Moreover, Gmail supports plugins! We have integrated HubSpot and it has been from a tremendous help. HubSpot CRM connects to Gmail to help you uncover more leads in less time, connect with those leads, and close deals faster while managing all your contacts in one central database. More on the features of the platform later.
1.4. Google calendar and iCal
We mentioned Google Calendar as one of the core components of G Suite in the previous point, but this particular app is so crucial for us, it deserves a separate paragraph.
You can’t work if you don’t plan and don’t follow your schedule. This is why Calendar is irreplaceable. It lets team members plan, schedule, and organize themselves, and it’s tightly connected to the other components of G Suite, including Gmail and Google Drive.
As a G Suite administrator, you can make settings in your Google Admin console to specify how users can share their primary calendar inside and outside your domain.
One of the greatest advantages is that you can share your calendar and all employees can see your schedule and vice versa. This comes particularly handy when you need to set up an appointment for a call with colleagues at a suitable for everyone time. Calendar can suggest spots in the day or week when everyone involved is free — assuming you and your co-workers have been correctly marking up your other engagements in your calendars. You can add (Gmail) accounts as an invitee and they will see the event in their calendar once they confirm attendance. In other words — calendar sync made so easy!
Because Google Calendar integrates with the rest of G Suite — it adds events automatically from your Gmail inbox by recognizing dates and times mentioned in messages. Attachments from Google Drive can be added to any of your events with just a couple of clicks as well!
Moreover, the Google calendar can be synced with iCal.
2.1. Working in a cloud
There are many alternatives to Google drive, 5 of which are listed here, but if you are a G Suite user, Drive is your best friend! Using cloud storage for docs makes it easy to access them from everywhere.
Undoubtedly, the greatest advantage of Google Drive is the possibility of storing a wide range of types of files. You can either upload docs, tables, images, PDFs, etc or you can easily create and share folders and documents.
We are using Drive for our company documents and for us the best part is that many accounts can edit and suggest edits in one and the same doc simultaneously, of course, if granted such rights. This collaboration feature is possible for 50 people at a time! You can also view a revision history via File > Version History > See Version History.
To be part of the collaboration, the document has to be shared. The limit is 200 people, but if more than 50 collaborators try to edit a document, the late-comers can only view the changes.
When you share company documents with a third party, you can choose what access you grant them — for example, you give “view-only” if you don’t want them to make changes, or “can edit” if you need to work together on a doc. Or you can share the document with one of these three options:
Note: Public documents are made available to search engines. Keep in mind that Google happens to own one of those.
Even though the search engine within Drive is well developed we strongly advise you to organize your documents in folders by a department. Grant access to all your employees to the general folder of your company, so everyone can access all docs when needed. Organizing and managing folders is important. You can main folders and sub-folders, you can color code the folders (visible only for your account) and you can arrange folders by various criteria — from date, to name, to last opened.
2.2. Mapping your work with Basecamp
This platform is the ultimate project management tool for us. If you are not familiar with it, here is a screenshot from my dashboard, just to get the idea.
So… What do we do with Basecamp?
We track progress, assign tasks, make to-do lists, share weekly goals, chat (via Campfire) and more!
When you work collaboratively on a particular project and team members vary from project to project this is what you need. Rather than spending time for dividing different tasks according to the specific teams that will contribute, you can organize your projects to reflect how different departments will work together on a segment of the project. In other words, you plan and track projects, not teams. This not only gives you a clearer understanding of where a project is at right now, but it also encourages communication and collaboration amongst team members who might not always work together.
Here is an example of how it works.
You create a Project, say, for a Global Accelerator for Blockchain Startups, called Starfleet. Then you add in the people who will work on this project via Invite some people. You can then start creating the To-dos. The cool part is that you can make different Lists and every list to be assigned to a certain team of people. In our case, these are Investment, Marketing, and Logistic Teams. Then add tasks for each List (read Team)
In our case, these are Investment, Marketing, and Logistic Teams. Then add tasks for each List (read Team). When you create a new task for your to-do list you see the following options:
The information is given here is everything a project manager needs to track the progress. You can appoint ownership of a task, you can set a deadline and receive notifications once done.
