Even before the corona-virus disrupted the planet, remote working has gone from that rare occasion of workforce arrangements to a standard component of many people's workweek.
Businesses, large and small, continue to embrace the remote workplace - even startups are on board with this. With remote working being the new trend, collaboration is also found to be the new normal; employees are no longer expected to work independently. Instead, working together is more beneficial. While collaboration means improved efficiency and increased productivity, you still need the right tools to work together successfully.
Most notably, during this unprecedented time where remote working is a first for some companies that haven't yet adopted this policy, challenges can quickly arise. At Blueback we can offer several tools available to help your team stay connected while transitioning into the remote workforce. For this we work closely with our software partner Odoo. From instance, messaging to task and productivity trackers, from customer service web chats to SMS text messaging.
Want to know more about this or get advice on how to set this up? We are happy to assist you!
1. Real-Time Communication/ Instant Messaging
Communication within the team can be the biggest challenge when your workforce is remote.
Your Odoo Inbox with chat, dm and file sharing options can be customized as much or as little as you'd like. It allows seamless communication between individual team members, departments, and/or the entire company. Different chat channels enable people to discuss work, brainstorm ideas, and stay connected throughout the workday. It allows direct messages (DMs) and files to be sent to a single person or a group of employees, including the ability to organize conversations into different channels.
New channels can be created for different teams, projects, or whatever else is relevant to your business. In each channel, members can tag each other, share documents, and communicate through voice calls. In addition to this, the built-in bot will notify you if you've missed any important messages.
Live Chat with your customers
Odoo Live Chat integrates with your website to allow your team to chat with your customers in real-time and answer questions, schedule appointments, and sell your products or services in 1:1 conversations. The Odoo widget can be customized to include an avatar greeting and place an 'away message' for any queries that come in after regular business hours. It's a great personal touch to add to your "online office" and e-store.
Today, businesses use a wide range of methods to interact with customers. From a VoIP phone system to personalized emails, most brands aim to create an omnichannel experience that best serves their consumers. That's why email, messaging, SMS, or IM services have become a highly effective form of communication; a channel that many customer service teams are beginning to adopt. Odoo Voip truly provides two-way communication, meaning that your customers can write back to any message you send, and you'd be able to reply directly.
2. Project Management
Working remotely requires a top-notch project management tool because your employees most likely has several ongoing projects to complete. With several ongoing projects, you'll need a clear form of communication to keep the details organized for your employees. Odoo Project Management is the right tool for this if you haven't already got it, now is the time to set it up. It allows you to plan, track, and collaborate on projects in a visually simple manner. You can monitor tasks, discussions, documents, scheduling, milestones, collaboration, and more, in a user-friendly dashboard.
The simplicity of the drag-and-drop functionality is particularly useful for projects and general workflow management among teams. It integrates with Google Drive, Outlook, and Google Calendar, so you can use this as a central focal point for teams to work together. It's very flexible and allows you to use boards, lists, and cards to map out your projects.
Tasks are easy to assign and break down since status updates and project progress are available at a glance. Once you've created a new board for your projects, you can add any relevant team members to the board. From there, you can create tasks, assign them to other team members, and share documents, all within your Odoo dashboard.
Additionally, Business Owners can also stay on top of every ongoing projects within the company; you can always see the bigger picture, what's in progress, what's coming up, and who's in charge of what. In addition to this, project managers can easily delegate work, set deadlines, review, and evaluate what's left to do.
Ultimately, for remote employees, the Odoo Project Management app includes all the tools needed to avoid missing deadlines.
3. Odoo HR
Human resource management is a difficult job. It includes managing time off, negotiating salaries, booking meetings across various time zones, and managing conflicts; with a lot going on, there is more potential for things to slip through the cracks.
Odoo HR is an employee management solution with integrated team communication features. Not only does it offer a way for you to contact your employees, but it also tracks the daily aspects of managing them. With Odoo HR, you can track your employees' work hours, handle scheduling, and communicate efficiently with them in team chats. The app is easy to customize to the needs of your business.
