Categories
Future of work online meetings productivity remote work

7 Whiteboard Templates for Reimagined Collaboration and Improved Processes

Processes, workflows, and team goals are constantly evolving regardless of the size of your organization, and collaboration tools are essential for documenting and maintaining all of them. Among these tools, online whiteboard applications are indispensable for teams to brainstorm, plan, and track projects visually and collaboratively. To maximize the benefits of these tools, using the right templates can transform how your team works together. We’ve gathered seven of our most popular templates that you can use today to reimagine and reinvigorate any of your collaborative workflows.

7 Different Templates to Try

  1. Organizational Chart

While internal HR systems make it easy for team members to see who their leaders or direct reports are, they often take time to update and are often not as flexible as we’d like them to be. A standard org chart is useful, but a dynamic chart showing relationships between your team and other teams, departments, or external partners can better illustrate your workflows.

  1. Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is essential for marketing teams as well as sales and product teams. -Mapping the entire customer life cycle helps your team understand your customers, their goals, and their experience with your product. Building a clear customer journey helps to surface potential gaps in both the market and the product that your team can work to fill in your industry.

  1. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis

SWOT analysis helps teams of all sizes and calibers make informed decisions and prioritize the next steps for improving the outcomes of any organization. By regularly identifying and leveraging their strengths, teams can achieve their goals more efficiently and boost morale, often leading to higher productivity. Recognizing weaknesses, spotting opportunities, and identifying threats help teams improve, innovate, and manage risks to stay competitive and forward-thinking. 

  1. User Story Map

While marketing, sales, and support teams will need to utilize the broader Customer Journey template mentioned above, engineering, product development, and quality assurance teams will find benefits in the User Story map. This helps teams visualize the end user’s journey within your product, ensuring a clear understanding of user needs and goals. Organizing and prioritizing user stories streamlines product development, ensuring efficient and focused progress. Additionally, user story mapping aids in identifying gaps and dependencies in various product workflows, so you can ensure a high-quality product is delivered. This approach can further enhance collaboration among team members, promote a user-centric development process, and ensure that the final product aligns with your users’ expectations. 

  1. Process Mapping

Process mapping offers significant benefits to your organization. It helps teams visualize workflows and understand the sequence of activities involved in a process. Documenting frequently repeated processes enables your team to work more independently, reducing the need for assistance Outlined processes also make it easier for leaders to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, enabling teams to streamline operations and improve their productivity. Clearly outlining processes promotes better communication and collaboration for cross-functional teams, makes aligning team members on process steps and objectives easier, and standardizes procedures for consistency and quality.

  1. Eisenhower Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is a tried and true approach to task prioritization. It helps prioritize tasks by categorizing them based on urgency and importance, ensuring that high-priority tasks receive the most attention. Doing so improves time management and helps reduce the stress in decision-making, as individuals can focus on what truly matters without being overwhelmed by less critical tasks. This approach increases productivity by helping people work more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, it ensures that focus remains on high-impact activities that contribute significantly to personal and organizational goals, ultimately leading to better outcomes and success.

  1. Kanban Framework

The Kanban method brings several great benefits to the table for task management and tracking. It uses a simple board system to visualize tasks, so teams can easily see what’s being worked on and spot any bottlenecks. By setting limits on how much work is in progress, the Kanban system helps keep your team’s workload balanced and aids in reducing inefficiencies. Use this board to help improve teamwork and communication since everyone can track progress and stay on the same page. Plus, Kanban encourages regular reviews and tweaks to processes, leading to better productivity and a smoother workflow overall.

Customizing Templates in Whiteboard

While there are many more professionally designed templates available for your team to use in Whiteboard,- you can also easily create and save your own templates to meet all of your collaboration needs.

When you’re ready to get more from your whiteboard, get started for free with Frameable Whiteboard.

Rethink your team collaboration with Whiteboard

Try for free
Categories
Hybrid work remote work Virtual Training

5 Essential Tools You Need For Effective Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Online learning isn’t just an alternative option to face-to-face training—it’s become the backbone of employee training and development. With remote, hybrid, and distributed work models cemented into many organizations, there is an increasing demand for powerful virtual training tools that can provide just as high of a return on your investment as in-person training. Dive into this exploration of five essential tools that promise to transform your Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) sessions, maximizing engagement, productivity, and impact.

1. Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are indispensable for VILT, enabling instructors to present ideas and concepts visually and interactively. Tools like Miro or Whiteboard by Frameable allow participants to contribute in real-time, fostering a collaborative space where ideas can flourish and group thinking can affect productive learning. Whether mapping out timelines, drawing diagrams, or brainstorming with sticky notes, these whiteboards make virtual training sessions more tactile and engaging, helping participants feel connected despite the physical distance.

2. Polling and Quiz Tools

To keep participants active and engaged, incorporating interactive elements like polls and quizzes is an easy and quick solution to shake up any lesson. Tools like Kahoot! and Poll Everywhere facilitate real-time interaction, providing instant feedback to trainers and learners alike. These tools are fantastic for breaking up longer sessions, assessing knowledge retention, and encouraging participation, making learning both interactive and effective.

3. Digital Breakout Rooms

Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams all offer digital breakout rooms, a crucial feature for successful VILT. These rooms allow participants to work in smaller groups on exercises or discussions, allowing training to function as it does in a classroom setting. Breakout rooms are perfect for small group discussions, working sessions, and teamwork exercises, helping to break the monotony of longer training sessions and ensuring that every participant can contribute meaningfully. For the most effective breakout sessions, try Overview by Frameable, which offers a single view of all concurrent training sessions in real time. It allows trainees to join the right sessions at the right time. It even allows trainers to easily host office hours so that any questions get answered promptly as they come up.

4. Multiple Screen Sharing

If your organization uses Microsoft Teams (and a whopping one million organizations do), you may have noticed the limitation in sharing multiple screens simultaneously during video conferencing. Yet, the ability to share multiple screens simultaneously is essential for effective collaborative training sessions. MultiShare by Frameable allows participants to share multiple screens in a Microsoft Teams call. Multishare is a tool that enables instructors to monitor the learning process effectively. With the capability to view all trainees’ screens simultaneously, instructors can effortlessly track progress and quickly identify areas where trainees may be facing challenges. This real-time oversight allows for immediate intervention and support, ensuring that no one falls behind during the session.

5. Asynchronous Learning Platforms

Not everyone learns at the same pace, and sometimes it’s impossible to coordinate a training time with a dispersed, global team. Having on-demand or recorded training sessions allows trainees to refresh and absorb all of the content at a pace that works best for them. Asynchronous tools such as Loom or Frame.io complement live training sessions by allowing participants to access pre-recorded videos, readings, and exercises at their convenience. These platforms empower trainees to review content at their own pace, which is particularly beneficial for reinforcing learning or accommodating different time zones.

Integration and Implementation:

Implementing new tools often causes a lot of complications and looping in internal technology teams to help with accessing your organization’s infrastructure. It’s essential to both identify the tools that work best for your training sessions and also integrate them with existing systems. To make it easy on trainers and organizations, consider solutions that are already available inside of the tools your organization uses, or explore add-ons that enhance existing functionality. Using familiar tools means your teams won’t have to spend more time getting acquainted with a new system before they can start learning.

The Future of VILT in Microsoft Teams

Virtual instructor-led training doesn’t have to be a second-best alternative to face-to-face interactions. With the right tools, VILT can be just as engaging, interactive, and effective in Microsoft Teams. Ready to transform your virtual training sessions in Microsoft Teams? Discover how Frameable can elevate your VILT experience. Whether you’re looking to foster better visibility, encourage spontaneous collaboration, or simply make your training sessions more engaging, Frameable has you covered for virtual training.

Try Frameable for virtual training

Try now
Categories
Hybrid work remote work

Improving Incident Response Workflows for Your Remote Team

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

New research from PwC cites that 38% of tech leaders report an increase in their organization’s exposure to security threats. No team wants to fall victim to a cyber security attack or huge roadblocks, but in this day and age preparing for a variety of complex incidents that may befall your team is the best strategy for success. When something goes wrong, the outcome can either be the result of preparation or be filled with anxiety and errors. Ensuring your team knows exactly how to handle a data breach or mitigate a PR crisis is crucial to ensuring your team stays agile and capable of protecting your assets, clients, and more. This is where a tried and tested incident response plan is necessary for your success.

The Essence of Incident Response

Incident response (IR) is a structured methodology for handling security breaches and cyber threats so that organizations can quickly contain and mitigate the threat and its effects. “It is essential for businesses of all sizes and sectors to prepare for incident response.” You don’t want to inform clients that their data is still at risk or that the problem still needs to be resolved days after a breach.

