5 tools to increase your productivity whilst working from home
Wondering if you’re managing remote staff effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic? Car Next Door CEO Will Davies talks tools to help keep your remote team, productive.
Thousands of Australian businesses have been forced to embrace remote working on the hop as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Others, like car sharing platform Car Next Door, have been allowing employees to work from home for years. Car Next Door’s co-founder Will Davies shares the tools and tech that help keep his team productive when they’re working remotely.
Online meetings can be just as effective as real-life ones – but not if participants find it hard to hear or keep dropping out at critical moments. Settling on a reliable tele- and video-conferencing solution can help keep technical glitches at bay whilst working remotely.
For the past two years, Car Next Door has used Zoom, the now ubiquitous cloud-based platform. “We’ve had a crack at other products, but we’ve found it’s the one that works best – you get better connections, it doesn’t drop out as much and it feels more life-like,” Davies says.
"When employees are not able to overhear each other at the office, aligning on goals and coordinating on projects requires good tools. Project management software which allows leaders to assign tasks and track activities makes it easier to see where everyone is at,” Davies explains.
After trialling a series of project management solutions, including Jira, Trello and Basecamp, Car Next Door settled on Asana. “The beauty of a system like this is you can set up a project, work out who’s doing what and see all the tasks lined up that need to be done to complete it.”
Projects run more efficiently if everyone’s on the same page – literally. Web-based document sharing means they can be, regardless of whether team members are sitting side by side or miles apart.
The G Suite by Google enables Car Next Door employees to work in a synchronistic way and share a ‘single source of truth’. “Every document or spread sheet is essentially a web page that everyone can see live,” Davies says. “It means there aren’t multiple versions of documents circulating.”
Employees who want to know something about the business typically ask a colleague first, however, when you work remotely, your colleagues might not be able to be your first port of call. Having an easily accessible repository of information can be more convenient and can help employees find answers faster when they’re working alone at home.
Car Next Door uses Atlassian’s Confluence platform to store company manuals and processes. “If someone is trying to learn to do something, it’s all there and anyone in the team can update it as well,” Davies says.
It’s hard to do a first-class job with second-class tools. Making sure employees have the equipment they need before working remotely may help to increase productivity when they get there.
A subsidised bring your own device (BYOD) scheme enables Car Next Door employees to have the cost of personal laptops reimbursed over four years, and premium headsets are standard issue. The company also mandates the use of a second computer monitor and ergonomic seating in the home office.
“While people may be working remotely, they need to be able to deliver a completely professional service,” Davies says.
Employees working from home can be just as productive as their office-based counterparts, if not more so. Choosing tools and tech that enable your team to communicate and collaborate easily can make remote working a win-win for all sides – your business, team and clients – during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.