge, maybe you have it by specific projects. Maybe you have a company-wide like cheerleading chat channel so that you know you can share wins with the company, as a whole, whatever. It's really easy to format it integrates with all sorts sorts of things like Google Drive, all of the apps that you would need Zapier, whatever. And so it's just a great way to communicate with your team and keep projects separate, because the thing that drives me crazy, the emails are flying back and forth. And then all of a sudden, somebody adds one other topic to this email thread. And then when you go back to try to find it, you're like I don't, but like, I can't even find this information. Right. And so this way, you can have different channels for different topics. All those chats go in there, you can tag people in it very easily. And it's really easy to use. It's great on desktop, it's, it's great on your phone. So I would highly encourage you to check out slack and have some fun with it and bring your whole team on board so that you can communicate and keep things moving forward.

Now, the second thing for me that I'm obsessed with is a project management tool. Now the beauty of Slack and project management tools is a lot of times they integrate well together so that if there's a change made on a project management software, it'll automatically notify people that ClickUp as well. Or ClickUp sorry, I just spilled the beans about my favorite project management tool. It'll notify people in Slack. And you can make adjustments back and forth in that way. So that's also really good.

But yes, ClickUp is my favorite project management tool. By far. It's really robust. It allows you to see a lot of different things. And same, you know, you can have chats directly in that you can see what people are working on, you can see who's online and who's active and working, which is also great. You can set goals in there, which is wonderful. I love that because if you put goals in there, your team, let's say it's a fundraising goal, and you've got $10,000 that you want to raise and you've got activities that you're doing towards it, and you're tracking all of that and ClickUp and then as you hit that goal, the whole team that's part of that goal can celebrate together and kind of see the progress. So I highly recommend checking out ClickUp again, there's a lot you can do with it in the free version.

And but there's some other great project management tools out there as well like Asana is a popular one Trello. Monday, I think Monday.Com and anyway, and I'll link up all these resources in the show notes, so you can check them out at your leisure. But when you're all working remotely, and you're trying to make sure everybody is working on the same, like trying to do the same thing to move people forward or move the organization forward, it's a lot harder when you're not in the same place. And so having this project management tool can be really helpful and making sure that everybody knows what their main priorities are. You've got an easy place to communicate in Slack to say, hey, I need help with this, or I'm like, I've got questions about that, you know, you could still communicate on a regular basis. And then that kind of leads me to my third piece, which is sort of creating a schedule.

Now. It's summer. You know, it's you know, the kids are home, maybe if you don't have kids, there's just other things that are happening around you. And you know, there are trips and there are vacations. And then as we get into the school year, schedules change again. And so one of my recommendations is sitting down with your department. And again, this depends on the size of your organization, right? But sitting down with your, maybe it's just your development team, or maybe it's just the finance team, or maybe you're only five people in your office. And so it's the entire team altogether, and really taking a look at the needs of each person's kind of situation.

So maybe you say, okay, we don't care when you put your hours in. But we know we're all going to be working online from like seven to 10. And from two to four, I don't know whatever it is, or maybe it's from 10 to two people can pick up hours, other places, but then, you know, if you can communicate with your team and say, Okay, well, here's where we know we all want to be active and working so that if people have questions about they can get them answered, but then also wanting to give you the space to do some of the things that we didn't think we'd have to do anymore, like homeschooling, you know, have, you know, not being able to send your kids to daycare in the summer, not being able to have that flexibility of having a nanny in your house, or whatever it was that you were doing before. Like, that's all changed. And so we need to be respectful of that, and supporting our teams in a way to make that less stressful. And the beauty of that too, is if you can carve out that space, if there can be that open communication. Your team members are going to be way less stressed out, they're going to be way more productive. And there's not going to be that kind of animosity between people of, you know, feeling like certain people aren't pulling their weight or things aren't happening and I can't ever get ahold of this person, you know, more communication and creating that team schedule, I think is a key thing that I haven't seen a lot of organizations Doing and, and I just think it's so important to understand that this is not a choice that parents have made. And I know, there's a lot of people out there that aren't parents and you know, it's sometimes that can be a sticky conversation as well. But we need to support each other and have a little bit of grace for kind of what that looks like.