For remote teams, the dynamics of incident response workflows take on additional layers of complexity. The unique demands of remote work require a new approach to IR, with communication, coordination, and security measures transcending physical boundaries. Remote teams must lean heavily on technology for real-time monitoring, automated alerts, and virtual collaboration tools to orchestrate their response efforts effectively. An example of this could be a remote team using encrypted communication channels to coordinate their response to a phishing attack that compromised several employee accounts, ensuring rapid isolation of affected systems and restoration of secure operations. While traditional tools can help get your team there, they often leave much to be desired when it comes to aiding efficiency and effective collaboration.

What to Consider When Forming an Incident Response Plan

Irrespective of industry, incident response plays a crucial role in many workflows. In healthcare, for example, a data breach might involve the unauthorized access of patient records, demanding swift action to secure data and notify affected individuals. In the financial sector, an incident could involve a sophisticated cyber-attack aimed at financial theft or data manipulation, requiring not just technical containment but also legal and regulatory responses. Meanwhile, in e-commerce, a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack could cripple online operations, necessitating rapid mitigation to restore service and protect against future attacks.

If your team faces even one of these situations mentioned above, you’ll want to consider how you will stay connected and agile while working to resolve the crisis. For remote teams, in particular, this presents a greater challenge. If you’re unable to physically join your team in a conference room to work on a problem, how can you stay informed, provide assistance, and have a comprehensive view of everything at once?

Crafting a Robust Incident Response Plan

A well-defined incident response plan is the linchpin of effective IR. You’ll want to consider how your team is currently set up, existing workflows that are already in place, and how your team works: remotely, hybrid, or a unique combination of the two. Most plans should include the following in some form or another:

  • Preparation: Establishing your IR team and equipping them with the tools and authority to act decisively. Developing processes and procedures for each team member that needs to be involved. Surveying your team is a great way to understand where they see areas for improvement or where they could use more support. This will likely look different for remote teams compared to teams that are on-site more often, thus making it even more important to do and conduct follow-up surveys regularly.
  • Identification: Outline processes for quickly detecting and assessing the scope of an incident.
  • Containment: Limiting the spread and impact of the incident to minimize damage, impact on affected individuals, and impact on your brand. For each of the following, a separate, detailed checklist of the steps that should always be taken should be created.
  • Eradication: Removing the threat or bug from the environment and taking steps to prevent the incident from occurring again.
  • Recovery: Restoring systems to normal operation and confirming the integrity of your product or organization is restored.
  • Lessons Learned & Documentation: Review the outcome incident to improve future IR processes. This is the time to reflect and update checklists, necessary documentation, and other items to make future incidents solvable with even greater speed.

Each step outlined above is crucial for ensuring the success of your processes and a strategic strengthening of your response and defenses over time. But what ultimately becomes most important during an incident is communication. For remote teams, practicing what this communication looks like is an even greater step in team preparedness to be sure that no important information falls through the cracks.

Best Practices for Remote Incident Response Teams

The effectiveness of a remote incident response team hinges on employing several best practices so that when an incident does happen, your team’s response is second nature.

  • Continuous Training: Regular drills and simulations keep the IR team sharp and ready. As the team improves or implements new tools it’s crucial that the entire team, practices using them in a reduced-stress environment for greater learning comprehension. For remote teams, practicing setting up virtual command centers and getting the correct applications running can better ensure no steps are missed and help the full team understand how long each step will take.
  • Define Communication Strategies: Clear protocols ensure that all stakeholders, from management to technical teams, are informed and aligned. For remote teams this is especially important since much of the communication will need to be done through a variety of channels and not necessarily live or on the phone. Will these be through specified channels that already exist or new ones for each incident? Be sure to communicate those expectations to your team.
  • Iterative Improvement: Post-incident reviews offer invaluable insights for refining the IR plan. Regularly reviewing post-incident documentation to understand where the team can improve or communicate better is key. Consider what workflows need to be adjusted to help your remote team execute plans and checklists faster.
  • Technological Leverage: Utilizing cutting-edge tools for detection, analysis, and recovery can significantly enhance response capabilities. These resources can help expedite the detection of potential threats, improve communication and collaboration among team members, and ensure timely delivery of updates to those affected. With the right technological leverage, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and respond swiftly and effectively to any situation.

