With a growing number of part-time or full-time virtual teams, many managers and team members must address a new concern: How do we collaborate and stay productive when working outside of a traditional office? Effective team tools — along with a few good routines and shared processes — can enable individuals and teams who are working remotely to stay productive, collaborate efficiently, and deliver work fast.
Almost half of Planview’s employees work outside of either our U.S., Stockholm, or Bangalore offices. In talking with these remote workers, we’ve gathered valuable advice on how to stay connected and remain productive while working from home, a coffee shop, or co-working space.
Remote work basics
A remote or home office presents unique distractions and challenges that those without remote work experience might find daunting at first. To stay productive, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent daily routine that makes working remote seem less out of place. Working out, making breakfast, showering, and other basic activities serve as a reminder that it is still a typical workday. It’s as easy as simply doing the same things as you would during a normal workday.
Similarly, it’s important to have a dedicated workspace that has everything necessary for you to get work done. This doesn’t need to be a fancy home office — it just needs to be a space that will allow you to focus on your work and avoid unnecessary distractions.
More than just helping to keep you productive, having a dedicated workspace makes it easier for you to maintain your regular working hours. While at your workspace, it’s all business, but once the day is over — you can leave the space alone and enjoy your time to rest.
Why team tools matter
Beyond routines and dedicated work areas, remote employees need a few effective team tools to deliver on tasks and collaborate with team members. Staying connected with your team and strategy is of the utmost importance. At Planview, our remote employees all have one thing in common: We use our own Work Management and Enterprise Kanban solutions to boost collaboration, deliver on strategy, and maintain productivity.
Although many teams at Planview also utilize communication apps, our team tools keep us aligned, in context, and focused on our committed deliverables. Here is what a few of us have to say about work-from-home routines and how using Planview’s products has enhanced our remote experiences.
Staying connected to strategy
Emily Peterson, Sr. Product Marketing Manager
“Planview LeanKit allows me to stay fully connected to the goals and objectives we committed to delivering against. Each day, I know what needs to get done and when, and I can see who might have too much work in progress that might need help. Having the ability to see my work and the work of the team in one place ensures that we’re working on the right things at the right time.”
April Terry, Sales Enablement Manager
“Planview’s work management tools are an everyday necessity for me and my team. We start each week with a Monday morning kick–off meeting, and we also participate in daily standups — both of which are driven by Planview LeanKit. We screen–share our LeanKit board to talk through work, discuss status changes, and easily pivot in new directions as needed.”
Connected to the team
Ben Hood, VP Solutions Consulting
“As a Planview Solutions Consultant, my team and I live in Planview products all day, every day. I manage a large team so I can’t interact directly with everyone every day, but I do touch base with key team members and keep track of our team’s collective work through Planview LeanKit.
Since we maintain various Planview instances for demo purposes, our team can track all of the updates and enhancements necessary for each demo site. My team is empowered to drive their own work and updates while I stay informed through updates on our LeanKit boards – ensuring that we are still delivering against strategy.”
Getting work done
Erica Mayr, Account Executive
“I leverage both LeanKit and Projectplace in my day-to-day work. Planview LeanKit allows me to easily keep track of my personal to-dos and the status of my work. Keeping everything centralized minimizes the noise and distractions of my work life. Planview Projectplace provides me with a virtual workspace for my team to gather and collaborate on team–specific initiatives. I also use the document repository to store documentation that’s important to my manager.”
Liz Llewellyn-Maxwell, Sr. Content Marketing Manager
“I am a true believer in teams visualizing their work with LeanKit and Projectplace, especially when some or all of the team members work remotely. It’s just too difficult to collaborate effectively and deliver quickly if you have to trade spreadsheets or wait for meetings to know the latest updates. But even more important than visualizing work is knowing the most valuable work to devote our time and energy to.
For content and web projects, I use Projectplace every day to work with contractors, designers, and the web team. My core team uses LeanKit every day to track the progress of our work against our strategic goals and quickly communicate priorities as they shift. The team tools give me the information I need without having to track down team members to know what’s going on — I just look at the boards and know.”
Thriving in a remote world
Whether you work on a small team or lead an entire organization, using the right team tools can help a remote workforce stay informed, productive, and delivering on strategy. But teams experiencing a sudden shift to remote work may find it difficult to maintain the same productivity and pace they may have had in the office.
At Planview, we have experienced those challenges first-hand as we have transformed our own organization over the last few years. Join us for a webinar on Thriving in a Remote World, where you’ll learn strategies for enabling a productive and autonomous virtual workforce.