If you want to explore further the brilliant features of Basecamp, read this article from their help page.
2.3. CRM and marketing tool all in one place — Hubspot
One of our favorite tools out there is Hubspot, not only because they have an epic partnership program but also because they offer everything you need to focus on your client.
We have already mentioned that we use a Hubspot extension with Gmail. But this is far from all that there is to it. The platform can help you with:
- Maintain a centralized database across your sales organization
- Manage all communication and interactions with prospects
- Automate the data entry
- Be reminded to follow up with prospects
- Segment customers and create sales reports
We are strongly advising you to take a look and allow Hubspot to be of your service and help you organize your loads of remote work.
HubSpot simplifies inbound data management, contact details, and marketing significantly by putting all the tools you’ll need in one place. HubSpot’s solution is simple and it takes care of everything including blogging, leads’ nurturing right down to analytics.
3.1. Incentivizing proactive minds
Whether you are a work from home (WFH) veteran or a new to it, you will feel highly motivated to do your best if you are incentivized to be proactive.
As companies rolled out mandatory or voluntarily corporate work-from-home policies amid the spread of Covid-19, we believe that the best you can do is to motivate your employees and keep their high spirits.
Along this line of thinking, the best way to encourage employees to be more proactive is to give them space to act and freedom to unleash their creativity and potential. Listen to their ideas, with ears of the heart, and then follow up with appropriate action. Communication is the key!
Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is clear communication with your colleagues.
3.2. Rethink your way of interaction
That’s a lot of disruption for the technology industry and for most industries. Traditional professions like teaching that are adjusting. Teachers are making online courses. Children are using virtual classrooms. Museums are offering virtual tours. Theaters are broadcasting plays live. Even big conferences like Consensus announced that they will go virtual due to coronavirus.
All kinds of meetings can be made online. For this, we suggest you try Zoom.
The platform is easy to use by many participants. There is also an option to record the meeting and to chat during the call. Another very good feature is that you can zoom in and out a particular person — which is very useful in presentations, as it supports the function “screen share”. Another option to re-structure your meetings is with Jitsi.
Think of a way how to move the action from the quarantined world to the online space, where access is free and easy.
3.3. WFH — listing the advantages
There are also some timeless WFH tips to call upon. For example, just because you can lounge around in your pj’s doesn’t mean you actually should. Get up as early as you always do, take a shower and get dressed. Act like you are really going to work. Stay disciplined and productive. You can train your mind to stay productive with different techniques like
- The Pomodoro Technique, which is basically splitting your tasks into chunks of 25min,
- The Pareto Principle, also known as 80/20 rule,
- Eat the Frog, meaning you should start with the toughest task first.
Working remotely is actually an opportunity for you to be more productive and successful at work. You spend no time stuck in traffic, thus the stress of the daily commute is eliminated.
What is best about working remotely? You can spend more time in the peacefulness of your own home with your pet, if you have one.
And lastly, keep in mind that you should keep your immune system strong and solid. In order to do this, you should stay hydrated, fill in the fruit bowl in your kitchen with fresh fruits, make yourself tea and try eating healthy and nutritious food.
Set a timer and stand up or do jumping jacks for 60 seconds every 60 minutes.
Make sure you make the working environment at your home pleasant and clean. We are pretty sure that very soon you will adapt and start loving it!
The AE Ventures team managed to pull off the entire Starfleet India remotely!
As a matter of fact, we cooperated closely with a local partner — IBC Media — an Indian company, based in Bengaluru, whose team is also working entirely remotely. This experience gave us the opportunity to master our remote work techniques.
We organized and carried out the entire process — from the preparation of the application period, though evaluating the startups, to inviting them for the Genesis week. This takes a lot of planning, synchronization, communication, and management.
Now, we can say that our remote work skills are proven to work perfectly. If you have any hesitation or a question — feel free to contact us!
We will be glad to help!
Bonus: Check this list of tools for managing remote work.
Share this information with your colleagues and friends who choose to be responsible and to work from home during the coronavirus.