Much like the rest of the world, the Martin & Company team has spent most of 2020 working from home. Navigating this new realm of working remotely has had its challenges and growing pains, but certain tools have made the process easier. Here are some of the virtual tools we rely on to stay connected and productive at a distance:
- G Suite
The Martin & Company team works primarily out of G Suite. We use Google for email, Calendar to keep up with meetings and important deadlines, Drive for storage and sharing, and Docs for drafting and collaborating on projects. It’s easy, safe, and accessible to use for our team and a majority of our clients work from G Suite as well.
Basecamp is our web-based project management platform. Basecamp’s core functions include task management, messaging & collaboration, file sharing, scheduling, reporting, and a search function to find everything easily and quickly.
Though we have been using Basecamp for several years, we just recently upgraded to Basecamp 3 this summer. The format is easy to use for both our team and our clients. Features like Ping allow us to send private chat messages and the Automatic Check Ins help us to keep up with lists of things we plan to work on throughout the week and what we have worked on daily, which helps us track workflow and offers a simpler alternative to timekeeping.
Notifications can be customized so that you’re in control of how many you receive and when you get them. We create new projects for each client and organize individual jobs within lists of categories (e.g. PR Hot List, Art Hot List, Client Meeting Notes, etc.) that we can assign accordingly. We can store and keep up with files and documents within those projects and choose what content to share with the client or keep as “our team only”. We also synced our Basecamp calendar to our Google Calendar to better keep track of deadlines in one place.
- Zoom Video Conferencing
We have a lot of meetings. In addition to weekly traffic meetings to manage workflow and brainstorming sessions to plan or develop content, we also consult with our clients weekly or biweekly. Zoom has been a valuable tool for connecting with our clients in various locations and now that we are working from home, it has become our primary meeting point.
Zoom allows us to discuss tasks and ideas and provides a screen share option to walk through steps in more detail when necessary. There are options to record meetings and dial-in if a team member or client needs to phone into the meeting, and it’s a fairly easy, convenient tool that provides the option to meet “face-to-face” so we can feel more connected, even from a distance.
- Free Conference Call
Some of our clients prefer a conference call over a video conference, like Zoom. When we first started working from home this year, Zoom was having issues crashing during peak hours (like Monday morning) with so many students and professionals newly working virtually all at once overloading the system. Free Conference Call provides us with an on-call plan B.
Sign-up is free and only requires an email address and password. Once you sign up for your account, you are provided with a Dial-in Number and Access Code for phone conferencing that you can use right away. There is no need to schedule meetings ahead of time and each audio conference can accommodate 1,000 callers on an unlimited number of free conference calls. They also provide an option for Video Conferencing.
Even before the pandemic, the telecommuting trend has grown significantly. According to a study done by FlexJobs, there was a 159% increase in remote work between 2005 and 2017. Now, as the pandemic has forced more businesses into working from home, technology has become crucial to adapt and survive. For our team, communication tools have been a necessity; helping us to collaborate, conduct meetings, manage projects, and connect with both our clients and each other.
What tools are you using to manage working from home?