Working remotely: tools to simplify online collaboration

19 Mar 2020

The coronavirus measures introduced by the government have disrupted operations for lots of organisations, and we’re all working from home as much as possible. Have you experienced this or are you looking for ways to make working remotely more efficient? We share three tools that are helping us here at meemoo to continue collaborating smoothly from a distance.

The tool that’s essential for staying in touch with colleagues is Slack. The basic version of this chat tool is free, and it allows you to have one-to-one chats or video conversations with colleagues, as well as communicate about certain subjects as a group or in specific teams. One useful feature in Slack (though you have to pay for it): when you make a video call with multiple people, you don’t just see the person who is speaking, but also the other people on the call.

‘We normally used to get together as team archive once a week, but now we have a quick call every morning on Slack. We share details about the current state of play and any tasks on our planning, so everyone’s up to date with each other’s work.’

We can also use the chat feature in Slack (one-to-one or in a group) to quickly share information such as URLs and IDs without any mistakes, and without overloading any inboxes. And if something still isn’t completely clear, we can easily share our screen with others in the conversation. It’s highly recommended for quickly getting on the same wavelength or explaining things efficiently. Read more in the Slack help centre.

A free option for video chats with multiple people is Google Meet. All you need is a Google account, e.g. for Gmail. It’s easy to use, you can share presentations during meetings, and people can even call in by phone if they’re not by a computer. We often use it for meetings with people outside meemoo because you don’t even need a Google account to join a video call.

A third free tool which makes it easier to work together remotely is Google Drive. This is useful for collaborating on text documents, spreadsheets and presentations if you have a Google account. A tip from our colleagues: ‘We mainly use Google Docs, even during conference calls. It’s easy to update notes so everyone can see the arrangements in an online meeting.’ This article was also created using a Google Doc. We can easily add suggestions and comments even though we’re remotely.

Google Drive, Google Meet/Hangouts and Slack are the tools we’re using, but there are others (such as Teams, Zoom) which could help your organisation work remotely just as well. Be sure to look out for what best meets your needs!

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