A lot has changed in a few weeks. A month ago, most of us were signing contracts, making plans, shipping goods, and coming up with strategies to grow our businesses and serve our clients. Since then, the world has mostly ground to a halt, and business owners are at a loss as to what comes next.

The Coronavirus pandemic is a truly unprecedented situation for America and the world. While things will stabilize eventually, it’s going to take some time for business, and life, to return to normal. During that time, many companies will struggle to adapt to the new reality. Luckily,  this doesn’t have to be harder than it already is for your business. 

Here at InThink, we’ve been navigating this crisis right alongside you. To help you adapt, we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips for running a remote office.

Let’s dive in. 

 

Using Slack to Make Remote Work Easier: 5 Tips

Slack advertises itself as the place “where work happens,” and they’re not kidding. While most people know Slack as a project management platform that allows remote teams to share files and send messages in dedicated “channels,” it does so much more than that. 

Slack allows you to access dozens of integrations, including HubSpot, G-Suite, and Clickup, establish both department and client channels and enjoy streamlined instant messaging.  

Here are a few ways you can use Slack to keep your remote team productive and working together in this new climate:

 

1. Set reminders

One of the biggest questions people have about running a newly remote team is how to make sure everything gets done. And it’s understandable – if you’re all used to being in the same office together, working remotely can feel like an uncontrolled freefall. Luckily, Slack makes it easy to track productivity and accountability remotely.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to set reminders for your team members (or yourself). 

The handy “reminder” feature comes courtesy of Slackbot, Slack’s auto-response robot. To use it, just type “/remind [yourself or a coworker, or #channel] + [whatever you want to set the reminder for] + [when] + enter,” and voila! Slackbot will remind you at the time you specified. 

Bonus tip: If you want to review your list of reminders, type /reminder list + enter. 

 

2. Search Slack like an expert

Slack can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it, and many people worry about losing essential conversations, documents, and threads to the fray. Luckily, Slack’s advanced search features prevent this. Here’s how you can find a message or file quickly:

In any given Slack room, navigate to the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Use this space to type in the keywords or phrases of your search. Once you press ‘enter,’ the search bar will deliver results from a specific channel, person, or time. 

Easy as pie!

Bonus tip: “Pin” the most important files or conversations to the respective channel.

 

3. Flex Slack’s quick commands

Slack makes it easy to get work done without putting in a whole lot of extra time and effort. With that in mind, here are a few of Slack’s helpful “quick commands:”

  • /away: Toggle your “away” status.
  • /dm: Send a direct message to someone on your team.
  • /dnd: Set or end a “Do Not Disturb” session.
  • /collapse: Collapse all GIFs, images, and files in a channel.
  • /expand: Expand all GIFs, images, and files in a channel.
  • /mute: Mute all messages in a channel.
  • /open: Open or join another channel.
  • /pref: Open the preferences menu.
  • /shortcuts: Open the keyboard shortcuts menu.
  • /shrug: Send a “shruggie” to your team: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • /status: Set or clear your status

Want to see a full list of the quick commands? Hit / in the message field, and the menu will pop up for you. 

 

4. Humanize your Slack channels with a  /Giphy

It’s a weird time, and we all need some comic relief. Luckily, a /giphy says a thousand words. One of Slack’s best-loved features, Giphy is an app you can install on the platform.  

To use it, all you have to do is type /giphy [phrase you want a GIF  for] + enter. When you do that, the magical /Giphy machine will generate a random GIF for you. Send it as is or shuffle to your heart’s content. 

It’s a great way to brighten the day and keep the workplace humor alive, even when you’re working from home. 

 

5. Integrate your Google Drive and Google Calendar

Slack integrates seamlessly with the entire G Suite, including Google Drive and Google Calendar. All you need to do is connect G Suite to your Slack channels. You’ll also want to add the Google Calendar integration, so everyone can stay on the same page, even when you’re not in the same place. 

 

Optimize Interpersonal Outcomes With Zoom

If COVID-19 has your team scattered far and wide, Zoom is another great tool to stay on the same page. Here at InThink, we use Zoom daily. It’s our go-to tool for team meetings, screen sharing, webinars, and even one-on-one meetings.

At the free level, Zoom supports conference and video calls, screen sharing, and recording – the latter of which is one of our favorite features. Equipped with EVA Voice Recording, Zoom provides powerful A.I. assistance and transcription, so you can make your virtual meetings work harder for you. 

 

What About Virtual Sales?

So far in this post, we’ve talked a lot about how to manage your internal team during quarantine and social distancing. But what about managing your customers remotely? As a fully remote team, here are a few of the tools we use for virtual sales:

  • Drift. Drift is a powerful conversational marketing platform that allows you to build a responsive, personalized chatbot in just seconds. Even if you’ve never used chatbots in your sales pipeline before, Drift makes it simple. 
  • Gong.io. Gong.io is a platform designed specifically for remote sales teams. Particularly useful for providing revenue intelligence that helps you understand your pipeline, this is an excellent tool for newly remote teams who don’t want to pinch off their sales. 
  • Loom. Loom is one of our favorite tools for prospect outreach and tutorials. Free and compatible with Mac, Windows, and iOS systems, Loom is an easy way to record and share videos without a bunch of fancy equipment or expertise. Given that 95% of people remember a message when they watch it (versus only 10% of people who read it), now is a great time to experiment with videos for your tutorials and outreach. 
  • Proposify ? 

 

Rapid Response: How to Run Your Business Under Quarantine

In a time when companies everywhere have been turned on their heads by a situation entirely outside of their control, it’s hard to know what to do. As out-of-control as things feel, though, we’re here to assure you that there are things you can do. 

At InThink, we’ve developed a Rapid Response Business Plan designed to help you keep running your business under quarantine. It all starts with a complimentary 30-minute consultation. During this call, we’ll discuss: 

  • How to retain and even grow your customer base during these challenging times.
  • How to understand current threats, concerns, and activities and what they might mean for your brand.
  • Ideas for proactive messaging.
  • How to determine whether a Rapid Response Business Plan is right for you.

As with any disaster, the first step is to stop and get things organized. If you’re like most companies, your operations probably ground to a halt or shifted rapidly, and now you’re wondering which pieces you need to pick up to pivot. This call will help you organize those pieces and determine what comes next. 

During this uncertain time, our mission is to reach out, stay engaged, and help you keep your company thriving any way we can. Our newly available Rapid Response Business Plan is just one illustration of this. Whether you need help pivoting your marketing or figuring out how the heck to manage and oversee a newly virtual workforce using the tools mentioned in this post, we’re here for you. 

 

Ready to get proactive and help your business adapt? Spots are limited, so sign up for your complimentary 30-minute Rapid Response consultation now.