Every day that we wake up to news about new confirmed cases means that we have to stay at home longer.
We cannot predict with accuracy when this Covid-19 crisis will be over.
We are forced to adopt the “wait and see” attitude. The anxiety in business owners and their staff members is unimaginable.
However, one thing is clear. We will never do business as we did before Covid-19. Everything will be different.
In fact, you do not want to take the risk of being caught unawareness again. If your team is working is remotely, here are some tools that will make it easy.
The tools are working for us as app developers in Kenya and will work for your team as well.
Collaboration is the first aspect of remote working that every employer must consider. Whether you are working with teams or just a few individuals, you need constant updates.
In the current situation, remote working is not optional. However, it will be optional in the future.
Zoom helps virtual teams to hold meetings online as you would in an office setting. Video conferencing is the next best thing after physical meetings.
You can see the responses and reactions of all team members in real-time on your screen.
One advantage of Zoom is that it allows members to join a meeting via audio set up only. Hence, for quick meetings or slow connections, you do not need to see everyone’s face.
Slack has worked for us for years even before we allowed our developers to work remotely.
The chat platform allows users to share files and collaborate where a meeting is unnecessary.
In fact, if you use Slack well, you will eliminate the need for several video conferences every week.
The platform allows chats between individuals through direct messages and teams through channels.
You can also pull a thread from a conversation in a channel to avoid a mix-up of topics.
As app developers in Kenya, we work on many projects simultaneously. Slack enables our developers to follow up on the progress of each project.
Nothing lags behind because the progress of each task is visible to all members at all times.
3. Google Drive, Docs and Sheets
Google offers these three services separately. However, we will discuss them together because they serve the same purpose for virtual teams.
If you use the free version of Slack, you will soon run out of storage space.
Google Drive offers free storage space for both individuals and team members to store and share files.
Instead of sending large attachments, a team member will save the file in a location that every other member can access remotely via a link.
Google Sheets comes in handy when virtual teams are compiling reports. It saves the time and effort needed to compile individual reports into one.
Any member with access to a Sheet can edit it.
Remote workers need the same convenience of saving large files. Cloud storage saves users from overloading their devices’ memory.
InVision is a great tool for design companies like Muva. However, your virtual teams will still need it even if you are not a design company.
Occasionally, you will need to design presentations for your clients or for conferences.
Your team might also need to redesign your website or app. Marketing teams use it to design e-flyers.
The collaborative tool helps a design team to move quickly from the concept stage to the final design.
Virtual teams can create and share prototypes that both team members and clients can view.
Prototypes show how the final product will function before developing. Once a team agrees on a prototype, the design and development processes move fast.
The platform allows messaging for team members to share ideas and give feedback on changes to the design.
Project managers find this tool useful when managing different phases of projects. It is easy to hand over a project from one team to another across developmental stages.
Mobile app developers in Kenya, media houses, and other technology companies use the tool extensively.
Try it for any design or development project in your business.
Here is another tool for virtual developers and designers. We always end up with amazing software because our team uses this tool efficiently.
We are working remotely effectively but even in the office setting, most of the collaboration among developers happens on GitHub.
It enables developers to share and review codes until we come up with quality codes.
Github is also great for individual developers to share their work with potential employers.
Remote workers can store their personal projects here.
6. Google Calendar
You may not think that you need a calendar for virtual meetings but you do. It is easy to call a few people for a meeting, whether online or in a room.
However, as your team grows, everyone needs to set reminders on Google Calendar.
The tool is necessary for managers overseeing several teams and multiple projects. You easily lose track of meetings.
Remote workers often commit to different projects simultaneously. Even with the best virtual meeting tools, meetings will only run efficiently when all members log in on time.
Google Calendar works for us because of the numerous meetings we set with clients.
We have several meetings in a day with different clients. It is impossible to prepare and show up for each meeting without such a tool as Google Calendar.
The advantage is that it also sends reminders to clients of the organised meetings.
This may come as a surprise because WhatsApp is mostly used as a social platform. Businesses also use it to advertise products or reach out to their customers.
However, in this era of remote working, WhatsApp is proving an effective collaborative tool.
A virtual team may not share work-related messages on the platform because of data privacy issues. However, it is a great platform for building relationships away from work-related conversations.
Social media replaces the conversations that teammates share over tea and lunch breaks at the office. It eliminates the sense of isolation and loneliness that comes with remote working.
Encourage your employees to hold healthy discussions here that do not fit the work-related tools outlined above.
Remote working is now a reality and as app developers in Kenya, we have taken the challenge to explore it. The effectiveness of virtual teams largely depends on the tools available to a team and individuals. Pick the right tools from this list that will best fit the flow of work in your business. The advantage of these tools is that you can still use them in a physical office setting to improve collaboration and efficiency.