At Shift Collaborative, we make Shift happen from the comfort of our homes! But as everyone now knows, working from home – WFH for short – is not always easy. That’s why our team relies on good tools and routines to help us keep our projects moving forward each day.
Don’t worry: this isn’t yet another article about how you too can work remotely. Rather, it’s a look “behind the scenes” where you can hear directly from the Shift team: what tools do you love and rely on?
“In a recent blog post, we discussed internal and external communications tools, and Slack is my favorite by far. I like to say that I worked from home, or worked remotely, before it was trendy (i.e. prior to 2020). I remember what it was like to work remotely without Slack and now it is so critical to internal company communications that I can’t imagine working without it. Pros are that you can keep team members in the loop and projects organized. As with most WFH tools you can install it on your phone so you can keep up-to-date with notifications if you step out for a coffee. Cons are that if you don’t turn off your notifications, or mute them between certain hours, you might accidentally see a message from work when you are…well, not working!”
“I love that working from home gives me time to enjoy parks. It’s a long commute to and from the office. Before we were fully remote, I enjoyed decompressing on the drive home with time to just think and replay conversations. But WFH means that instead of driving in the car and walking blocks between parking and the office, I can instead spend evenings in different parks, or walking different neighborhoods of my town of Butler, PA. In the time it would take me to drive home from Pittsburgh, I can enjoy a walk and sunset over Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. Parks aren’t what we normally think of when we think of WFH tools, but they absolutely make a difference in and support my work week.”
“Working from home’s been pretty nice since I can work from a library, a coffee shop, or my stoop whenever I need a change of scenery. As far as general tools go, I’m a fan of Google Calendar. It’s been useful both inside and outside of work to keep track of meetings, appointments, events, etc. For work-specific tools, I have a love-hate relationship with Adobe and their silly shenanigans. Depending on the day, Illustrator and Photoshop can be my favorite and least favorite tool.”
“I enjoy working from home very much. The five second commute really suits my lifestyle. I’m also the sort of person who gets lost easily, even with a GPS, so being able to meet virtually with clients has dramatically reduced stress about meetings. Plus, virtual meeting tools make it easy to share my screen or see a client screen, which is terrific for troubleshooting support issues. Even so, there is one thing that frustrates me, which is that all the virtual meeting tools put their controls in different locations on the screen, with different icons. Every time I want to paste something into the meeting chat, or share my screen, or whatever, I have to search for the control. Maddening! Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams: I invite you to get together and sort this out.”
“It’s not one specific WFH tool, but I really enjoy the entire Google Suite. I think many people take for granted (I do sometimes) how simple and seamless the Google Suite experience is. Each application is powerful in its own right, but when used together, you can do so much.”
“I cannot live without my monitor. This isn’t a work from home tool specifically, but at the same time a monitor is not something that easily travels, which means that I only have it when I work from home. While I used to get away with only working on a single screen (i.e. my laptop’s), I now find it almost impossible to function without my monitor. It lets me see twice as much at once, making it easy to look back and forth between meetings, meeting notes, and any other tabs or windows I have open to support me as I focus on project management tasks and planning. I admit that on the days I have to travel and work without my monitor, I am not the happiest camper!”
“While not specific to WFH, Sunsama is my favorite work app. It is a daily planner that has a visual calendar and to-do list layout, which allows me to be more focused and intentional with my workday. Sunsama imports my meetings from Google Calendar and my task list from Asana, so my meetings and deadlines are all in one place. The UI allows you to drag and drop your to-do items across the weekly layout, so as due dates and priorities change, it’s easy to reorder my tasks. I can tag tasks by personal and work, and even drill down to each individual client or project. I am a huge fan and recommend it to anyone!”
“Home office ergonomics is something that doesn’t get enough attention. My adjustable standing desk from IKEA has been a game changer for my WFH setup. It might not be a digital tool per se, but it helps me maintain good posture and keeps me energized throughout the day. Switching between sitting and standing helps me stay focused and productive. It also reduces the physical strain that comes with long hours in front of a computer. It may seem like a big investment upfront, but I’m hoping it will pay off in the long run in terms of health and productivity.”
“A vital tool in my day-to-day WFH routine is Asana, which allows our team to manage tasks for any given project. Of course, this platform plays a fundamental role in keeping things running smoothly and delivered on time, but it’s the additional features within the program that I love. For example, the creation of subtasks puts me in the right state of mind when understanding what a project may entail, and the description field is useful for inputting any important client feedback, links, or notes that can be easily accessed when it’s time to begin working. All in all, the structure and ability to customize the platform to fit our needs allows it to operate as a pretty robust workspace, and I can’t imagine getting anything done without it!”
“I relish the flexibility that comes with working from home. I can start early, or work late, and still fit in life things such as cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, and tennis. I suppose on the flip side that means work is always near, at arm’s length, or a room away. I do miss the separation of work and home that came with going into the office. As far as tools I use and love, I’m with Gabe —Google Suite is something I cannot live without. Google Drive in particular is important to all that we do at Shift. It houses all of our files and I like the challenge of adapting our organization’s folder structure as we use it more and more over the years.”
We love working remotely – and we love working with you!
As you can see, the Shift team loves working from home because of the many ways we can stay organized and connected throughout the work week. Most importantly, we can use our tools to stay in touch with the wonderful organizations we partner with!
If you are interested in chatting about how we can help you with your website, design, branding, campaign, or marketing projects (in Pittsburgh or beyond), contact us. We’d love to talk with you about your project needs – and about your own favorite WFH tools!