News Straight from FIG HQ

Staying connected with teams and clients

April 2020Helen
stay connected

With web developer, Mike

Mike has worked at FIG for over 5 years and is an experienced web developer, skilled in front-end development using a multitude of languages as well as a growing interest in backend development
and functionality work.

Mike has been exceptionally busy in recent weeks helping FIG’s clients update their websites with urgent COVID-19 messages and installing Live chat and pop ups to keep communications going. We caught up with Mike at the end of his first week working from home, to find out some of the best ways to keep connected with your team and clients.

What sorts of tools are out there to keep remote teams connected?

There are so many different online tools now available for people to keep updated and many have a free subscription tier.

Slack

At FIG we already used Slack to keep internal emails down, as it’s a quick and easy way of having short conversations or asking questions. As well as individuals on Slack we have Slack channels for team chats, for sharing best practice, hints and tips and to notify when a job has been briefed in on our project system.

Discord

As we’re now all working remotely we needed something with more functionality than Slack and turned to Discord. Historically Discord was a gaming communication tool but increasingly it’s being positioned as a remote workers communication tool. Once the team got over the strange gaming icons that first greet you it’s actually pretty easy to use and it’s worked pretty well for FIG in our first week. The team channel is pretty active with what people are up to during the day, keeping it light as well as work related. We have meeting channels set up and the big difference is it supports voice channels that people can drop in and out of, as well as screen/video sharing on their free tier. It’s worked really well for us so far, allowing teams to talk amongst themselves as if they were sharing an office . The screen share facility allows us to share whole screens or parts of it which is a useful tool for the creative to collaborate.

But there are also plenty of other similar tools such as Team Speak and Mumble to consider.

What about training or presentations?

Join.me

Join.me is a great tool for online meetings, presentations and training. FIG has used it for both even before social distancing. It’s easy to use and has a free trial but also reasonable monthly charges (although you have to sign up annually) if you are going to be doing regular training or webinars. It’s professional and allows you to personalise your url link and meeting backgrounds so it’s good for promoting your corporate brand. You can share screens, which is why it is such a good tool for training and I’ve used it to train FIG’s clients on a number of occasions. You can chair the meeting and even annotate on screen to highlight points. There are also multiple methods of using audio as you can connect via phone or using a microphone. We’re considering this for one of our clients who needs to present and run webinars to clients all over the world.

One of our clients uses Go To Webinar which is a comprehensive tool for running professional webinars, with good management tools, automatic invitations and follow up emails. Zoom is another tool that is growing in popularity for running interactive events and meetings.

What if a client wants to do more streaming?

YouTube Live

If you are looking to get videos out to a lot of people, YouTube Live is a great tool to use. The fitness industry is using it to great effect since COVID-19 shut all the gyms and fitness classes. Alternatives that are usually aimed more at gaming streams but can be used by anyone are Twitch and Mixer. Both of these can be connected to streaming software like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) to create streams with the potential for much higher production value.

A school teacher recently ran a really cool remote maths lesson recently using the new virtual reality game Half-Life: ALYX. The game has a building with a couple of whiteboards and a greenhouse as well as marker pens, which the teacher used to explain angles in his video.

There are some really fantastic tools out there for businesses to use and to keep communicating remotely with staff and clients. Many were already using these tools but for some it’s a completely new way of working. It’s going to open up lots of new opportunities when this situation is over.

If FIG can help you decide which tools could be right for your business right now, give us a call on 01457 857111.

Let's talk

Call us on 01457 857111 or email [email protected]