To make sure business communication stays strong and connected, it is essential to make sure that your employees know one another. Whether a company is large or small, challenges can arise if a member doesn't know who or what other employees do. With that said, employees need to know which department colleagues work in to improve communication about specific topics or ask particular questions to the right person.
With the Employees app, employee profiles provide context about each person within your organization. Members can read about specific individuals, understand their roles, interests, and who they report to. Furthermore, the profiles put a name to a face making it easier to know who is who within the company.
4. Task management
Task management and collaboration can be extremely challenging while working remotely with various teams. If you do not have an efficient task management tool, overall business performance will not be as successful as it can be. A task management tool that combines stable communication features with assignment tracking capabilities, will transform the way employees complete the most vital aspect of your company: their jobs. Without a reliable project management system in place, projects can be confusing, which may result in a wasted amount of time for team members trying to figure out what they should be doing. These issues further escalate when management does not have a direct way of monitoring progress, thus detaching them from the situation.
Odoo Project's task management is one of the most effective business communication tools compared to others. This tool is made easy from the execution to completion of each task as it helps employees and directors reach their goals as successfully as possible in a timely manner. Managers can directly assign tasks to team members and track their progress. They can also set due dates and priority settings, which appear in an organized list for everyone involved. With built-in communication tools, Odoo task management helps employees know who is delegating an assignment, when it is due, and the level of importance to plan projects accordingly.
The best meetings are held when people prepare for them. Creating a way to efficiently schedule your meetings can give you more time to prepare for the actual meeting. With that said, one may think that scheduling meetings are an easy process, but it can take up a lot of time when choosing a time and date for your meeting. Additionally, this process usually involves an unnecessarily long email chain. Appointment schedulers help make the process quick and easy. They allow you to poll colleagues and friends on the best date and time for the meeting to be scheduled. It makes your availability known to others and helps ensure that you don't double-book a time slot. The Appointments app connects to your online calendar, which is fully integrated into your Google and Outlook Calendar, making it easy to schedule meetings.
Amongst everything else, the app provides you with the option to send invitations to the people you need to meet with, allowing you to see what day and time work best for them too. It syncs all the confirmed appointments to your calendar and creates an event on your invitees' calendars. While it works well for scheduling meetings with individuals or team members within an organization, it also makes it ideal for connecting with external clients, customers, and colleagues.
5. Meeting Management
Poorly planned or unnecessary meetings waste the valuable time of your most important resource—your team members. Bad meetings slow processes down, create confusion, and breeds a lack of confidence in the organizer. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to spend all your time planning the perfect meetings; instead, let technology help. With Odoo, you can put most of the work behind scheduling meetings on autopilot and focus on other things that matter, technology handles the rest.
Automatically Create Meetings from Events in Your Other Apps
With easy automation, you can generate new meetings from actions in your other planning and organizational tools. You'll never find yourself scheduling pointless meetings.
Get Reminder Before Your Meeting Begins
The right meeting scheduler tool helps you get meetings onto your calendar quickly and efficiently, and that helps keep you productive. But you don't have to stop there. Another way to stay productive is to automatically have notifications sent to you before a meeting occurs in whatever app or device that best suits you.
Not only can you receive reminders in your Google and Outlook calendars or by email, but also you can get SMS notifications however far in advance you like before events in your Google Calendar start. Anything you can do to make your routine of scheduling meetings more efficient is a win for everyone because it allows you to focus on preparing for the meeting instead of finding the right time for it.
6. Share and Collaborate on New Notes
The takeaway points and action items are the most important outcome of most meetings. It's important that you don't forget to share these with your team. With that said, you can automate that process, so you never have to think about it again.
Send Meeting Minutes to the Right People
Taking notes and sending them to the right people can take up time, making it feel like a time-waster. Don't let it waste your time. After taking notes during your meeting, Odoo can send these to your team (and your supervisor) to keep everyone on the same page.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. The easy-to-customize templates can help you build an appealing newsletter with relevant information, business updates, and entertaining content. Email is one of the best ways to reach someone, too. Email marketing is 40 times more effective at reaching your target consumer than Twitter or Facebook. While your store is closed, use your newsletter to share content that entertains people or keeps them engaged with your brand. Email Marketing is equipped to help you build something that generates a high open-rate.
