The Connected WFH Toolkit
March 20, 2020
The trend toward work from home (WFH) cultures has been steadily increasing over the past decade. With technological advances, the ability to be effective remotely has led to 16% of all registered companies exclusively hiring remote work and has seen a 140% increase in remote workers from the beginning of the 2010s.
Now at the beginning of 2020, this trend has been accelerated as COVID-19 forces widespread social distancing and office shutdowns. For us at Connected, who are still committed to building better products for our clients, we feel our experience working across multiple offices—both with clients and across our multidisciplinary project teams—has equipped us with the knowledge needed to help set up an effective WFH model.
In the coming weeks, we will regularly create content that showcases our WFH model and gives you—our community, our partners, and our readers—the basics for being impactful from afar. To start off, we have focussed on the technological WFH toolkit that we use for effective product building.
One of the two most critical tools in any digital worker’s pack is their laptop. It’s the necessary hardware that powers all of the software products that make WFH an enjoyable reality.
The other-non negotiable tool for remote work. We advise that a remote workers wifi is a minimum of 10Mbps.
For internal meetings, we use the video conferencing tool available through Hangouts. In our experience, video conferencing makes the virtual meetings altogether more collaborative and personal, feeding both the quality of the work and the authenticity of the interaction.
For external meetings, large-scale internal meetings, and pair programming we use Zoom. Zoom’s screen-sharing, remote control of others’ screens, and whiteboard capabilities make it an excellent option for project team collaboration. By adding a Zoom link to an invite, our practitioners make it clear that the upcoming meeting will be interactive and often require them to prepare either materials or ideas.
Slack is like an old friend to Connectors. It’s the ubiquitous communication tool for company-wide updates, project team daily chats, quick calls, social messaging, and channels set up around shared interests. It’s our most-used tool and when we’re working remotely it’s the best way to stay truly connected with the people you work with everyday—even if it’s just to hear about how their day is going.
Emails are reserved almost exclusively for clients and for formal office notices—e.g. office closures, holiday parties, leadership announcements, etc. This helps ensure that people don’t feel the need to check their emails all day long, and can instead focus on heads-down, impactful work.
If Connectors are unsure on where to find something, it’s almost certainly on the Drive. For project teams who are working off of critical documents remotely, the Drive saves time and reduces the cognitive load of having to wonder where to find what you need.
Lattice is our much-used feedback, goal-setting, professional development, and manager one-on-one tool. Remote work can easily feel directionless and lonely, as there can be a feeling of having to go it alone. This tool helps Connectors guide each other’s work, celebrate each other’s successes, and keep teams together no matter where they are.
Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating a job well done with a unicorn flying across their screen? It’s one of the small, delightful features (when you tick that a task is complete) that makes Asana an integral and well-loved tool at Connected. The ability to manage tasks by assigning deadlines and individuals to a task gives people a sense of direction and accountability that can often evade them when working remotely. Asana keeps working dynamics alive through a clear interface that makes everyone’s responsibilities clear.
Access to client-specific tools
All of the other tools in this list (except home wifi) are provided to Connectors; however, because we work with clients it is also essential that we understand and have access to the tools that work for them. WFH works best when conversations about the tools you use are had up front, so that meetings, working sessions, and deadlines aren’t missed at the last minute because workers don’t have the right tools downloaded and ready to go.
The widespread need to WFH might be new, but the tools needed to be successful while doing so are already there. At Connected, we feel incredibly grateful that our way of working can be pivoted so that we are still able to deliver impactful products to our clients and can continue to be innovative in a landscape of uncertainty. With our WFH home toolkits full to the brim with inventive software, our practitioners are free to focus on what they do best: Build better products.
Fri Feb 3
Thoughtworker Spotlight: Justine Lachapelle
Justine Lachapelle is a world traveller, and we couldn't be happier her travels have taken her to us (likely her favourite product helped with that). But, whatever she is doing, there is one constant in Justine's life - people. When she's not earning more stamps in her passport, this health enthusiast constantly stays active, from hiking to snowboarding and everything in between. As Head of People in Canada, you can find her working with the People team, constantly ideating, implementing, and supporting new initiatives and programs like remote-first work and work abroad programs for Thoughtworkers across Canada. Did we give you enough information to guess her favourite product? We didn't think so either. But you can click below to find out in this week's Thoughtworker Spotlight.
Fri Jan 20
Thoughtworker Spotlight: Jason Zheng
Who better than Jason Zheng to jazz (or should we say, Jepsen, as in Carly Rae) us up this January? Whether he's delivering product impact to our clients or coaching and mentoring future generations of engineers, his skill, dedication and passion always shine. When he's not busy wearing iconic nature landmarks shirts (or looking for new ones to add to his collections), you'll find Jason cooking up new recipes, gaming with friends, or savouring in the runner's high. Now, can you guess what his favourite product is? Here's a hint: he can spend hours with it and has not parted with them even after discontinuation, buying multiple pairs as backup.