Tools For Working Remotely - Vine Street Digital

Tools for Working Remotely

Tools for Working Remotely

Vine Street Digital operates a little differently from most businesses. Most businesses will have a physical office location and operate in standard business hours. Office employees are usually expected to commute in each day, be there from 8.30am to 5pm, and then head home again to rinse and repeat. Unlike most businesses, Vine Street Digital is entirely remote. Not only is there no office, but there’s also no set working hours. That’s right – every employee chooses when and where they work.

Some people find this pretty shocking. I often get asked how we make it work and how we survive without the standard office logistics that most agencies have. Well there’s a lot of reasons why this works well and, we would argue, why it’s better than a standard office. Some of it comes down to the performance benchmarks we put in place, how the team is managed, and the incentives for doing a good job. But a large part of making it work is thinking logistically and operating effectively. We use tools to help us communicate, be productive and be efficient in our work.

There are lots of tools out there that you can use to work remotely. We thought we’d share just a few of our favourites in the hope that they can help you!

 

Lastpass – Password Management & Security

Lastpass is a password management tool that allows you to keep track of business logins, client logins and other sensitive information. Each user is set up with a profile and you can choose who has permissions to view what information. The Lastpass chrome extension also keeps this information handy to login as you visit different sites – you never need to write down the password or keep it in your head.

Lastpass Tools For Working Remotely

Lastpass

You also have the option of being able to prevent users from seeing what the password is while still giving them the ability to use it. Why is this important? It keeps that information secure so they can’t share it outside the organisation. This is key to protect our clients’ login information while still allowing us to do our job.

Price

Lastpass Enterprise: $48USD per user per year
Free & Premium versions available for personal or 1 user.

Why We Love It

No one ever finds themselves with a task where they can’t access what they need to complete it. We also love the high level security this provides us and the ability to share certain passwords with specific people within Vine Street Digital.

Why Our Clients Love It

This provides more security for their sensitive information than there would be in an office environment. No written down passwords, word docs or spreadsheets that can be easily hacked.

 

Calendly – Scheduling Tool

Calendly is a scheduling tool that solves that back and forth “when are you free?”, “what works for you?” conversation that we’ve all had before. Calendly syncs with all the major calendars (including Google Calendar, which is what we use) and can show someone when you’re available for a meeting. They can select a timeslot that works for them, book in a meeting (including their details and how they want to be contacted), and just like that, you’ve got something locked in!

Calendly Tools For Working Remotely

Calendly

Calendly also allows you to make certain rules when it comes to meetings. It asks you how long you need between a meeting ending and a new one starting to make sure your schedule isn’t too tight. You can also block out certain hours on an ongoing basis, for example, you might not want to have any meetings at 7pm because that’s dinner time! The ability to sync multiple calendars is great because Calendly includes my work calendar and my personal calendar when it looks for the times I’m available. This means you no longer have to cancel social events or doctors appointments to chat with clients!

Price

Basic: Free
Premium (what we use): $8 USD per user per month

Why We Love It

One of the best features about this is that all your clients will see your availability options in their own timezone. Trying to schedule a meeting across timezones is tricky, but with Calendly they can simply select what works for them based on where they are at the time.

Why Our Clients Love It

Other than being able to ditch the “when’s good for you?” emails that go round and round, clients love Calendly because they can schedule time with us when they need it. Obviously they’re welcome to pick up the phone for an impromptu chat, but we find most clients like to schedule in advance. When meetings are scheduled this way, they get 100% of our focus, we can prepare in advance for the meeting, and have a proper agenda so we don’t waste any time.

 

Skype – Communication

Sometimes the most tried and true methods really are the best. Skype is a program that allows you to call and message people across the world using data or wifi. It works just as well on a desktop as it does on a mobile device (depending on internet/data network availability) and also has options for video, voice, screen sharing, and file transfers.

We use a few different methods to communicate with clients; Skype, Google Hangouts, TeamViewer & more. However, when it comes to communicating with each other, Skype is our go-to.

Skype Tools For Working Remotely

Skype

Price

We all use free accounts, but there are premium versions for business.

Why We Love It

We use Skype mostly for talking to each other. We love the options for file sharing and screen sharing as we do a lot of training and troubleshooting this way. You’re also able to see clearly who is online at the moment so you can reach out to someone if you need help. Another great feature is the option to create different conversations – we have an ongoing thread for the whole team, for our social media pics and for other topics too.

Why Our Clients Love It

We find that a lot of clients like using Skype – it’s a very common communication tool in a lot of regions. While we might use it for some catch ups with our clients, the biggest benefits they get are indirect. ‘Round the clock communication between team members, the ability to troubleshoot and ask for help and most importantly screenshare and send files securely are all beneficial to clients. What they see on their end as a result of this is fast responses, detailed answers to their questions and more advanced insights into their account as we often have multiple people checking and quality assuring campaigns.

Wrapping Up

We’ve only shown you three of our favourite tools for working remotely, but it doesn’t end here! These three tools have been incredibly useful to us in our work, for communication between our staff as well as our clients. We’ve talked about them from a remote working point of view, but they could be incorporated into a busy office and even your personal life as well. Give them a try and see what works for you!

Contact us if you have any questions!

Written by Gemma Renton