8. Social Marketing
Whether you're managing social media for your business or are trying to build a personal brand, managing all social media platforms can be a huge responsibility. You might be creating a Facebook Page, trying to improve your LinkedIn profile, or waiting for company mentions on Twitter. On the other hand, many customers automatically resort to social media channels to stay in touch with businesses. Your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages are the default place where they will go to find out if you're open, selling or accepting returns.
A team working remotely is likely to have a pretty varied schedule. To ensure that social marketing doesn't get left behind and your content marketing stays on track, you can use Social Marketing to schedule posts in advance, so they always publish at just the right time. With Social Marketing, your team can simultaneously respond to comments, direct messages, and posts that your company has been tagged on to keep up with any questions and concerns. Social Marketing allows you to:
Share New Content
One of the best ways to build a stable community on any social network is to share content that your followers will find interesting.
Cross Post and Syndicate Content
You've written a great post. Now it's time to ensure your audience sees it regardless of what platform they're using. It's tedious to share content across platforms, but with Social Marketing, you can automatically cross-post content between all of your social media accounts.
Monitor Your Brand Online
Tracking your online brand mentions can be tedious while working with multiple tools, sifting through pages and pages of links to find legitimate brand mentions. Social Marketing can help monitor social networks for you automatically.
Whether you're in a meeting or doing research, taking notes helps you concentrate and gives you a reference later to remind and reinforce the context of your work. It may be less effort than writing a full transcript, but notes still take a significant amount of time to format, organize, and follow-through. Whenever you need to take notes about something, you should do it in Odoo Notes.
It helps you make your notes actionable
Having your notes convert into a task list where you can check things off allows you to stay on top of your work and ensures that you don't miss following up on those critical items. Or, you could create notes from your new tasks. That way, whenever you add something new to your to-do list, you'll have a perfect space to track your thoughts and notes.
Get Reminded About Notes on Your Calendar
Sometimes we as humans make mistakes and forget things. Following up with all the action items that you just jotted down can be a repetitive task. But, you can create a workflow that automatically turns your notes into reminders in a calendar so you'll remember to check back on your notes.
10. Documents and Files Cloud storage
When it comes to remote work, collaboration doesn't just take place through video chat, but on files as well. This is why it's imperative to have an app that enables project stakeholders to share and edit files with their remote teams. This is where cloud storage applications like Odoo Documents can come in handy. By moving all your files to the cloud, it ensures that your team has uninterrupted access to relevant documents, spreadsheets, presentations, videos, and more.
With Documents, you can store multiple versions of all of your documents and control access rights to ensure everyone has access to what they need. You also have access to file edit history to see who changed what. Plus, it's easier to collaborate in real-time and avoid sending edited versions of documents back and forth. It's also a great way to organize work from freelancers and your remote team when they need to submit projects.
Make Signing Documents Easy
While ink pens and paper may seem like a thing of the past, signatures still hold weight and make business deals real. You can simplify the process and automate and sign documents with digital ink, and modernize this old-world aspect of the company.
EXTRA TIP: Time Tracking and Productivity
One of the challenges with remote work is that employers and clients want to know that work is getting done, and productivity isn't falling short. At the same time, employees don't want to have constant check-ins, neither do they want to feel like someone's watching over their back. This is when using a time tracking tool comes in handy.
It is a great way for businesses to measure employee productivity but also hold employees accountable for their work. On the employee side, especially for freelancers and independent contractors, time tracking software can be critical when it comes to sending invoices to payroll. All parties involved benefit from unbiased time and productivity tracking.
Conclusion - Working From Home Is Here To Stay
The corona virus lock down has shown remote working is possible on a far wider scale than many companies anticipated. The flexible working conditions are turning into a new norm, and this shift is noticeable in the working culture.
Even after the pandemic passes, it is expected that there will be more of a cultural shift towards working from home as a norm and many employees will want to do this, at the very least for part of the week.
On the other hand, employers, managers and founders will realize that the home office can actually help productivity.
With great tools, resources and advanced technology, it has never been this simple to set up a professional working environment at home that empowers efficiency.