Working on it: 2. How to manage your team and workflow online

For myself and other freelancer friends, I know that work is drying up. Jobs and contracts are becoming harder to come by and what were your ‘safe clients’ now seem less concrete. For those of us who are self-employed, the world can seem somewhat turbulent and unsettling at the moment. 

To ease some work-based tension and anxiety creatives, freelancers and small business must stick together. We should dedicate time to sharing tools, tips, apps, advice and worries. Therefore, I’m beginning a new mini-series on TheTemporaryResident entitled “Working On It”. Here I want to share my tips and tricks for all things creative and freelance work-related, feel free to pose me questions which you’d like me to focus on. Working On It: 2 is all about how your team can most effectively conduct meetings and work online.

Communication

Working from home rather than in an office setting is bound to cause some initial disruption and confusion, but communication is key and will help your team through the transition to home-office. In terms of how to communicate first let’s deal with the don’ts: Do not make endless WhatsApp, Facebook or other group chats. The lines between work and home still need to be drawn up for both the mental wellbeing and productivity of the whole team. Instead, install an app such as Slack or use the Google suite to communicate. Emails don’t always cut it when it comes to quick-fire questions and checking that one little detail that needs looking into, so use workspace messaging apps for quick questions but also utilise and schedule in regular video calls for longer queries, collaborative projects or team meetings. For video calls, there are a variety of platforms out there that you can use for free for example, Zoom, Skype and even Discord.

Task management

Keeping on top of everyone’s priorities, tasks and next steps can seem difficult but it doesn’t have to be. Trello, Wunderlist, Microsoft To-do, Asana are just a few of the widely available suite of websites and apps which you can invite your whole team to, for free, to visualise your workflow and priorities.

Sharing

Sharing documents as well as ideas is another logistical difficulty when working remotely. Rather than constantly sending documents backwards and forwards via email use collaborative working documents through Google Drive and transfer files or images via websites such as WeTransfer.

Work Hours

Working from home, is by nature, somewhat more fluid than working in an office. There’s no dress code, work commute, fixed lunchtime etc. To combat this team members should make each other aware of when their working hours will be. Try to agree on perhaps a flexi-time working base where everyone’s core working day hours are the same. Working at the same times as one another will get problems fixed quickly and keep some sense of continuity when everything else seems to be changing and disrupted.

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