February 16 2021
Last year, our blog ‘How working as a remote team boosts creativity’ was inspired by the fact that we made the move to a remote model back in 2015, and therefore had some nuggets of knowledge and reassurance to pass on to those who were forced into making that step (or leap!) almost overnight as the pandemic hit.
Having now made that move, more and more businesses are realising the benefits and considering making the move permanent. So, we thought we’d dig a bit deeper into one aspect that’s been crucial to making our remote working model a success – choosing the correct collaboration and productivity tools.
Having a robust set of systems and the right software behind the scenes streamlines time so efficiently that it means there is more time to dedicate to the job in hand. For a creative company like Door 22, it frees up the maximum amount of time for us to be creative. And this is exactly what we want to be able to do – spend as much time on the creative side as possible in order to deliver the absolute best projects for our clients, on time and on budget – time and time again.
We have spent many (many!) hours finding the right tools for Door 22 – and, while the choice is ever-changing as new options appear, here is a list of our favourites…
A task and project management tool that makes creating workflows for the whole team very straightforward, ProWorkflow is the real anchor to our project management. We log all of our projects here and can easily keep track of them – starting from quoting and scheduling and going right through to execution, completion and invoicing. We love the cross-team clarity it gives, not just for the project manager but for the whole team, including designers, admin and finance.
The alternative to the studio pinboard, Milanote provides a fun and relaxed way of organising and sharing the foundations of a creative project – it essentially allows you to create online mood boards. The drag and drop feature means you can easily add all different mediums – images, photos, sketches, video, text. This tool really energises the team because its informality allows everyone to share openly.
An old favourite, we’ve used Trello for a long time. We mainly use it to plan our social media these days, but some of our clients who work in an Agile way use it to plan their sprints and find the kanban board style of this software really effective to use in their everyday operations.
Google keeps changing the name of its business suites but it seems to have settled on Workspace for now. The nuts and bolts of the business, it provides everything from email and spreadsheets, to presentations and video calls. Being cloud-based means we’re able to collaborate directly on documents with each other and clients, which really increases productivity and helps move projects along.
Dropbox is a long-standing essential tool for the business. It’s a multifunctional toolbox that allows us to store, share, back-up and present. Dropbox is constantly adding features to its software and the integration with other platforms is second to none. It’s also a very familiar piece of software that the majority of people are used to using, so works well for us and our clients.
Another option to Dropbox for sending large files, we often use WeTransfer. It’s especially useful for clients who cannot access Dropbox due to firewall restrictions in their organisation. We find the fact that you can see when someone has downloaded and viewed your file really useful.
Gone are the days of having paper receipts and invoices flying all over the place. Xero and Hubdoc work brilliantly together and mean we can easily upload all our paperwork into one place and keep our books and accounts in order really efficiently. Xero also integrates with ProWorkflow, which keeps everything nice and streamlined.
Over the past year, picking up the phone has become a thing of the past (although we are still quite perplexed about that). With so many people now working remotely, people are seeking more ‘face-to-face’ interaction over video calls. The key here is being flexible as to which platforms clients prefer, but our personal favourite is Google Meet (part of the Workspace suite) as it just takes a couple of clicks on a meeting invite to set up the call.
This is the newest addition to our collaboration and productivity toolbox – when we say ‘ours’, we really mean Emma’s. And she’s having great fun with it!
Amazing Marvin helps you to get things ticked off your to-do list and allows you to create categories of different types of tasks. It also helps you beat procrastination, so is really useful for making sure you get those tasks that always seem to drop to the bottom of your list done. There are so many software options for creating to-do lists, but Amazing Marvin has been created based on behavioural psychology principles, so it taps into what makes YOU work. It’s quite a new productivity tool and they are adding features all the time and the support is excellent.
Emma loves it because it almost gamifies her to-do list. Have you heard of the Eat That Frog principle? Where if you had to eat a frog as part of your day, you should do it first thing to get it out of the way so it doesn’t overshadow everything else you do? And… for every task you complete, little Marvin does a dance! What’s not to like?
So there you have it – our handful of favourite tools. The time investment to find the ones that work for us has been well worth it and pays its dividends over and over again in maximising on the collaboration, productivity and, in our case, creativity of the business.
If you have any questions or would like to chat further, feel free to get in touch. We love to chat about our successful remote working model!