Covid-19 has ravaged the world in the past two years, and while not as huge as other consequences of the pandemic, its effect in the non-profit workspace can be quite the elephant. One of these effects is causing team members to sporadically work from home for a week or two, heck even the entire office in some circumstances. Though the CDC has changed its previous stance on quarantine from twelve days to five. Without a proper communication network, just one day with key personnel out and working from home is enough to send any organization into stressed disarray. In this blog, we’ll discuss the tools any organization can use to prevent this when either the entire office or just a few members have to work from home.
Now, this is a tool that offices should be using, even when everyone is in-house. Google calendars are a great way to organize meetings, schedule calls, and just great time management tools in general. One of the features it includes is simplified scheduling for the office. Individuals can insert appointments and other activities into their own calendars. The system also has an option for sending an email notification as a reminder of scheduled events.
Appointments can be shared between various employees, making it easier to schedule group projects or meetings. Individuals can also list when they will be out of the office or if they are working from home, they can list out the times they will be away from their computer. The free software is also great for assigning deadlines for projects or assignments for team members.
Both of these cover the same area, that being communication hubs for your organization. Throw out those old fax machines and stop worrying if someone got an email or if it was sucked into a black hole. Communication hub software is one of the largest revolutions in organized communication since post-it notes. We at PlanStreet already make good use of Microsoft Teams.
The best simplifications for them are professional online chat boards. You can separate an organization’s slack/teams page into specific channels to keep things organized and on topic, along with specific user permissions on whether they can type in the chat or even see the channel at all. You can also host calls and group meetings on these communications hubs. Slack even provides easy integration with Zoom, a video conference provider. They are also very useful in sending documents and other important files between coworkers. The point is that a central communication hub can eliminate many challenges your team deals with day-to-day tasks while promoting productivity.
It is also important to note that while Microsoft teams and Slack do have their small differences, the choice on which one to use largely comes down to preference and individual organization needs. Though it should be said that those two are not the only communication hubs available. One example of an alternative is Discord, as some organizations have made good use of it. Though it is less “professional” than the previous two and is mostly used by organizations for a mix of communication between each other and community management with clients/consumers.
Google Drive is perhaps the most well-known cloud-based storage solution there is, maybe on rivaled by dropbox. Regardless, what exactly is a “cloud-based storage solution” well it can be summarized as a place you can store your files while also making them readily available for others. Google even has the ability to create “shared drives.” You can use shared drives in Google Drive to store, search, and access files with a team. Shared drive files belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay in place so your team can keep sharing information and work anywhere, from any device.
Now how does this help those working from multiple locations? Besides being a God-send, Google Drive allows for collaboration and editing of certain files types from multiple locations and possibly multiple individuals working on a document at the same time (for example this blog was first drafted on a Google Drive). One of the troubles people may have when working from home is not having Microsoft Office installed onto their computers and not being able to purchase it, thankfully Google Drive allows for the free use of their own versions of Office’s software: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.
This free software is also what enables the simultaneous collaboration in files, lowering the amount of committee work by axing the time it takes to upload the file to an email, sending it, downloading the file, then sending back the file with revisions or comments only to repeat this cycle multiple times. As I stated before, Google Drive is a God-send to any organization rather they have to work at home or in the office.
As long as your organization has implemented these three services into their day-to-day routine, your entire team could go remote and not miss a beat. Though if you are not keen on some of these software examples I mentioned, don’t fret as there are always alternatives, it all comes down to preference and individual organization needs. Oh did I mention that PlanStreet Software offers integration into Teams, Google Calendars, Google Drive and so much more to make your day-to-day tasks simpler leading to more productive days? Want to learn more about our integration, just visit our integration page.