Next Steps

In the quest to solidify your organization’s remote incident response processes, exploring Frameable’s innovative solutions for Microsoft Teams can be a game-changer in smoothing out any remaining bumps. Frameable specializes in streamlining collaboration and communication for remote teams, ensuring that your IR processes are not just effective but also seamlessly integrated with your daily operations. By integrating with Microsoft Teams it’s easier than ever to add new capabilities to your workflow. Whether you’re looking to enhance your team’s coordination in the face of digital threats or seeking to leverage technology for a more resilient defense, Frameable offers the potential to do more without forcing your team to learn new, complex tools.

Explore Frameable for Incident Response Teams here.

Improve Microsoft Teams for your unique incident response workflows with Frameable

Learn more
Categories
Future of work productivity remote work Virtual Training

Mastering Engagement in Virtual Training: Key Strategies for Success

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Organizations that want to retain top talent and stay ahead of the curve know that remote and hybrid work arrangements are critical to their success. This crucial realization also comes with a new need: providing new hires, current employees, and potentially many others with an effective and engaging path to getting trained on company policies and procedures, professional development resources, ongoing learning. Translating an engaging and successful in-person lecture or course into virtual content, live or otherwise, is not necessarily a straightforward path, especially if you want to ensure trainees leave having had a high-quality experience.

Understanding the Virtual Training Landscape

The world of virtual training is marked by plenty of ever-changing trends and challenges. But one core issue remains: how to captivate and maintain your audience’s attention in an environment rife with distractions and the temptation to do anything else besides pay attention to the content (like answering emails or scrolling on your phone). Below, we dive into a variety of strategies for virtual training for overcoming these hurdles, so you can transform passive learners into active and engaged participants.

What Makes a Virtual Training Engaging?

There is a difference between adding shocking facts into a training session and providing true value comes down to making your content as relevant to the learner as possible. Think back on your current virtual training set-up and content plan: How can you include new or surprising ways to share the information you need to get across? How can you connect your content to real-world applications that learners will encounter in the workplace and beyond?

When learners are presented with content in a way that makes it easy to absorb and relevant to them, they are more likely to stay focused, engaged, and retain the information you are sharing. This can come in any form of training: live instructor-led sessions, pre-recorded training videos, or interactive quizzes. The crucial element remains the same: make sure your trainees leave the session feeling like what they learned is crucial to their success and relevant to their job. Learners who leave sessions feeling energized and capable are a huge win for trainers and their organization’s bottom line. 

When you start with this approach, instead of repeating the same processes, you’re likely to discover room for improvement in both your content and how you deliver it.

Strategies for Virtual Training Success

The virtual environment requires a new approach to teaching methods. Virtual learning can be uncomfortable or hinder community building without clear instructions due to a lack of established social norms. While some students may feel exceptionally comfortable in a virtual learning environment, not everyone will.

This offers you, the instructor, the opportunity to be exceptionally prescriptive when assigning group projects or having students disperse into virtual breakout rooms during a call. By taking away some of the worry and anxiety that can come from uncertainty, you can better equip your students with the information they need to focus on the task at hand and find the value in what is currently on the docket.

Furthermore, when it comes time to break out into sessions or develop new modules, you will also want to rethink how you disseminate different lessons. Repeating the same slide show and lecture format can become exceptionally arduous in a virtual classroom. While sometimes it is unavoidable, there are other approaches to consider when developing lesson plans that drive better student engagement and participation.

Consider how your team can implement a variety of the following:

  • Personalized learning paths: for small class sizes or one-on-one training, consider spending time getting to know the individual goals of your student or students
  • Gamification of certain modules: Explore Kahoot, Quizlet, and many others that can make learning more fun and aid in content retention.
  • Dynamic, visual content: Instead of classic slideshow presentations explore options such as Prezi for redefining how you develop lectures.
  • Video-based lessons
  • Peer-review assignments

Building Community Through Virtual Training

Community building is essential for sustaining long-term engagement and for creating a sense of belonging. Regular check-ins, group projects, and social forums can help in crafting an inclusive and supportive community. Utilizing approved internal channels or other connection platforms helps to make the learning experience more comprehensive and integrated into participants’ daily lives.

Measuring the Success and ROI of Virtual Training

Measuring the success of virtual training can come in a variety of forms. This can include closing larger sales, reducing turnover, increasing in-house promotions over external new hires, or seeing improvements in your employee satisfaction surveys.

