Remote work: whether you like it or not, you’re doing it. Luckily, tools can make the experience easier. But if you’re still adapting from an in-office setup, you might not be getting the most out of your software.
While many tools (like Trello!) are helping remote teams function on the daily, you could be adding complexity to your communication if you haven’t unlocked their full capabilities. Zoom, for example, is helping families, friends, and professional teams stay connected, while Trello helps those same people stay productive. Teams all around the world are realizing they can use the two tools in tandem.
Here’s a run through of how to use Trello and Zoom together seamlessly with your remote team.
Communication Considerations For Remote Teams
One of the most common hangups for newly remote workers is adapting to a different style of communication. Just like you adjust your communication etiquette when you work in an office setting, there are considerations for working remotely.
For example, consider the type of communication, and map it to the appropriate tool:
Quick communication: If you have an uncomplicated question that requires a short answer, use a chat tool. Chat tools are great for quick conversations and clarifying questions. They’re also great for social chatter (more on that later).
Status updates: If you need a status update on a certain task, go to the relevant Trello card and communicate there so you have a record that’s more easily referenced. Trello’s comment activity means that anyone who needs to figure out the information can easily hop to the relevant card, see the question, and its answer.
And this is perhaps the most important one:
Long or sensitive communication: If you have a nuanced, complicated question, or maybe you have to talk about a sensitive topic, without a question: hop on a video call. While chatting may be faster, there is a lot of tone and nuance that is lost when you’re typing an answer.
People don’t always assume your intent when they can’t see your face and read your facial cues. So it’s super important to hash out more complicated communication “face to face.”
How To Use Trello And Zoom For Updates And Bonding
One popular Trello use case is the Team Meeting Board.
On it is a list for each weekly meeting. A template list is copied for each week and the list is renamed to the date of the meeting.
When it’s time for the meeting and everyone has gathered on a Zoom video call, the meeting lead goes through the cards on that week’s list for discussion.
- Anyone can add a card for discussion throughout the week, which is a great asynchronous process that doesn’t rely on people trying to remember what they wanted to talk about when it’s time for the meeting to start.
- Use recurring cards in your list template to celebrate team wins and discuss setbacks in an open forum.
One popular Zoom and Trello workflow uses the above team meeting board and takes it a step further to create team bonding moments. This is used often for larger meetings like all-company town halls, then leverages the breakout feature in Zoom.
Essentially, the entire company comes together once a month for a town hall style of announcements and discussions on a higher level. It’s a great time to understand what other teams are working on, and to hear about wider company goals from leadership. Because everyone at the company is required to attend, it’s also a great place for remote bonding.
The final 15 minutes of the town hall are reserved for breakout rooms. The Zoom meeting host has the ability to break the meeting out into smaller groups. The groups are randomly generated, so it’s likely you’ll end up in a group of folks with whom you don’t often work closely. The groups then use those 15 minutes to chat about life, hobbies, family, or the world.
Once the meeting has ended, take a screenshot of your group and post it to a card on the Team Bonding Board, under the list for that week’s meeting. Add a comment about what everyone discussed.
This is a fun exercise because anyone on the board can scroll through the activity feed on the Trello board to identify common interests. For example, you could see that two people in a different group both recently traveled somewhere where you are planning an upcoming trip. Voila! Sightseeing recs galore.
Zoom Etiquette Pro Tips
If you’re new to interacting with your teammates on Zoom, here are a few best practices that will help you get acclimated:
- Hardware: You’ll probably want to use headphones. It’s the best experience for sound and for a mic.
- Discussion: Keep your video and mic on at all times if you can. It makes the meeting more interactive and more like you’re in person. You can mute if there’s background noise, which can be distracting to others. Mic on meetings work best for meetings of approximately 40 people or fewer.
- Connecting by phone: You are able to use a phone to dial into the meeting phone number, like a conference call, but it’s the least quality experience and should only be used in a pinch.
- Connectivity: If your internet is acting up, try turning off your video. That can help latency catch up. Otherwise, use your computer and hardwire into your internet connection.
- Chat: Not everyone feels comfortable talking out loud on a video call. The chat feature can be a great way to type in a comment or question. It’s not considered rude to type while someone is talking. If someone is presenting, you may want to appoint a person to monitor the chat for questions on behalf of the presenter.
- Accounts: A free Zoom account offers unlimited members in the Zoom, however there is a 40 minute time limit. It will count down the last few minutes so you’ll get a warning.
Be A Pro On Your Remote Team Calls
Hopefully this Zoom + Trello crash course will help you navigate the basics of improving your remote work experience.
At first this new way of communicating can seem unnatural, but with some practice you’ll find that remote work can feel seamless, will always keep a record of conversation and decisions, and can feel as friendly as a stop and chat in the office kitchen.
Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)