We are the people who work from home. The most common reactions are eye-rolling jealousy and the question, "Do you work in your pajamas every day?"
Yes, we can go a whole day without stepping foot outside. Yes, occasionally we roll out of bed straight into the "office". Yes, it's dangerous working near a fully loaded kitchen. There are plenty of pros as well as challenges to working from the comfort of your own home, but the truth is that it requires two main ingredients in order to be successful: intentionality and the right products.
It takes intentionality. If your team is going to be successful, everyone has to commit to treating it as a traditional job with a true office space — complete with accountability and communication.
Second, it takes the right products. Online programs and resources are what make it possible to run an office without a building, cubicles, or a community water cooler. Keep reading to learn which products we utilize in our virtual office at LinkPoint Media.
- Slack. Slack is the communication tool. Like a visit to the neighboring cubicle, Slack is an instant messaging program that allows you to relay information or ask coworkers a quick question. With the "channel" feature, Slack can also become the office water cooler for group powwows. Or do you have information only pertinent to the team's graphic designers? Contact them alone in a separate thread. "Slack makes it really easy to have instant collaboration with my teammates instead of having to wait for emails, or have to use my personal phone for texting. It also makes it really simple to share files, pictures, and code chunks." –Dan Clancy, Front End Developer
- Asana. Asana is the organization tool. A robust system that makes project management from a distance possible, Asana is a collection point for every single product, client, project, and task in your company. Simply, Asana coordinates work. It organizes everything from the immediate details all the way to the big picture, offering teams clarity instead of chaos. "With Asana, it is possible for responsibilities to be clear. Everyone knows what they should be working on and when." –Katharyn Pimpo, Project Manager
- QuickBooks. QuickBooks is the financial tool. Perfect for small-to-medium businesses, QuickBooks allows companies to invoice clients, manage payroll, and pay bills. It is an easy-to-use and thorough accounting software; in our opinion, it's the best one out there for companies like ours. "QuickBooks online is such an important tool for our company. It offers us the convenience of being able to invoice clients and have access to their accounts, find reports and look up bank information from any device, no matter where we are." –Sara Lundmark, Vice President
- G Suite. G Suite is the collaboration tool. At LinkPoint Media, we use Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, and Calendar in order to keep in tune with one another. It allows us to connect face-to-face, share folders and documents which contain all pertinent information, and have quick access to everyone's schedules and availability. It also allows our company to look as professional as possible with email account ownership. G Suite is the complete package. "With G Suite your files and email are conveniently accessible on all your devices and kept secure with encryption and two-step authentication. And no one does email better than Google." –Josh Lundmark, President
- Adobe Creative Cloudd. Adobe Creative Cloud is the creativity tool. Used at LinkPoint by our designers as well as our developers, it includes a collection of individual software programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Dreamweaver which provide us the necessary tools to develop the actual "meat" of our company. "The ease of keeping apps up-to-date and syncing fonts and elements across computers and devices is great. The creative cloud streamlines the process of going in between programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, and they are making advancements in innovative programs like Experience Design." –John Fetterer, Graphic Designer
So working from home is awesome at times and challenging at others, but it absolutely requires intentionality as well as the right tools. Because it takes a special person to perform like a professional while working in their pajamas.