If one of your goals with training is to develop a loyal customer base, great training can help you get there faster. Buyers especially take notice when they have a great experience with your brand. A pleasant experience with a skilled and knowledgeable representative and great support content leads to more closed deals and a higher average sale according to data from Seismic

Both employees who represent your company to customers and those with internal roles report higher job satisfaction and likelihood of staying with a job due to consistent and supportive training, according to IBM. For those with a goal of increasing overall employee satisfaction, offering professional development courses, trainings, and opportunities for career advancement are a crucial piece of the puzzle. 

At the end of the day, engaged employees are more likely to benefit your bottom line, and those with the resources to succeed are going to provide more value to both the company and their team. 

Next Steps

The journey from traditional to virtual training environments is complex but rewarding. By implementing the strategies outlined, trainers and HR leaders can foster more engaging, productive, and effective learning experiences. Building connections in virtual settings is not just about technology; it’s about creating an immersive, interactive, and inclusive learning culture that adds value and resonates with participants.

Explore how Frameable can help your team level up virtual training in Microsoft Teams or sign up for a demo today.

Start improving your virtual training toolkit today

Talk to our team

Categories
Microsoft Teams remote work Virtual Training

5 Tips for Successful Virtual Instructor-led Training with Microsoft Teams

Remote work and learning have become the new norm with 90% of companies offering some form of digital learning for their employees. Early adopters like IBM reported that employees learned 5 times more content by incorporating virtual training sessions into their programs. As a result, creating an effective virtual instructor-led training (VILT) program has become crucial across industries. With Microsoft Teams being the most common platform for delivering virtual training, making sure you leverage all of its capabilities effectively can mean the difference between an average training lesson and one that is most effective. Here, we outline five essential tips for leveraging Microsoft Teams to conduct successful VILT sessions, ensuring that your training leads to effective learning outcomes and more productive workers.

Understanding the Importance of Engaging VILT

Along with the shift to remote work, there has been a growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of well-designed virtual training programs. For instance, a study by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute found that participants in virtual classrooms outperform traditional face-to-face learners in knowledge retention and application when the training is engaging and interactive. Engaging VILT sessions not only facilitate better learning outcomes but also contributes to higher job satisfaction and productivity among employees.

Leveraging Microsoft Teams for VILT

Microsoft Teams offers a rich set of features that can be leveraged to create interactive and engaging VILT sessions. Here are some tips for corporate trainers to make the most of Microsoft Teams:

1. Maximize Engagement with Interactive Tools

Engagement is the lifeblood of effective learning. Microsoft Teams offers a plethora of interactive tools like polls, quizzes, and surveys through integrated apps such as Microsoft Forms. Trainers can make the learning process active and participatory by using these tools in VILT sessions. For example, interactive polls can be used to gauge learners’ opinions or knowledge on a subject at the beginning of a session, setting the stage for a tailored learning experience. These interactive tools not only break the monotony of traditional lecture-based learning but also encourage trainees to think critically and engage more deeply with the content. 

2. Utilize Breakout Rooms for Personalized Learning Experiences

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams allow trainers to divide participants into smaller groups for discussions, workshops, or role-playing exercises. This personalized approach not only enhances learning by allowing for more in-depth exploration of topics but also encourages collaboration among participants. Research from the Harvard Business Review supports the idea that small group learning leads to a 55% improvement in learning application over traditional lecture-based training.

3. Incorporate a Mix of Media and Content Types

Diversifying the types of content used in training sessions can cater to different learning styles and keep participants engaged. Incorporate videos, infographics, and interactive content like digital whiteboards to help boost retention rates. This approach is not merely a nod to the variety in learning styles but a powerful method to ensure that all participants remain engaged and can absorb information in ways that suit them best. 

4. Leverage the Power of Asynchronous Learning

Not all learning needs to happen in real-time. Microsoft Teams allows for the creation of dedicated channels for ongoing discussions, resource sharing, and asynchronous learning activities. Trainers can even record the training sessions and offer them on-demand. This approach not only accommodates different time zones and schedules but also encourages continuous learning beyond the confines of scheduled training sessions.

5. Provide Immediate Feedback and Support

Feedback plays an integral role in the learning process. In the context of VILT, leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Teams to provide real-time feedback and support becomes a game-changer. The platform’s instant messaging and meeting features facilitate a direct and immediate line of communication between trainers and trainees, enabling a dynamic exchange of feedback that can significantly enhance the learning experience.

