When working remotely you don't have the same social interaction with your colleagues that you get in the office, there's no office banter, no catching up at the coffee machine, no just getting up off your seat and going to talk to someone or to show them something you're working on. It's not as easy to get help or an opinion or to have a quick brainstorm with a colleague. However, this still needs to happen as much as possible to keep the company going and for people to stay sane!
There are many online services that can help with this, on a social level there is
- House Party to name but a few
and on a professional level there is
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Jabber
- GoToMeeting and many more.
During working hours, you will quite often need to talk to your colleagues, emails are ok but sometimes they can be slow to get a response. The person you are sending it to might have popped out and missed it when they came back, they might not have multiple screens, so their email is hidden behind other windows. If they are in a meeting, they could find it harder to send an email whereas if you’re using a communication platform such as Microsoft Teams they could send a quick message.
Having multiple screens helps, you can have your email and the communication platform open all the time on one screen so you don’t miss any emails and chats and you can respond quickly. You can chat with an individual or set up a group chat with the team and share your screen if you have something you need to demonstrate or a presentation to do. You will generally get a quicker response using a system like this than sending an email.
A lot of companies will have daily meetings for project updates, these are usually quick stand up meetings (to make the meeting quick) and away from everyone’s desks. Each member will say what they achieved the day before, what they hope to achieve that day and if they need help to get a task complete. However, working remotely you can't do that, that's where video conferencing come into its own, each member can join a meeting and using their camera and mic they can still see each other. It’s important to be able to see the people you are talking to, you can see their reactions, their body language, and it’s great to talk to a friendly face and most of all at this strange time we are living in, it reminds you there is life outside your home office!
There are a lot of services that offer video conferencing, chat boards and screensharing, so it’s a case of reviewing a few and choosing the one that works best for you and your company. Each service will be on a subscription model so you will need to choose the one that fits your budget.