More than ever, communication and productivity hacks help us to stay focused. As lots of us are asking for productivity help, here’s a list to help you out. Every week we’ll share our most used tools for productivity, team communication, quick video & content creation, etc.
This week: some of StoryMe’s favourite tools for communication!
1. Hardware on point with a decent webcam and headset 🎬🎧
In times of crisis, it’s crucial to keep your team and customers connected. With the right video equipment and clear communication, you're able to do so. If you can afford a little extra, it is definitely worth investing in a decent webcam with 1080p (Full HD) or 4K resolution. Logitech’s devices have made our video conferencing easier than ever and we also use them at the office to do conference calls with 5+ people in the same room.
If you won’t shell out for a webcam, at least make sure you have a good headset. Ones with noise cancellation are great to stay focused during a video call, eliminating background noises - such as screaming children in quarantine. 👶🏻Do you want to treat yourself? Go for the Bose QuietComfort, it works incredibly well for calls, noise-reduction, music and overall focus for example when air-traveling.
2. Google Hangouts for 1 click internal video-chats. 📹
At StoryMe, we use the whole Google for business (Google Suite). We use Google Calendar (synced with Teamleader), for example, to plan our meetings and tasks. Every new meeting gets an automatic Google Meet link that all participants can join easily.
P.S. Starting March 3rd, Google began rolling out free access to their advanced Hangouts to all G Suite customers globally. Go check it out!
But who says you have to keep it strictly business? To keep up the team spirit and stay healthy in quarantine, a different team member organizes a ‘Sporty Spice’ session every Wednesday, from Rugby training to Crossfit and yoga - we’ve tried it all! 🧘♀️
"Ok great features, but with Zoom you can see everyone in 1 gallery, much easier." Well, as of the 17th of April, Google announced the Zoom-style gallery is working for up to 16 people, included in Google Meet, for $6 per month.
3. Skype or Zoom for external meetings 🙋
We're not a huge fan of Skype as a lot of people these days don't have a Skype account, which creates some kind of friction. Add to that the connection and sound often lagging, compared to a very steady Zoom. On top of that, it’s super user-friendly: share the link and boom! You're live. The free plan includes 40 mins of group meetings. Especially for businesses working remotely, it’s completely worth it to invest in a Zoom license. We use it every Monday Morning to kick off the week with the whole team, and with non-Google client.
4. FaceTime group calls for quick or personal updates 📲
For a more personal or quick call between two or three people, try using FaceTime group calls. It’s simple, fast and familiar. When not behind your desk, you're more likely to grab your phone, open the FaceTime app and tap the name of the person you want to call. There have been a few updates over the last couple of years, to help bolster the capabilities of FaceTime. The disadvantage of FaceTime is that you can only use it if everyone has an Apple device, but as our creative team uses MacBooks and most people have an iPhone, that’s usually not a problem.
Have you ever had a strange animal join your video call? Through SweetFarm, you can have animals like Juno the goat or Paco the llama join your video call! 😂 And this for the good cause! It's about €100 and the money goes to the animal cause.
Internal Communication Tools (reduce emails by 300+%)
1. Facebook Workplace 🎯 for no-BS office communication
A few years ago, we switched from Slack to Workplace for internal communication, and we’re still very happy with the platform today. We use both the full Workplace platform within the browser, which allows you to create different group pages (e.g. we have one to share video inspiration, one for technical issues, one for sharing music,...), and the separate Workplace Chat app for desktop and mobile, which you can only use to chat with all your team members. From the beginning, it's seemed that Mark’s business app was the most social and simple one out there, and that's still the case today!
2. Boxy to kill those tons of open tabs ✋
If you always seem to have a lot of Gmail tabs open in your browser, then you might want to check out this app. Boxy is a desktop app for Gmail and Google Calendar with a minimal design. It’s full of useful features such as instant account switching, powerful shortcuts, a reader mode, ... and it also integrates with a bunch of other Google apps.
Document and Information Sharing tools
1. Google's G Suite
G Suite is the collection of all the Google apps you already know, but with the added value of some additional business services. You get a custom business email and thanks to Google Drive, it’s very easy to work on projects together with other employees. For all of our new content around crisis communication, for example, we just made a quick shared Google Drive folder between Strategy and Marketing to make sure everyone’s using the same communication.
Tip: During your VideoCall you can open a Google Docs, make it available to all and share your screen, using it as a 'whiteboard' to visually brainstorm to get the whole team aligned quickly.
2. Transferring big files with WeTransfer 📁
WeTransfer allows you to send large files up to 20GB for free, something we definitely rely on for sending all of our video content. All files are kept online by the service for 7 days, which is great for people with a busy schedule, who might not download something straight away the first time they receive the link. We also love the easy, no-fuss design of WeTransfer, plus the fact that they donate 30% of their advertising space to cool artists for the backgrounds!
Extra: Super easy drag and drop on desktop and mobile app.
3. Evernote for shared note taking ✍️
In times of remote working, it is even more important to have structured meeting notes for those who weren’t able to attend or when someone’s connection wasn’t great. There are plenty of tools for notes, but one thing that’s great about Evernote is that you can have shared notes with your colleagues in which everyone can collaborate! Our marketing team is now using it to keep track of the tons of free content that’s available these days - this way everyone can add the valuable things they’ve seen or learned in quarantine times! 💡
Have more questions? Contact our Hotline 24/7.
Trying to tackle new communication challenges? Don't panic, you just need some extra creative ideas! Our Strategists are happy to help you with fresh ideas to tackle your challenges during & post Corona, free of charge!