Teamwork During a Pandemic
With a majority of our team working from home, we are facing the same separation challenges that a lot of businesses are experiencing right now.
• face-to-face “in-person” meetings
• hands-on instruction
• impromptu collaboration
• crowded rooms
• team lunches
• casual conversations
All the things that make working at the office efficient, friendly, and a great place to “get ‘er done.”
Technology to the rescue.
Not sure how we would have survived 15-20 years ago, but today we’ve got some great apps to help us communicate, track projects, and keep sane during this time of “isolation.”
Great apps with a few challenges
The following are apps that wisnet utilizes on a daily basis to keep team members united and working efficiently while separated.
You’d think email would be on the top of the list, but actually that is not how the team is most efficient communicating with each other. Email is mostly reserved for customer interaction.
Slack, however, is a great tool for chatting with one another in groups or individually. We set up groups based on client projects, idea collaboration, quality control, troubleshooting, internal tasks and more. Notices for new messages pop up on the screen so we can answer nearly as quickly as in person. We can also call each other directly from the Slack app, which is very convenient when typing lots of details is too time-consuming. Maybe the best thing about it; you can send files to each other. No need to bring up email or launch another app. Slack also helps spread a little fun and humor as team members share fun websites or YouTube links as well as creative emojis and hilarious giphys.
Challenge: Remembering to mark ourselves “out” when we are away from our desk.
OnSip is our VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone app. Team members are able to call out from the wisnet line using our computers. We can also call each other just like dialing an extension in the office. We can hold, mute, and transfer calls the same as a regular phone system.
Challenge: Remembering to set our status correctly – available or unavailable. Slack comes in handy to send a quick note, but sometimes we forget to mark ourselves “out” in that app as well.
Jira (from Atlassian)
Considered the #1 software development tool, wisnet’s developers utilize this app to create a better workflow when coding. With Jira, we can connect our code repositories directly to the Jira cards and create branches directly from the cards. (“Cards” are added to project “boards” much like a post-it note, but much more useful, as they can be sorted, replied to and re-categorized.) This helps make both programming and tracking more efficient. In the words of one of our developers, “super duper handy.”
BitBucket (from Atlassian)
Bitbucket offers Git code management and provides a place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test, and deploy.
Trello (from Atlassian)
Trello is a popular online project management tool. Projects or tasks that require a lot of interaction between team members or departments use Trello to track specific questions, tasks and requests. Participating members are notified via email of updates. All communication is easily tracked in Trello with the ability to customize how all cards are sorted and organized.
Most businesses are now familiar with DropBox, the app that let’s you share files with others. DropBox has come a long way over the years. The ability to better organize your files and folders, share folders with clients, and receive automatic update notices have made this app an indispensable tool.
Challenge: Large batches of files can take a long time to upload or download depending on your Internet connection speed.
Google Meeting / Zoom
This is where we meet-up 2-3 times per week as an entire group summarizing our projects, sharing news, and enjoying some virtual face-to-face time.
Challenge: Sometimes our Internet connection can’t keep up with the stream, resulting in a few words that get cut out.
We probably don’t use this app more than before the pandemic, but it’s definitely on our list of “must have” apps. Go-to-Meeting allows us to share our screen with clients. It’s the ideal format for showing clients how to use WordPress or running thru a quick tutorial.
Challenge: The client needs to download and install Go-to-Meeting on their computer to connect with our screen. Sometimes businesses have restrictions on downloading software.
Totally optional is the use of meditation apps, which can help relieve stress. Apps like Calm, Headspace, Balance and Thinkwell Livewell are just a few on the web that help you calm both your physical and mental self. Most of these apps have free trials or free versions with limited content.
Challenge: Making a habit of using the app every day, or finding time to use it at all.
Everyone is different when it comes to what helps them stay focused whether they are at the office or working from home. I see a lot of headphones or earplugs at the office, so I’m assuming music is helping some team members. Those of us with children at home have additional challenges. Flexibility and organization is the answer. If you are having trouble concentrating, the answer may be as simple as getting up to get a drink of water or saying “hello” to your pet for a minute or two. And remember, even when you are working from home, you need to get up and walk around once in a while.
Confidence and trust goes a long way
I feel wisnet’s optimism stems from the confidence and trust in our fellow team members. We have learned to trust that we are there for each other. If we have a question or need help, we are just a tap of a key away. And if we’re feeling lonely or down, there’s always that great cat video to cheer us up.