As we all adjust to life in lockdown, many of us are working from home for the first time. In this blog we’re going to talk through some of our favourite apps for getting the most from your working day when you’re at home!
Thankfully, we were already quite well set up for working remotely at ADPR and it was something we’d all done on occasion. But never have we all been working from home at the same time with the office shut, until now!
So what have we learnt as we start the fourth week of remotely operating ADPR? Well to start with, it was an easy-ish transition on the tech front because we all had laptops, a VPN and cloud based document storage. This made life a whole lot easier!
We are loving using Micrsoft Teams and we’d really recommend it to any business. It was installed on our computers prior to Covid-19 but was not something we used a lot. However, we’ve quickly taken to integrating it into our daily lives and it has helped cut down our internal email traffic considerably too. We’re using it for communicating effectively internally, with Teams set up per client and specific Channels for each element within our client campaigns. We’ve then integrated the Planner app tool, which makes scheduling and keeping on top of tasks really easy. We’re using Teams’ video conferencing facility to host our all our meetings both internally and externally (you don’t need to be using Teams to be able to access a Teams video call).
Zoom video conferencing is also something we’re using more of now too, particularly for external meetings, it’s just so versatile! We’ve used it so far to conduct an all-day ideation session with a marketing partner, to host an inter-agency quiz night with our buddies at The Idea Bureau and to livestream a Digital Taunton expert Q&A panel discussion via YouTube! Zoom seems to be the go-to if you are keen to host any webinars or online training sessions, so well worth checking out if that’s something you want to start doing. The free version would work well for most businesses, its biggest drawback is that calls can only last 40 minutes but surely that’s just an incentive to run more effective meetings?!
As a communications agency, tracking time is really important. We were already using Harvest and would recommend it, it’s intuitive to use and you can easily track time and invoice for your services. If you are new to time tracking, it helps ensure you are charging accurately and getting paid for the right amount of time spent on projects. It also improves project planning by tracking how long tasks actually take to complete. Our top tip for maximising accuracy is to track time using the timer button!
So that’s the main apps we’re using across the board to help us operate remotely. Additionally, Todoist has been adopted by some team members. It’s a top-rated productivity app that helps people organise all elements of their life – work and personal – in one place. It keeps track of all your tasks and projects, and syncs across all your devices, whilst integrating with all your favourite apps, making life really simple!
If you are a Mac user and you are finding working from home is making you less productive than when you are in the office, it might be worth checking out Serene. It’s a free app that can help you be more productive, the thinking behind it is evidenced with scientific studies so worth giving it a try! Serene asks you to set a single daily goal and it will remind you to stay focused on achieving that throughout the day. Great for wondering minds suffering from multiple distractions, this app really helps you focus on getting that one big task completed. The second part of the app is that it blocks you from accessing distracting websites and apps during “work” sessions. Research has found that once you’ve been distracted, it takes the average person over 23 minutes to get back on track, so just think of the time those email and app notifications are sucking up!
In addition to maximising productivity when we’re working from home, we’re also all trying to ensure we retain a healthy work life balance. Something that’s more challenging when you’re commute now consists of just walking to your spare bedroom! I think we can all relate to the importance of being able to switch off after a long day and the app Daywise (only available on Android) can help. It lets you set the schedule for when you can receive notifications on your phone. For example, you could turn off receiving any work notifications received after 6pm and it keeps them off your phone until you start work again the next day.
If you’d like to chat about any element of managing your communications around Covid-19, please feel free to reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re offering free consultancy to any business affected, you can read more on that here.