In light of the COVID-19 situation, offices across the world are shutting their doors and asking employees to work remotely, often for the first time. But staying up to speed on what your team is doing can be hard when you aren’t with them under one roof. So how do you stay connected when everyone is working remotely? Here are the five tools we’ve been using here at Helm Operations to increase communication and transparency during these times.
1 – Office 365
Most people are familiar with Office 365 applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. But have you heard about Microsoft Teams or SharePoint? These are the latest collaboration tools we’ve adopted at Helm, and so far they’ve been key in allowing us to work remotely.
We use Teams to call into all our meetings, allowing us to video chat, share our screens, or send messages all in one window during the meeting. It has even supported over 50 people on one call during our weekly company stand-up meetings, which we use to inform all staff about any important company announcements and what each department is working on. We also have SharePoint, which we primarily use for secure file storage, sharing, and collaboration on Microsoft documents.
Having these two applications in place has made the transition to working remotely really smooth for us, and they might just be what you need too!
2 – Slack
At Helm, Slack is our go-to messaging application. It is available online or as an app, and allows you to create public or private chat channels for specific topics or teams. It also lets you send direct messages to colleagues, or have video calls for meetings. We have channels for each department, for certain projects, customer support and even just a few fun ones that people can post random, non-work related things into. Having this has been especially useful during these times to help people feel emotionally connected while remaining socially distant. To learn more about all their cool features, head to their website!
3 – Jira
The primary tool used by our development and support teams is Jira, a project management software platform that lets you create new issue tasks, attach screenshots of software issues, prioritize issues for completion, and track them along your workflow. We use Jira to document your feedback, identify and track software issues, and prioritize items, so it’s a vital tool for customer success. While our teams are working remotely, this system increases visibility into what is being worked on and helps everyone know what the priorities are.
4 – Confluence
Another key software program we use is Confluence, which lets you “create, collaborate, and organize your work all in one place”. It’s basically a big open digital space that lets users create, organize, and link content using a structure of spaces and pages that can be worked on at the same time by multiple users. The beauty of Confluence is that it’s designed by the same company as Jira, Atlassian, letting Confluence users view, interact with, and reference Jira issues from a Confluence page.
With its ability to create and organize a series of pages, Confluence acts as our repository for information. From product details to marketing templates and meeting notes, the platform gives us a place to document and share our internal knowledge from department to department. In fact, this blog post is being written, stored, shared and edited within Confluence!
5 – Trello
Last but not least in this list is Trello, a collaboration tool that lets you sort tasks into kanban boards ( a specific type of layout). This lets you easily see what’s being worked on, know who’s working on it, and what the status of the task is. At Helm, several teams use Trello regularly, but it’s been especially helpful while working remotely to know what everyone on the team has on the go. Here’s how Trello describes themselves:
“Imagine a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you and your team. Now imagine that each of those sticky notes has photos, attachments from other data sources like BitBucket or Salesforce, documents, and a place to comment and collaborate with your teammates. Now imagine that you can take that whiteboard anywhere you go on your smartphone, and can access it from any computer through the web. That’s Trello!”
To learn more about this amazing tool, check out this quick video!
Well those are five communication and collaboration tools we have found especially helpful during these times of social distancing. We hope you find value in some of these resources too! Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about how these tools work. And for some tips about keeping your crew safe during this time using Helm CONNECT, check out this blog post. Stay safe, and wash your hands!