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What tools and techniques do you recommend for nonprofits who are navigating this difficult time by working remotely? Please post them here.
Susan Tenby, Director of Global Community, TechSoup
Adobe is providing free 90-day access to Adobe Connect for any video conferencing/remote work needs. Learn more here.
LinkedIn has an online course with various modules on best practices and tools for remote work.
Asana shared some resources to support you, and set your team for success when it comes to working from home:
1. Asana Tips: 5 ways to work from anywhere 67
2. How Asana uses Asana for remote work 32
3. Remote work roundup: Our favorite reads about working from home 21
Check out some more best practices from Asana here.
LogMeIn has a remote work kit available for nonprofits: https://www.gotomeeting.com/work-remote
Barb, TechSoup Senior Relationship Manager
See resources and special product offers from TechSoup partner Box.org here.
AWS has some services that help with remote work:
The AWS Credits available at TechSoup can be used for these services.
AWS will offer free use of all Amazon Chime Pro features for online meetings and video conferencing from March 4, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for all customers that start using Amazon Chime for the first time during this period from their AWS account.
Starting April 1, AWS will offer free use of Amazon WorkSpaces for up to 50 WorkSpaces through June 30, 2020 for all new customers that start using WorkSpaces during this period.
Julie Navejas | Program Manager for TechSoup
Another website that I follow and occasionally write for is www.opensource.com.
Over the last week or so they have published some good stuff on home working tools (open source of course) and techniques.
Top 10 open source tools for working from home (https://opensource.com/article/20/3/open-source-working-home)
Setting yourself up for success while working remotely (https://opensource.com/article/20/3/remote-work)
Techsoup Community Forum Moderator
Google Docs is a fantastic way to work on word processing documents, slide shows and spreadsheets together.
Zoom is super easy for meetings - always use a password for access to meetings, so you don't get "zoom bombed." I like it because it's so easy to share my screen or for another participant to do so. But make sure:
If someone else is paying for access (I can't afford it otherwise on my own), I love Slack for quick updates and conversations - I think of it as someone stopping by my office and saying, "Got a sec? I have a question." I leave it on during the workday so people can reach me anytime, but use the "in a meeting" when I need to not be disturbed.
If someone else is paying for it (again, I can't afford it otherwise on my own), I also love Basecamp - Basecamp has been absolutely essential for me to manage large projects, like a recent one where I managed more than 15 projects each with 3 - 5 volunteers of their own, plus the overall project with about 50 different people working on it.
For those that can't afford Basecamp, I recommend Groups.io. I'm experimenting with it myself, as an online discussion group, but it could also be an online collaboration space.
In the last year, I have found super short videos to be a really easy way to orient or pitch something to remote staff or potential clients. I use Quicktime to record the video and iMovie to edit it - both are free on my laptop. In 2018, I did a video to encourage about 20 nonprofits I was working with to make a simple, short video of their own for a project I was working on, and it went over WAY better than an email! I got 100% participation, and I think it was because I showed them exactly what I wanted, instead of telling them. Since then, I've created several quick online videos, including three specifically because of the onslaught of interest in virtual volunteering because of COVID-19 home quarantines:
A plea regarding how you talk about virtual volunteering. (4:28)(spoiler: it's not "new")Safety in Virtual Volunteering. (5:10)
Virtual Volunteering: It's personal. (6:02)
Don't be afraid to use video - to train new volunteers, to remind current volunteers of something they need to keep in mind, to talk about anything, really, that can be summarized in a compelling little speech of around 5 minutes.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
TechSoup has this terrific blog about how to work with staff spread across multiple locations from 2019 that still offers some great suggestions. They also have this blog about What You Need to Know About Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365 - the name changed April 21, 2020) as a tool for working with dispersed staff.
I'm curious to hear from users of Microsoft Teams (internal chat platform & hub for teamwork, putting all team conversations, files, meetings, and apps in a single shared workspace you can access from anywhere on your mobile device).
So happy to let you know as you need to make your home workers more secure that we've just added Dashlane to our marketplace! Dashlane is the only password manager designed for easy use by both technical and not-so-technical people. Onboarding is painless, secure sharing of company information is simple, and features like autofill and auto-login keep team members working faster and more efficiently. Learn more about their 50% discount that is open to all organizations with budgets of $5M or less at www.techsoup.org/dashlane. This program is designed for 2+ users with an administrator who handles an account for their organization. Enjoy!
Gayle Samuelson Carpentier, Chief Business Development Officer, TechSoup Global
Asana is the best that I can recommend for productivity tools in working remotely.
I work in a corporate environment remotely and have for about 5 years. I also manage a local Drupal conference in Denver every year.From the corporate side remote work, we use:
From the Drupal side of the equation, we use:
Those three elements are important - documents, face to face video, and asynchronous chat. Regardless of the tools you use, you will find that when you first start working remotely there is a tendency to overcompensate with meetings. Meetings are important, but they can get in the way of productivity. Start with a quick volley of messages in chat if you have some kind of problem to solve - resist setting up a meeting if you can manage it. Think of it as popping your head over to a colleague's desk. Would you set up a meeting every time you just needed a quick tête-à-tête? If you find that requires spinning up video, so be it - but start with the least intrusive technology so your calendar doesn't get snowed.Next, make sure you block time off for lunch. When you are working from home, it is super easy to forget to take breaks.
Find a place in your home, preferably with a door, that you can set up as an office. You need to be able to LEAVE WORK at the end of the day just as you would leave your office. When you are done with the day, be disciplined about it. It is incredibly easy for your work life to become your home life when you are remote. It took me three different remote positions to get this close to right.
Really helpful post, Matthew!
The company I work for completely switched to remote work during the pandemics, and they are thinking about continuing this practice even when the quarantine is over. The tools we use for remote work are Zoom for daily and weekly meetings, Slack and Skype for communication between all employees, Google Docs for reports and shared documentation, Trello for assigning tasks to team members and tracking work progress, and worktime.com for checking in and counting our working hours (as we have a flexible schedule)
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