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Best Practices For Leveraging Technology When Working Remote

By Anne Gherini

Many consider the future of work to be remote and more companies are transitioning to fully distributed workplaces.  Over the past decade, remote work has quickly pervaded companies of all shapes and sizes. Research by Dell found that 66% of all US employees work remotely at some time and 52% work remotely at least once a week.

Despite the ubiquity of remote work, the evidence is far from conclusive. Less than half (35%) of all employees believe they are more productive when working outside of the office and 28% admit to accomplishing more when working remotely. Part of this has to do with eliminating the dreaded commute and part revolves around how distracting the open space office plan can be. 

In addition to the growing number of distributed teams, in 2020 concerns of Coronavirus (COVID-19) mount and more companies are pressure testing their work from home policies. What many have found is that there are incredible advantages to having the capability to work from anywhere, yet the right tools can make or break success. 

 

Technology as a Centerpiece of Remote Work 

Technology has made it easier than ever to stay in sync from a distance, but has it made work more effective? It all depends on how the various technologies are used. Being remote instantly creates massive communication silos, but an investment in the right technologies can knock them all down. The trick is how you remove silos and simultaneously not drown with the firehose of digital communication.

Throughout my career I’ve talked to hundreds of industry experts to uncover the top tricks for remote work cultures, including leveraging Slack, Zoom, and Affinity (my personal favorite). What is paramount is that your organization should set up rules and expectations for leveraging these platforms. Adoption requires adaptation, with a little upfront knowledge will ensure your team is empowered to stay connected. 

 
Slack  

Many consider Slack to be synonymous with remote work. Slack's big advantage is its capacity to open the lines of communication amongst team members no matter where they are. It's a quick and easy solution to connect and communicate without the formality of email and with more structure than basic chat. With various channels, team members can opt into different groups and be tagged when their response or attention is needed. 

Slack power users find these tips helpful to make the most of your communication:

  • Set up channels for your most important projects, various teams, and departments (if different from teams). 
  • Reply to threads instead of the entire channel. When you go fully remote, Slack is used more and Channels can have numerous conversations happening at once. Replying to a Thread keeps conversations organized. 
  • Don’t pick up the phone, instead make calls without leaving Slack. This is crucial as sometimes it is hard to fully encapsulate context in messages. You can integrate with Zoom to make this easier. 
 
Zoom 

As remote work has escalated, so too has video conferencing. 87% more people opt for video conferencing than two years ago. For many companies, Zoom is the de-facto standard for video calls. Just like any other technology tool, Zoom must be used appropriately to spur benefits. 

When used effectively, Zoom can move mountains in enhancing productivity.  75% of individuals using video conferencing report experiencing increased productivity and an enhanced work-life balance. 

Here are some pro-tips to stay sane and connected:

  • For small group meetings and 1-1s make sure your camera is on. No matter how well-intentioned, the temptation to multitask in a meeting can be overwhelming. When video is enabled, 82% of users are less likely to multitask as compared to just audio. 
  • When you are not talking in a group meeting, mute yourself. This falls into the EQ category. Always be aware of how others experience your presence. No one needs to hear you typing or eating. 
  •  Recording important meetings can be a huge advantage and it is easy to do in Zoom. Just type ⌘ Cmd+⇧ Shift+R (PC: Alt+R) to start recording any meeting.
  • Share your screen to walk through projects or decks so everyone is on the same page. Just make sure everything else on your computer won’t cause embarrassment. Type type ⌘ Cmd+⇧ Shift+S (PC: Alt+Shift+S) to start sharing. 
  • Don’t stress about a messy bed in the background or the bags under your eyes. Add a fun background and select touch up my appearance in settings so you get a nice, often needed glamour glow. 
 
Affinity 

We’ve built Affinity to empower teams from no matter where they work. 

Here are some of our top tips to inspire effective distributed working arrangements: 
  • Build a Smart List that is visible to your entire team. A Deal Flow list can ensure that all your team members—regardless of where they are located—have fingertip access to the status of your most important relationships, as well as companies your team has passed on. 
  • Leverage Saved Views to ensure your list configuration (which can be powered by 900,000 combinations of list filters) can be saved. You also can choose to send or share multiple saved lists. 
  • Always add Notes to a profile after a meeting so you aren’t left scratching your head about the context of the meeting or relationship down the road. Tag team members in notes so they are alerted about what you wrote. 
  • Review profiles of people or companies before you reach out to someone or attend a meeting to get crystal clear on the point of contact and who on your team has pre-existing relationships and show up smarter.
  • Build status triggers by integrating Affinity with Slack so you always know the latest changes on your biggest opportunities.  

Using Affinity with a distributed team is like having an Automagic CRM.  You just know where conversations, deals, meetings, and documents are at without needing to ask. - Dylan Boyd, Director at R/GA Ventures.

Admins have a lot of control in keeping list data clean and building according to industry best practices. Our CSM team is always here to help if you need more guidance.

Check out one of our weekly webinars to get started or buildout more complicated workflows. If you need us to customize it for you, ask your CSM or our support team about our enterprise packaging. We will build everything for you and just give you the keys to drive!

The future of work is quickly becoming remote. While it’s exciting to adopt new technologies to empower remote work, it’s also important to keep cybersecurity top-of-mind. Opt for tools like Affinity that are SOC 2-certified and GDPR compliant and prioritize your team’s security. 

Have questions? Feel free to ping us at support@affinity.co or sales@affinity.co.

We are here to help!
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