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Coronavirus | Remote working support platform | Now free for our charity/education clients

Coronavirus | Remote working support platform | Now free for our charity/education clients

We have always offered a discount of 50% off standard terms for our charity and education clients.

With the current global coronavirus outbreak, we have made the decision to now make our platform completely free for these types of organisation (at least until the end of 2020 – hopefully to get us the other side of this disruptive period – we will review thereafter).

Method Grid is designed to enable collaborative remote-working (structured process capture/share, project/task management, team chat messaging etc.)  – especially so for teams engaged in repeatable processes/project type work.

So – if it can help play even a small part in easing the disruption you may be facing in coming weeks/months – please just speak to us about getting a free account up and running for you.

You can make first contact via help@methodgrid.com – or – 0203 920 6844.

 

Transitioning to remote working | A simple guide

Many organisations will have moved – at least in part – to remote working practices in recent years.

If, however, this health situation is forcing you to move into very unchartered operational territory, then here are just a few thoughts to consider – to make the working-model transition as smooth as it can be (with specific reference to how a Method Grid account can help facilitate).

1. IT Hardware

The brutal reality for many (especially charity/educational) organisations moving to an enforced remote-working situation is the provision of IT hardware (staff are often unlikely to have provisioned resources outside of their normal office/operating environment). The good news is that services such as Method Grid are cloud-based i.e. your staff can use a wide variety of device to access (desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone); similarly, the platform is available via a wide variety of browsers – as per the spectrum of what is likely to exist in home environments. This (forced) transition is, however, no time to compromise data security and privacy practices – so ensure any provided solution has leading practices in this regard. See here for Method Grid data and IP security (scroll down the page).

2. Establish regular (daily/weekly) practices

A big factor to consider with remote working is how best to ensure team-wide communications and, frankly, morale. Done badly, individual employees (especially those used to fixed site, communal working) can quickly start to feel very extended, lonely and disconnected from their wider team.

The “oh it is great to work from home” autonomy and glow often very quickly dissipates.

Teams that do this routinely and well, will have very established communication patterns; essentially there will be a central “drumbeat” around which all organisational communications cascade – allowing everybody to stay very connected and engaged. For (simple) example, you might want to consider a “all hands” conference call at the start of the week and a “week close down” call at the end. On a daily basis, sub-unit teams might want to establish a similar protocol – but keep these to really short and sharp time-boxes.

2. Use comments/chat feature to keep connected with colleagues

A key tool for any remote working team will be online collaborative chat. You can chat with colleagues within Method Grid using the comment/chat feature. If a colleague is online (good practice is to ensure that if they are in working hours – all colleagues are online), this chat can happen live within the app. If the colleague is offline an email will be sent to them after a certain period – with the chat comment referenced. You can @name a colleague to message them directly or @all for organisation-wide notes.

There are some great dedicated chat apps out there (albeit not all will be free for teams) and your Method Grid account can integrate seamlessly with these. See here for more on how that works.

Integrations we particularly like and recommend in this regard:

(1) Google Chat

(2) Microsoft Teams

(3) Slack

3. Create a dedicated announcement location

During this anomalous period, you will want to think about a central digital location – where all live updates to your staff can be located. In Method Grid, this might for example be a central grid (that everyone can access) to which you append live updates. If you are using another chat app (as per above) you might want to create a dedicated channel for this purpose.

4. Collaborate around different grid designs – as contingent on the type of work you do

Structured, project based delivery:

Method Grid primarily facilitates teams undertaking repeatable, structured services – that might typically be viewed as a project. In this primary “use case” a master grid template of how you deliver such a service can be quickly built as a common reference for your entire team.

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More ad-hoc, agile-type delivery:

Another “use case” is more dynamic, agile type working – where “units” of work are being progressed through a set of workflow stages. For example, the development team here at Method Grid work to a fortnightly release (sprint) schedule and, to manage this, they use a grid in a different way (essentially as a “kanban board”). If your collaborative work is more about tracking such units/cases of work through this workflow – Method Grid can allow you to easily see the “big picture” and help you collaborate at the individual case level.

 

5. Use dashboards to track personal and team-based project/task progress

Within Method Grid, you can assign individual-owners and “due dates” to individual tasks (you can also assign ownership to elements/stages/themes/grids but that will all become clearer as you get used to the platform). These tasks can be viewed at the individual level in personalised dashboards (showing all your open tasks), the project/grid level and, indeed, the wider organisational level (project/grid status dashboard).

If you have built a structured template for project-based working (per point 4), you can easily clone such a master grid into a specific instance of delivery – assigning all aspects to the specific project team.

 

In short, the platform can support team-wide visibility of who is doing what – and where you are with respect to this work – such that collaborative support is enabled.

6. Integrate all your tools/apps into one place

Remote working is likely to really motivate an effort to bring together all your key tools and applications into one place. In this regard, Method Grid works seamlessly with common document management systems (e.g. Google Drive, Microsoft Sharepoint, Dropbox, Box etc); you can also export task assignment to common calendars (Outlook, Google, Apple iCal etc).

7. Provide everyone easy access to wider staff contact details

With same site working, you may have never had to really bother with a central, digital, commonly-shared staff contact table. With remote working, this will be far more critical – such contact information needs to be widely accessible. If it doesn’t already exist, you can build this out in Method Grid via bespoke profile fields – see here for help on this.

If your organisation has a single sign on (SSO) service (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Okta) this can be harnessed also; direct your IT colleagues here for more on that.

8. Connect with your wider stakeholders

It is easy to forget when you move to a new working model that this can be as unsettling and disruptive to your wider stakeholders (customers, suppliers etc.) as it is for your staff. As such, you should give some thought as to how you maintain excellent connectivity with key “critical others” during this transition. Using Method Grid, you might – for example – want to consider adding in key suppliers/clients as “External members” to your platform to view, and collaborate on, key aspects they are involved in – this can all be done via configurable access control (allowing you to define who sees what across the platform). You can read more on adding external members here and more on configurable access control here.


Hopefully, all helpful for organisations being forced to consider such remote-working measures.

There is a stack of help resources to be found in our user help portal – but if we can assist you further with such a transitioning exercise, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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