That dreaded word: Coronavirus. We’re sure none of us expected 2020 to take a turn quite like this eh?
Whilst we did a small element of contingency planning a few weeks prior to ‘lockdown’, having to shut down our office and move solely to remote working still ended up being a shock to us all!
Being a close-knit team, the prospect of no longer seeing each other every day was worrying, and even though we often do remote working it’s never been to this extent. To help adjust to this new normal, we’ve come up with some ideas to make sure we all actively stay in contact and enjoy each other’s company.
Plus, we’ve put together a list of some of the digital tools we use to help keep work on track and communication effective. We hope it may come in useful!
Reinventing office life
Working at home can be quite lonely so we’ve implemented a rule that each day must start with a 5 minute video/audio call with a different team member each day – just to say ‘Good morning, how are you?’. Just like you would as you wander into the office and see a colleague each morning.
We’ve installed the app ‘Donut’ to our Slack channel so that we are automatically allocated a different partner each day.
Internal Instant Messaging tools
We’ve always used Slack as our instant messaging tool anyway, but for remote working this is possibly one of our most recommended tools to quickly and easily have conversations with team members.
Group Video Calls and Meetings
Storm has implemented twice weekly team meetings so that we all have the opportunity to see the team as a whole and keep up to date with the general goings on of the business. Whether it’s progress of client projects, team news or important updates and processes.
For this we’ve tried out a few options, including Appear.in (now called Whereby), Google Hangouts and Zoom. Due to the layout, connection and number of participants allowed we’ve found Zoom to be the best option.
You get 40 minutes free with up to 100 participants and an unlimited number of meetings. If 40 minutes is not enough then paid plans start from £11.99 per month.
Now this is a tool we’ve always used anyway – Google Docs for collaborative working and document sharing. Using Google Docs means the team can easily access archived work, share a document easily and/or work on documents together.
Whilst it’s not a ground-breaking suggestion, it comes in very handy for remote working.
Many businesses are worrying about how best to keep everything on track – this was no different for us! We’ve got multiple client projects on the go and we can no longer rely on keeping track of them in person, so a project management tool comes in really handy.
We’ve always had Basecamp to keep up to date on projects, and now it is being relied upon even more! The tool helps you divide work into different projects, assign tasks to relevant people and monitor what has been done or communicated.
We’ve also implemented end of day reports so that everyone can feed in what they’ve worked on or achieved each day.
Keeping team spirit alive
It wouldn’t be Storm if we didn’t try to keep some social element going! We’ve decided to keep our fortnightly team lunches in place (albeit in a virtual capacity) where the team eat lunch and chat together over video call. There’s even been talk of getting pizzas delivered to everyone on occasion… We look forward to seeing if that one can work! 🍕🤞
We’re also implementing themed video calls – our most recent being wear a hat to your meeting day. You’d be surprised on some of the choices made.
And with an impressive number of gamers in the team, there’s also the opportunity to keep the competitive spirit going by playing online games against each other. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get as aggressive as some of our laser tag experiences!
Still being mindful of mental health
Of course, we cannot forget the importance of mental health too. Everyone is having to work differently and life in general has been thrown through a loop. That’s why we are still keeping our monthly mindfulness and meditation sessions in place in a virtual capacity.
Last year we introduced regular Resonance and Resilience sessions with EcoWild and Mindfulness Bath to ensure our staff members receive any help they may need and to practise stress relieving behaviours.
It’s certainly coming in useful during self-isolation as you can imagine.
Supporting the business community
So in answer to the title of this blog post – we’re all doing OK at Storm and we hope you are too.
Though it takes some adjustment to working in a new way, it’s great to see employers looking after their staff and employees supporting each other. Both at Storm and across the business community in general.
We know it’s difficult right now and we’re very fortunate to be able to continue to operate in a business as usual capacity – which we know is not the case for many.
Just know that we’re here to support your business in any way we can. Whether it’s through advice for working remotely, helping you move your business online or even just offering a supportive share of your business on social media to keep things ticking over. We’re here for you!
If you have any questions or need any advice, we’re offering a free no-obligation ‘Ask us anything’ service. Check out our recent blog explaining all.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and let’s get through this together.