As an organization with employees across the country, Casebook PBC has long been committed to being a remote friendly workplace. As a result, we’ve learned a few things on setting yourself up for the current state of increased social isolation.
We’ve asked our friend Shelly Palmer, who’s a global expert on remote work, to share with us some advice on tools considerations when working remotely.
A Business Phone with a Separate Phone Number
In a perfect world, you will have a separate business phone with its own phone number. Voice is an app; calls are super inexpensive. A separate phone number is critical if you are going to turn it off at quitting time. Again, that’s what voicemail is for.
For modern answering services that can combine forwarded landline calls and cell phone calls, I’m a fan of talkroute.com. It’s relatively inexpensive, and it gives you all kinds of flexibility routing voice calls. You can also use Google Voice if you quickly need a separate number you want to manage.
If you work for a company, there’s a very good chance you already have your own conference line(s).
We record every call. After-action reports (and thank you notes) are generated and sent. It’s just like working at work, except everything is super tightly scheduled. If you don’t have an admin, calendly.com is a very good scheduling tool. If you don’t have your own conference calling service, I’m a fan of freeconferencecalling.com but almost every messaging app has voice calling capability.
A VPN for Security
You need your broadband connection to be secure. If your company does not use a VPN, that’s their problem. You need to use one. I’m a fan of encrypt.me, but there are dozens of others such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost. Ask your CTO or the IT peeps at your company first. If they don’t have a favorite solution, find one you like. A VPN is absolutely necessary (no matter where you are working from).
A solid broadband connection
- The bigger the pipe, the easier and faster you can get stuff done. All the major carriers are offering 1 Gbps connectivity. You probably don’t need that much bandwidth. 300 Mbps will do nicely in most cases. Check your upstream capacity. Many services are asymmetrical. If you have a lot of files to upload every day, you’re going to want the fastest upload times you can afford.
The danger with messaging apps is that they can be extremely interruptive when you are working remotely. We use very specific protocols for messaging in our organization. There are specific channels for specific things and a set of rules for each. Messaging is an artform and, depending on the culture of your organization, it can be either an enabling technology or the destroyer of worlds. And yes, sadly, email is still the killer app