How we're using tech to help us with remote working
One of the biggest challenges all businesses face right now is how to continue business operations while having to stay away from a designated office space. Some businesses can do this more easily than others, but the challenge itself is shared by many.
At Mettle, we’ve always encouraged a certain level of flexible and remote working. This is done to promote the importance of the personal wellbeing of our team and with the understanding that a certain level of flexibility is required when life gets in the way.
We’ve had a long time to discover vulnerabilities in our remote working practices, and address them by introducing certain processes and technology.
As believers in the many benefits of scrum methodology, our teams have a certain cadence of “ceremonies”, where in our small teams we get together to talk about what we’re working on, where we are blocked and what we can do to help each other out.
Moving to a 100% remote working environment, these ceremonies have become more critical than ever, as it helps us to remember that we’re not alone. We have team members and wonderful colleagues who still strive for a common goal even if we don’t share the same space.
Technology has always been there to help us. Older, more traditional working practices helped us to transition to a remote working context, and there are a few tools that really help us collaborate and work together effectively.
I won’t go into detail of how we ship code and design, nor how we do product and project management, but I’ll focus on the more human side of things – how we feel like we’re part of a team even while we’re alone in our homes.
First off, we’re big Slack users. Slack is not only a quick and effective communication tool but it’s also fantastic at creating some lighthearted fun to keep us smiling and entertained during the day. I’ve noticed our use of Slack changing over the last few days, with an infinite amount of niche-interest channels surfacing.
Slack calling is an interesting feature that we never used in the past but use frequently now. Interestingly, when we shared an office, we never saw a need to call one another on the phone, but now, this is a feature that’s really coming in handy.
When it comes to video and conference calls, we use both Google Hangouts and Zoom. Google tends to be our go-to for small team meetings and Zoom seems to work better for wider-team meetings in large forums. Both are absolutely fantastic tools, and we’re really emphasising the importance now on people using their cameras as well as meetings starting on time (which in the “previous world”, they rarely did!).
For document collaboration and sharing, we’ve always used G-Suite by Google, which allows us to view, edit and collaborate in real time. As we become more physically distant from one another, we need to be mindful that sharing our work and asking for feedback is more important than ever. With these tools, we can maintain ‘business as usual’ as much as we possibly can.
Alternative meeting tools
We’re also experimenting with an array of different tools to help us run meetings and workshops more effectively, such as Parabol for running remote retrospectives, Slido for doing remote Q&As/ polls, and a host of others.
Although these may feel like uncertain times, we’ll adapt and get through this period. We’re lucky to live in a world where technology really has the ability to help us run our businesses, collaborate with others and generally stay sane no matter what.
At Mettle, we’re here to help our customers as much as we possibly can during these times, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team with any questions, thoughts or concerns you might have. The quickest way to reach us is through our in-app chat.
Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.