Homeworking



  • You can setup groups very easily in Skype. We do it all the time.

    We have a management team group
    Helpdesk group
    ScreenConnect migration group
    etc. etc.



  • Oh and this is normal skype not SfB (that sucks)


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    We use Skype already, although I don't use it myself, so I will look at that, but I'm assuming Skype currently lacks the team features of Slack.

    How do team features apply with two people?



  • I think he is looking for a way for their users to contact them via a chat versus dropping by the office.


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    I believe it does, but I haven't used it. Note that I'm not just looking at chat between IT staff, I'm looking at using it company wide for users to chat to us.

    Again, FreshDesk 🙂 Have a chat window on the support page, this doubles up because if no one is online, they get to fill in a ticket.

    You want to drive people to as few sources as possible.



  • I'll take a look. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I find Freshdesk a bit mediocre. It's ok as a ticketing system, but I'm not sure how much I want to extend it to other areas.



  • Why do they walk into your office/workspace now? Seems like a huge waste of time. why not call or email about a problem?



  • Because we're awesome and people just like to hang out with us



  • @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    Because we're awesome and people just like to hang out with us

    LOL - well, with logic like that, what is there to be done 😛


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in Homeworking:

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    Because we're awesome and people just like to hang out with us

    LOL - well, with logic like that, what is there to be done 😛

    I think that the only answer is for the whole team to move to the house with the guy working remotely then!



  • Your whole team needs to be aware of the changes and important things can't simply be yelling around the office any more.

    You need more than one-on-one chat. Your whole company should already be using some kind of chat, if used for nothing more than "heading to lunch" or "I'll be gone tomorrow" type messages. We only used our Skype for stuff like collecting lunch orders for example, but at least it's there.
    Slack has the ability to just "be there" with everybody even if not used much. It can be handy for passing files, screenshots, links, groups and DMs.

    If Slack is too heavy and email is too whatever and phone texting is too cumbersome, and Skype is too "meh". Then you need something that fits in the middle, like Telegram or What's App.
    Telegram is chat but you have desktop, web, and phone clients that can be used. It's not as "big" as Skype or Slack but not as cumbersome as just texting. Plus you don't have the message longevity limits like Slack does. Messages are also encrypted.

    Trello is really a project-based tool, which can still come in handy for historical purposed. Put meeting notes there, roadmaps, idea boards, upcoming sales information, whatever. Your remote guy can easily take part in projects via Trello and communications via Telegram, Slack, or Skype, and then of course email.

    Your remote guy should have access to the other employees as far as chat, so I wouldn't stick with one-on-one messaging. You never know.

    Take a look at Telegram's features and compare to Skype and Slack and even Freshdesk. But chat/messaging tools are not the same category as Trello, that's project management and is compared to tools like Producteev and Asana or even Basecamp.

    Lastly, you don't have "control" over the remote person's hours and time per se, so you have to change focus to tasks or goals and benchmarks and projects.
    Don't think "how do I know how many hours he works"; think "is he getting work done that satisfies employment."
    In other words, is he getting satisfactory work done in reasonable time, versus trying to time track which is only a measurement of time, not work. You might even consider going salaried since time-tracking makes less sense with a remote worker. Unless their job is heavily based on particular hours "doing stuff".

    Good luck!


  • Service Provider

    We use Skype extensively. Partially because the core teams are several buildings away from each other. But it is good, because if someone is not local, they always see what is going on.



  • Skype while not the most stable thing in the world. Has been the best option for us. Works across multiple platforms all at the same time (I can be at my desk and move to my phone or tablet without skipping a beat).

    We can video conference to see live humans once in awhile.

    We can screen share.

    We can pick on each other (major regular all day long thing here)

    We can keep in contact all day long and share issues with a support item and have team collaboration

    We can just hang out and do things like watch a movie at the same time and comment back and forth

    We also can search the history really easily and keep track of old information when some bone head forgets to put them in their ticket notes.



  • We have a ticket system, we have SharePoint and OneDrive etc. for organization but skype keeps us in contact and in the loop. Being out of the loop for someone who is states, or literally across the world is detrimental to team building.