So you've got Slack set up for communication, you know, when you're available to communicate with people. Oh, and that's another beautiful thing about Slack is you can set away hours so people know, hey, you're not here, you're not gonna respond until this time, right? You'll say notifications are turned off until a certain time. So that's another great tool. You've got your project management setup, so everybody's on the same track. Everybody knows what they're doing. Everybody knows what they're working on. And you as a manager can track what's getting done, what's not getting done.

And the last kind of tool that I want to throw out there which is kind of obvious, and hopefully you're doing this already is video conferencing. Now I love Zoom. Zoom is definitely my go to. I know they've had some things In the media with regards to security, but I, you know, I'm a big fan of Zoom, it's super easy to use. And I definitely recommend, and again, this depends on the size of your team, but weekly check-ins and these don't have to be long. And if you can really make them tight and succinct, if you're using your project management tool, you can literally pop in and say, Okay, these are the big three things we got to get done this week. So where what's the status update on this, this, this and this, and then you move on. And because everybody's communicating within the project management tool, you don't have to go through a lengthy process, right? communication is happening. We all kind of know where things are. But this is a conversation a chance to say, okay, how's everybody doing? Where are we stuck? What things do we need to help push through and just make sure that things are staying on track.

So if you're a larger organization, it might just be that the development team gets together, you know, the executive team gets together, the finance team gets together, you know, the program, development team gets together so you might have separate groups and just your executive team. So maybe if you're on the executive team, you're having multiple meetings, whatever. If you're a smaller organization, maybe it's just the entire organization is coming together to chat on Zoom. And then just depending on the culture, the vibe and the feel for your business, maybe you do once a month or every other week, social happy hour hang and people can kind of come together and and just chat about not work stuff and kind of continue to build. That culture that you're trying to build again, depends on the company that you're at depends on what you're trying to achieve, how you've been before this, you know, you can, it's different, but you can absolutely use video conferencing, to continue to build and grow that culture so that when you do all come together, again, at some point, hopefully, and you haven't lost that momentum of those things that you were trying to build. So nothing crazy earth shattering, but I hope that some of these tips did bring to light some ideas of ways that maybe you can use some of the stress For some of your employees and your team and you as well, so that you're still hitting those goals. But maybe being a little bit more efficient and making better use of your time.

I mean, hey, if Twitter can come out and say, you know, remote working has been going so well for us that we're going to allow our employees that want to stay home to work from home indefinitely, I mean, a company like Twitter can do that we can all do that. It just takes some different thinking. It takes some different management style, it takes, you know, really being clear about the communication, you expect the processes that you expect, and making sure that all the team members and employees are putting things out there in the way that you you all expect and I will say, when it comes to onboarding, things like Slack and a project management tool.

The last kind of piece of advice that I'll share with you is you really need to be like military style consistent with it. Like anytime somebody sends you an email note has to go into slack. Or it has to go into our project management tool, whatever it is, everything has to be just drilled in because it will take time for people to adjust. But once everybody gets adjusted and it starts working and the flow starts happening, I promise, I promise you, you will be a very happy camper.

[CONCLUSION] So, just as a final wrap up, communicate through a tool like Slack, WhatsApp, Voxer, whatever works for your company, set up a project management tool. I loveClickUp but there's lots of great options out there. Create a schedule so people know when they can access people and and what, what makes sense for the team as a whole. And then make sure you're touching base with your entire team on a weekly basis so you can see each other's faces and catch up and see how projects are moving along. Okay. If you have any questions, please definitely hit me up. You can find us on Facebook @thefirstclickmarketing. But for now, I hope that you'll subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss out on a single episode and I will see you in the next one

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