Working Hard from Home

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Homeschool Your Brand, Resources

Tools, Tips & Teamwork Part 01

Collaborating remotely with your team can be tough. Spread across four states, our crew was well-versed in working together from a distance long before the social distance challenges of this year. And, while digital teamwork will never replace in-person in our book, with practice, it can be a great way to work.

Here are our four favorite tools (and some tricks) that help us stay productive.

Slack

We love Slack for informal chats, back-and-forth problem solving, video calls, and screen shares. Working from home, Slack has become our temporary digital studio, and it keeps us connected.

 

How we Communicate:

Circa's Slack Channels

Channels: We organize our conversations by client or internal team.

Circa's Slack Channels

Calls: Video chats with screen sharing allow us to collaborate on works in progress.

Circa's Slack Channels

Draw on Screen: We love this feature that allows us to annotate revisions in real time.

Game Changers

Hop on a call. It’s great to have things in writing, but we prefer voice calls for kick-offs, reviews, or important conversations.

Type, risk-free. Giving tough critiques is hard over text because tone gets lost in translation. Our team uses the catchphrase “Risk-Free” (Thanks, Frazer Buntin for your tip) when we’re about to give harsh feedback or share something that could be painful to read.

Asana

We use Asana for project management — timelines, due dates, project and assignment details — and while it’s taken a while to embrace, we’ve finally gotten our Asana game on point.

 

How we Manage Projects:

Asana Project Templates

Templates: We have project templates to outline steps for all of our services—websites, brand launches and refreshes, marketing campaigns, etc.—they all look a little different.

Portfolios: We use portfolios to group active projects and share weekly status reports.

Forms: We’re currently integrating Asana forms into our client on-boarding process, which will make creating briefs and kicking off projects even easier.

Game Changers

Stopwatch FTW: We’ve linked our Asana tasks to Harvest, our time-tracking management system (which we also love, btw), allowing us to manage projects and track time from one interface with the click of a button. This also lets us send detailed budget breakdowns to our clients—game, set, match.

Dropbox

All of our working and final files are saved and shared on Dropbox, a cloud-based server that lots of people are familiar with already. Mastering file organization has taken us a while to perfect.

 

How we KEEP OUR FILES (AND OURSELVES) ORGANIZED:

Dropbox Folder Structure

Get A Number System: We use a job code system to classify root folders by year, client, and project type.

Nest Folders Carefully: Within client folders, we add sub-folders for each unique project.

Track Revisions: We group each round of revisions (R1, R2, etc.) so that it’s easy to see what’s current or revert back to past versions.

Game Changers

Consistency is Key: Our dropbox folders are named to match project boards in Asana and jobs in Harvest, which makes everything a little more intuitive and easier to navigate.

Sync to Your Desktop: Dropbox Preferences lets you choose the folders you access most, and sync them to your computer for easy access through the finder. We suggest syncing just what you need and use most so that your computer doesn’t get bogged down carrying the weight.

Zoom

All of our working and final files are saved and shared on Dropbox, a cloud-based server that lots of people are familiar with already. Mastering file organization has taken us a while to perfect.

 

How We Meet:

Asana Project Templates
Circa's Asana Teams

Weekly Status: We host Monday morning status meetings as a full team, then use breakout rooms to split into smaller groups to divide and conquer initiatives.

Scheduling: We schedule client meetings in Zoom first (not Gmail) and use the Invite feature to add a Zoom link to a Google Calendar event. (The same process works for Outlook, etc.)

Auto-Record: We record kick-off meetings to capture client input on the fly in case our note-taking gets messy.

Game Changers

Location Links: We’ve learned to remove the default link from the ‘Location’ field in our Google Calendar events before we send. Instead of opening your meeting, this pre-populated URL opens in Google maps, and it’s really annoying.

Video Settings: Don’t be shy—turn your video on. No matter how work-from-home we look (#hathairdontcare), keeping webcams on reminds us that we’re talking to other humans.

Free consultations anytime.

We’re happy to advise fellow small business owners to help navigate remote tools, focus downtime on your band, re-think marketing efforts, and jumpstart your website or online store.