Special thanks to John Verbrugge, owner of Transcend Tech for putting this resource on how to use virtual tools to work remote and keep selling! If you need any help setting up your own business to work remote or maximize technology during the Covid crisis and beyond remember to #buyfromsmallbusiness at Transcent Tech.
In the last few years, more and more businesses have talked about moving services to the cloud, setting up remote workers, and connecting in remotely to get to business systems from anywhere. Then, in the last few days, everyone needed to have it right now. So what makes for a good remote work experience? What’s helpful for your business to be able to work from anywhere? I have a few suggestions.
Clearly this is not new, but if you haven’t hosted an online meeting yet, it’s time to learn. You can get a free Zoom account which will allow you unlimited person-to-person calls, and also host short meetings of many participants for up to 40 minutes. If you need more than that, the paid plan is fairly inexpensive. Microsoft also offers online meetings via Teams. As of this writing Teams is free, due to the pandemic.
Why use chat? It’s meant for short messages between staff members, it’s quicker than email, it’s less formal, and very efficient. There’s several good options, but the most popular are Slack and Microsoft Teams. Both are free at the moment for basic usage, and some additional features that add a monthly fee.
If you have several team members all working on a document together, that can be done easily with collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 Online. What does that look like? You could have one staff member writing and another staff member adding pictures and charts to the same document at the same time – and also “see” where others are editing in the document. All within a web browser, on whichever computer or tablet they want to use.
I like online booking a lot. Lots of time gets wasted by trying to figure out when to meet. Thursday at 9:00? No, I have another appointment. How about 10:00? Well, maybe, but I need to leave by 10:30. What does next week look like for you? Right? Tools like Calendly and Book Like a Boss let you set up your schedule so that others can pick a convenient time to meet, and it goes right on your Google or Microsoft calendar (which only you can see). It’s very simple to set parameters such as breaks between appointments, length of appointments, and so on.
I’d also like to point out that there is sense to “staying with the vendor” for many of these tools. If you have Office 365 and are happy with it, then your tools will be Microsoft Teams for chat and meetings, and Office online for collaboration. If you are using G-suite from Google, then your tools will be Google Hangouts for online meetings, Slack or Hangouts for chat, and Google docs for collaboration.
You can use virtual tools to do almost everything that you have previously done in person.
- Book an appointment with a new client
- Chat with an employee to get the client onboarding documents ready
- Have your team collaborate on the documents and presentations
- Have an all-team meetings
- Project manage key deliverables and assign tasks and roles
These are recommended resources to get you started ASAP:
Microsoft Teams (free for a limited time)
Transcend Tech (to help you make sense of all of this)