The immediacy of response serves various purposes during training sessions. Firstly, it enables trainers to keep track of the progress and level of comprehension of trainees. Secondly, it facilitates the prompt correction of any misunderstandings or misconceptions, ensuring that trainees are on the right track. Moreover, real-time feedback creates a supportive and interactive learning environment where trainees can gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Solutions to Uplevel Microsoft Teams for VILT

While Microsoft Teams provides a solid foundation for VILT, exploring advanced platforms like Frameable Core can take your training programs to the next level. Frameable offers tailored solutions that enhance VILT engagement, interactivity, and the overall learning experience. Features like multiple simultaneous screen shares and digital whiteboards allow trainers and trainees to experience highly collaborative sessions. With its intuitive design and specialized features for virtual learning, Frameable addresses the nuanced needs of modern corporate training programs.

Explore Frameable for Effective Virtual Instructor-led Training Solutions

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, delivering engaging and effective virtual instructor-led training is more important than ever. By leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Teams and embracing innovative platforms like Frameable, you can ensure that your training programs are not just educational but truly transformative. Engaging VILT sessions are the key to unlocking effective learning outcomes and fostering more productive, knowledgeable workers.

Dive deeper into how Frameable can revolutionize your virtual training programs and embrace the future of corporate training today with engaging virtual learning experiences.

Looking to transform your virtual training in Microsoft Teams?

Learn how
Categories
Future of work remote work Research

Do You Have the Right Technology and Tools to Support Hybrid and Remote Work?

Thanks to workplace technologies, distributed work arrangements have existed for decades in large enterprises. Given the massive push toward remote and hybrid work in recent years, companies of all sizes can now also benefit from these arrangements.

The Conference Board reports that just 4% of CEOs worldwide will prioritize returning to the office in 2024, reinforcing the demand for flexible work arrangements. The key now is for organizations to sift through an ever-evolving landscape of tools and technologies that each promises to be the cure-all for the potential hurdles of remote and hybrid work.

To understand the current state of hybrid and remote work —and uncover which tools are actually worth the investment —we conducted our inaugural Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index by surveying hundreds of workers in the U.S.

The findings provide clear insights into which technologies are most effective for enabling team engagement and innovation. Let’s dig into a few highlights. 

Technologies that Power Remote Collaboration

Our research reinforced that workers at hybrid and fully remote companies overwhelmingly feel more engaged and innovative compared to working in a full-time office setting.

When we looked at how these employees ranked the most effective workplace tools, there were several clear distinctions between which tools enable engagement and which foster innovation. 

Remote Work Tools for Engaged Employees

Our research found that 39.8% of distributed workers agree, and 26.4% strongly agree, that they are more engaged in a remote and hybrid setting. Only 12.3% disagreed —and those workers may benefit from new or improved tooling.

We asked these engaged employees about the specific tools they think are most effective for powering their distributed workplace. The following are a few of their clear favorites:

  • Workplace management suites: Microsoft Office was the top-ranked tool by engaged employees, with Google Drive following closely. Complementary tools, including Gmail, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook email also ranked highly. These rankings reinforce the need for remote and hybrid teams to access, store, and share documents in a centralized place.
  • Video conferencing tools: Given the need for more personalized collaboration, it’s no surprise that Zoom is a top favorite, followed by Microsoft Teams and Skype. Regardless of which video conferencing tool your team uses, ensure that you create guidelines around its use to reinforce how team members can collaborate effectively. 
  • Workplace messaging tools: Microsoft Teams was our research’s highest-ranked instant messaging and collaboration tool. Slack and Discord, however, ranked as the bottom two tools for engaged workers. These rankings could suggest that companies need to encourage engagement on messaging tools more consciously, or that it’s time to transition away from Slack to Teams
Frameable 2024

Remote Work Tools to Inspire Innovation

As another lens to examine the best workplace tools for remote and hybrid teams, we asked employees whether they feel they are part of a culture of innovation. From the 58.8% of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed, we asked which workplace tools they found to be most effective.

Notably, the tools achieved a more level baseline than when ranked by workers in engaging cultures. Previously low-ranking tools like Slack and Discord appeared much closer to the middle of the pack than before, with a smaller difference between the top- and bottom-ranked tools. 