  • @guyinpv said in Homeworking:

    Don't think "how do I know how many hours he works"; think "is he getting work done that satisfies employment."
    In other words, is he getting satisfactory work done in reasonable time, versus trying to time track which is only a measurement of time, not work. You might even consider going salaried since time-tracking makes less sense with a remote worker. Unless their job is heavily based on particular hours "doing stuff".

    Good luck!

    We're all salaried here. Agree with focusing on how much work is being done rather than how many hours are being worked though. Most companies are focused on measuring hours worked - partly because it's easier to measure than work achieved, especially in IT where it's not like you can count the number of widgets a worker has produced in a week as you can with a factory line. I just need to figure out some KPIs.



  • Sounds like Skype FTW. Do you login with your O365 accounts or do you need separate personal Microsoft accounts?



  • I use my Microsoft account for it . Not Office365 that is not the same thing.



  • @Minion-Queen said in Homeworking:

    I use my Microsoft account for it . Not Office365 that is not the same thing.

    You're using Skype not Skype for Business, right?



  • Correct. SfB is unreliable at best (might be better than last time I tried but I doubt it). It also doesn't easily do the continuous group chats the free skype does. BIGGEST issue is you can't leave it connected on multiple devices at once. we all tend to wander etc. so move from desktop to laptop to cell phone without missing a beat. With SfB if you leave it open multiple places half the time none of them get messages or they only go to one device etc., it's a big PITA!



  • I don't understand why MS hasn't killed the old Lync product and moved fully to the 'Skype' product and just expand that. It seems like such a better and more mature platform.



  • @Dashrender said in Homeworking:

    I don't understand why MS hasn't killed the old Lync product and moved fully to the 'Skype' product and just expand that. It seems like such a better and more mature platform.

    I agree.



  • @Breffni-Potter said in Homeworking:

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    I believe it does, but I haven't used it. Note that I'm not just looking at chat between IT staff, I'm looking at using it company wide for users to chat to us.

    Again, FreshDesk 🙂 Have a chat window on the support page, this doubles up because if no one is online, they get to fill in a ticket.

    You want to drive people to as few sources as possible.

    I believe chat is only available on their mid-priced plans and higher (from $25 per agent). We're only on the free plan. I'm not sure it's a feature worth paying for at the moment.


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    @Breffni-Potter said in Homeworking:

    @Carnival-Boy said in Homeworking:

    I believe it does, but I haven't used it. Note that I'm not just looking at chat between IT staff, I'm looking at using it company wide for users to chat to us.

    Again, FreshDesk 🙂 Have a chat window on the support page, this doubles up because if no one is online, they get to fill in a ticket.

    You want to drive people to as few sources as possible.

    I believe chat is only available on their mid-priced plans and higher (from $25 per agent). We're only on the free plan. I'm not sure it's a feature worth paying for at the moment.

    That's a big jump in cost.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in Homeworking:

    I don't understand why MS hasn't killed the old Lync product and moved fully to the 'Skype' product and just expand that. It seems like such a better and more mature platform.

    My guess is that they never figured out how to integrate it.



  • What about Discord? https://discordapp.com/

    I know this isn't necessarily its intended use, but it kind of gives you the best of both worlds. Immediately available voice chat, and strait text-based conversations. Just request that he remains logged in and available during his regular work hours.

    It has a dedicated app, and works out of the browser as well.



  • And per "Discord Dan", it can be used for legitimate business without breaking ToS.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/3olnl5/discord_for_business/


  • Service Provider

    @RamblingBiped said in Homeworking:

    What about Discord? https://discordapp.com/

    I know this isn't necessarily its intended use, but it kind of gives you the best of both worlds. Immediately available voice chat, and strait text-based conversations. Just request that he remains logged in and available during his regular work hours.

    It has a dedicated app, and works out of the browser as well.

    TEsting it out. Quick look it seems nice.



  • Looks good but I need to discourage this particular employee from going on gaming forums, not encourage them.



  • Cos I can see this being his life:

    Youtube Video



  • If your company happens to have paid Github accounts, you can try Gitter which is free and create private channels/groups.
    Gitter is pretty cool by default but on free Github accounts your essentially in public chat.

    Slack now has audio too.

    Not saying you shouldn't try Skype, I haven't used it in a couple years, I just never liked it. It was like an app that didn't know what it wanted to be when it grew up, so it was very clunky at any particular feature. Mediocre voice, mediocre chat, etc.