Remote working can be challenging, especially for those new to it. 

Being able to work collaboratively - not only across teams, but also with clients - is one of the single biggest struggles remote workers have. What comes naturally to us in an office environment takes some re-learning. And while there’s no one-size-fits all formula, there are some common best-practices you can follow to ensure your teams continue to work effectively. 

Having helped thousands of organizations to better collaborate across remote teams, and with their clients and partners, here are our Top Five remote working best practices.

Some of them might even surprise you! 

 

Avoid sharing files via email - you'll create "copy confusion" 

 

Keeping track of document versions as they go through multiple revisions can be a challenge at the best of times. However, when you have multiple stakeholders, all working remotely, things can get really challenging.  

If you’re working on a document across a team, email might seem like the simplest choice for sharing your file. It isn’t! 

More often than not, recipients will save the file to their laptop and then start working on it. They’ve then created a duplicate copy that only they have access to. Now, multiply that behaviour across all of the stakeholders you’re working with and you’re soon left with dozens of separate versions to consolidate. 

The same issue is common with team members that don’t have VPN access to retrieve files from their internal network. If that’s you, then you might be tempted to keep a local copy saved on your laptop; but if others are also working on that file, you’ll quickly be left behind and risk working on an out of date version. 

How Huddle Helps
Share and work on documents through Huddle. Not only does Huddle maintain the most up-to-date version of a document, so your team is always guaranteed to be working on the right version, but if you open the file through Huddle and you use Microsoft O365, you can even join your team and co-edit the file directly in Office Online, with changes automatically saved back. 

If you’re using the desktop-installed versions of Microsoft Office, you can choose to lock the file while you work on it – preventing anyone else from making changes while you’re working. 

Don't share important feedback via Email / Slack / Teams  - your "voice" will get lost in the noise

 

For many, email (or your organization's enterprise messaging app) is the default choice for sending feedback or ideas on a piece of work. This is especially true when teams can’t meet face-to-face, or don’t feel their feedback is worth setting a conference call for. However, this can quickly result in email overload, with important comments getting lost in a sea of replies and lengthy discussion threads. 

It’s even more problematic if you’re the document owner and you need to consolidate all of this feedback. At best, this can lead to missed updates, at worst your file may still contain errors that others thoughts had been addressed. 

It also means that any context around the document is lost. If someone revisits your document several weeks later, any vital discussion that took place around it is probably lost forever in someone’s else’s mailbox. 

How Huddle Helps
Keep feedback in Huddle. Every document stored in Huddle has its own time-stamped comment thread. You can @mention individuals and even entire teams. It means that the discussion is always locked to the document, so it’s easy to scan through and check the latest feedback without having to waste time searching through email. 

It also makes it easier for anyone coming back to the file at a later date. In seconds they can check for any important comments and discussions that have already taken place around your work. 

Task are easily forgotten - transparency is key 

 

When you’re working remotely, even the smallest task becomes exponentially harder to keep track of. 

It might be something as simple as making sure your team updates a status report prior to an important call, or ensuring your client reviews your revisions before it’s passed for approval. 

But it’s the sort of request that’s too easily lost in email, or forgotten about after a video conference. 

So, if your work is dependent on others completing a task, it’s time to step up your game and find a means to not only manage your tasks, but to also make them transparent to all stakeholders so that they can see the impact on deadlines. 

How Huddle Helps
Alongside every document stored in Huddle is the ability to create a task against it. 

For task assignees this means it’s simple to view the task details, accompanying comments, and the document to which it relates, in a single view. This mitigates any confusion and reduces instances of errors. 

Also, like having a comment thread beside your files, it means that anyone visiting the document in Huddle has context, and can immediately see any completed, and outstanding tasks.

Don't skip security - or be tempted to go "off-grid"

 

Your organization should have a remote work IT security policy. Unfortunately, many policies cross the line between optimizing security and being overly restrictive. 

There’s also a frequent mismatch between policy guidance and the software available to employees, with many applications not available to users when they’re working outside of the corporate network. 

Working with clients and partners is a great example of this. While the tools might exist to work and collaborate with your internal teams (think Microsoft Teams, for example), they probably aren’t fit for purpose (or even permitted) for use with external stakeholders

When that happens, you may be tempted to go “off-grid” and find your own solutions and workarounds. Don’t. Instead, talk to your IT team about sourcing an appropriate solution that maintains your productivity without compromising your organization’s data security obligations. 

How Huddle Helps
As a cloud-solution, Huddle is available to anyone with an internet connection. Most importantly, Huddle is built around “Workspaces”. You can build a Huddle Workspace around a project, a team, or a client. It’s your secure container where everyone involved can access and work on the content they need, manage document related tasks (like reviewing or approving), and even discuss the latest updates.

Because only stakeholders that have been invited to join your Workspace have access, it’s completely secure and simple for external clients and partners to use, as well as your own teams. Even within a Workspace you can assign permissions to control who has access to certain files, and what they can do with them (ie: edit vs view-only). 

Make your content discoverable - your team will thank you for it

 

Enterprise knowledge is a powerful thing and it’s important that employees can access expertise and company IP when they need it. 

This knowledge transfer often happens around the office, sometimes through something as informal as a chat over a coffee! 

Of course, when your team is working remotely, it becomes harder to share this expertise. That’s why it’s important to ensure your content and ideas are easily discoverable. 

You might not think that your latest presentation slides have much value beyond your own project, but that’s no reason to leave them stuck on your laptop, never to see the light of day again. Instead, make sure that your colleagues know what you’re working on and ensure your files are easily discoverable to them (respecting privacy / security requirements, of course) to reduce duplication of effort and to increase your organization’s collective knowledge

How Huddle Helps
Huddle’s powerful search feature makes it simple for colleagues to discover and use content, while Workspace Permissions ensure any privacy and security requirements are preserved.

Also, if you come across a piece of content that you think could be of use to a colleague (or another team), just click “share” and they’ll be messaged with the link. You could even @mention them in the file’s comments thread, or Bookmark it for your own use later. 

From government agencies to many of the world’s most trusted brands, Huddle helps organizations to work more collaboratively.

If you’re looking to improve collaboration across your remote teams and with your clients and partners, request a demo and start your free trial today. 

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Tim Deluca-Smith

CMO


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