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Let’s Stay Together

How to remain close and connected during quarantine 

Hey… hey out there! How ya’ll doing? Has cabin fever set in? Already binged watched every show on your list and are circling back to restart Tiger King? Are the days beginning to bleed into one another? Starting work at 8 a.m. and the next time you look at the clock it’s 7 p.m.? We get it: quarantine is hard. But, it doesn’t have to be so bad—if, you stay connected. 

Staying close with your people, from your coworkers to your clients to your family and friends, is the best way to keep yourself sane, keep your business strong, and keep creative ideas flowing. Collaboration works best when you do it with others, right?  

So even though we can’t face-to-face anytime soon, (which for some of us who haven’t changed out of sweatpants in weeks, is a good thing) there is an abundance—I mean an ah-bun-dance—of tools at your disposal. It’s 2020, folks, and digital connectivity could not be any easier or more readily available—you’ve just gotta snap out of that funk, brush your hair (and your teeth), open your computer, and make it work. 

Here are some of our favorite digital connectivity tools that keep our team talking, our clients in the loop, and overall, make us feel those #quaranteam vibes. 

Video chats and meetings 

Seeing each other is one way to feel closer to each other. (Duh.) Use your video tools to host meetings, set up virtual brainstorm sessions, FaceTime your mother, or hold happy hours (we do ours every Thursday). These moments will help replicate normalcy until our new normal is defined.  

Some of our favorite video tools are: 

  • Zoom -- The quality is killer, if you don’t pay, you can still use the platform for 30 minutes, good enough for check-ins and quick calls, and if you don’t feel like showing off your home, change your background to anything you’d like. Really…anything. 
  • Skype -- The OG of business calls is still alive and well and available for you to use whenever you need to see familiar faces, fast. 
  • Google Hangouts -- Here at Kicks, we use G Suite so Hangouts are a given for internal meetings, conversations, and when we’re all ready to crack open a Claw together, virtually. 

Instant messaging and chat

Did anyone else get flashbacks of AOL Instant Messager just now?

While we’re working remote, it’s important to maintain conversations, ask questions, and engage with one another throughout the day—without calling every five minutes. Chat platforms give us the ability to know we’re still alive, well, and working while also allowing users to put up “away” and “do not disturb” notices when they need to focus. 

We’re fans of: 

  • Slack -- Easy to use, easy to navigate, easy to have full conversations in GIFs, thanks to Giphy. We share news, life updates, clients' updates, and maintain a steady stream of communication daily with Slack. 
  • Microsoft Teams -- For those out there who use Office 365, Teams is your go-to chat tool, integrating seamlessly with the suite.
  • G Chat -- It may not be fancy, but anyone with a Gmail account has it, you don’t need to pay for it, and for questions, short conversations, and updates, it’s a no brainer. 

Project management 

It’s difficult to manage projects when we’re having trouble knowing what day it is or the last time we drove a car. Don’t fret! There are many project management tools to help keep your head on straight now and when quarantine ends. 

While finding the one for you is definitely a subjective task, we use Wrike and think the following are solid tools: 

  • Wrike -- We use it, we love it. It makes it easy to keep track of individual tasks, group projects, priorities, ongoing and one-off projects, and deadlines. Plus, the interface isn’t too busy or confusing. 
  • Basecamp -- If you’ve ever mentioned Basecamp in a group and watched people look longingly into the distance, it’s because Basecamp is wonderful. That is all. 
  • Monday -- One of the newer management softwares, Monday is a more visually-powered project manager, which is helpful for many, and it integrates with existing tools you may use. 

Design workspaces

You work hard to make work that hits people (nicely) in the face. Getting this work seen by clients and ready to share isn’t always easy when collecting feedback can only be discussed by a call or chat. With collaborative interfaces, you can gather client and teammate feedback, notes, questions, and ideas all in one place. 

We’re quite fond of: 

  • Figma -- Our web designs come to life without being launched with this tool, perfect for working on your projects together until they’re ready. 
  • Invision -- This free editing and mockup tool is great to display example work, build prototypes, and get feedback. 
  • Sketch -- Build your work, share your feedback, add plugins if needed, and test your ideas from one platform. 

No matter your budget, your scope, or your workflow, there are a slew of helpful tools out there to make staying connected while working remote as easy as putting on pants. 

We’d love to learn what other creatives like to use, so share some of your favorite tools to keep in touch, or check out our Instagram and leave us your favs there.

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