  • Workplace management suites: Microsoft Office was again the top choice from our research, followed by Google Drive.
  • Video conferencing tools: Zoom was again a top favorite, with Skype following closely. This data reinforces that video conferencing tools are essential in inspiring innovation, which could be amplified by features that support healthy brainstorming and collaboration. 
  • Project management tools: The project management tools in our survey as a category were ranked more favorably by innovative organizations than engaged ones. Smartsheet, one of the lowest-ranked tools by engaged employees, surpassed Monday, Miro, and Wrike in this data splice.
Frameable 2024

Design A Remote-First Workplace

Organizations should prioritize their investments from a remote-first lens to maximize the benefits of any workplace technologies. 

Why? Dedicated online workspaces create a central hub for all company knowledge, regardless of whether employees work in an office part of the time. A well-built virtual workspace can foster workplace inclusivity and knowledge retention while enabling analytics and AI capabilities that empower workplace leaders to measure and optimize their team outputs.

If a workplace is built to prioritize the in-person experience, distributed workers will inevitably lack the resources and tools they need to embed in the company and support its mission effectively.  

Strategies to Empower Hybrid Teams

Workplace technologies are an integral part of an effective distributed team —but they are just one piece of what helps remote and hybrid workers thrive. 

To learn more about overcoming the potential challenges of distributed work and maximizing the opportunities with your remote or hybrid team, download the full Frameable Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index today.

Explore our full Future of Work research report

Download now
Categories
Hybrid work Microsoft Teams remote work

The 5 Best Microsoft Teams Integrations for Productive Distributed Teams

When it comes to distributed work, what sets successful teams apart from their less successful competitors is staying productive and efficient no matter your work style or location. To take your team to the next level of success, it’s critical to ensure they have the proper tools and training in how to use them. Even if your organization uses Microsoft Teams, you can still improve upon numerous workflows. Whether it is automating repetitive tasks, gathering information, or communicating with team members, some workflows can be disjointed, frustrating, or simply take way longer than they should! This post explores the best add-ins for Microsoft Teams to boost your remote, hybrid, or distributed teams to the next level. 

Trello

Distributed teams need clarity and efficiency when tackling projects. Making sure everyone is on the same page with real-time updates and a tool that is easy to use means wasting less time figuring out how to manage projects so you can spend more time completing them. Adding Trello boards directly to Teams channels means you never have to stray far to check up on related tasks and progress across multiple channels or projects. The Trello integration allows team members to receive real-time updates, send notifications, and access Trello boards directly within the Teams app. Not leaving Teams means fewer tabs open or programs running that slow down your devices, making it easier for remote and distributed teams of any size to stay organized and on top of their to-do lists. 

Polly from Microsoft

Clear and efficient communication lies at the heart of successful remote collaboration. The Polly add-in for Microsoft Teams facilitates engagement, feedback gathering, and data-driven decision-making inside and outside meetings. With Polly, teams can create polls, surveys, and quizzes within the Teams app, making it easy to gather feedback, involve all team members, and drive engagement in various settings. This add-in enables remote teams to foster a collaborative culture, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, even when working from different locations. By adding Polly, teams using Teams can better streamline communication channels, boost participation, and make informed team or project decisions.

Zapier

Helping your team stay on top of their to-do list is easier when everyone can automate repeatable workflows or send alerts automatically. Zapier connects with various other highly used platforms like Salesforce, Google Sheets, and Hubspot, just to name a few. With Zapier, you can create custom workflows, generally known as “Zaps,” that automate repetitive tasks, synchronize data across platforms, and trigger actions based on specific conditions. By integrating Zapier, teams can eliminate manual data entry, streamline workflows, and focus on tasks that add value, enhancing overall efficiency and productivity. For distributed teams or remote workforces, adding automatic notifications to project channels can help ensure everyone stays updated with the latest information necessary to remain as productive as possible.

Overview and MultiShare by Frameable

Whether you find yourself leading a large team for a multi-national organization or a small, bootstrapped remote team, you will need to collaborate effectively and efficiently. For teams using Microsoft Teams, having an all-in-one dashboard like Overview is akin to having a trusty guide by your side. It consolidates the cacophony of documents, conversations, and events into a tidy, digestible interface. The beauty of Overview is not just its utility, but in how it simplifies the often-overwhelming task of sifting through digital chatter to find what you need when you need it.

Whether you’re onboarding new recruits, leading a remote training session, or tackling a shared project, the ability to display up to 15 different screens simultaneously means you can handle just about anything. With MultiShare, the flow of ideas and collaborative energy feels more natural, like pulling up a chair to a coworker’s desk to work side-by-side. If your organization recently transitioned into using Microsoft Teams, this could also be a feature you’re used to but are now missing. 

Better Workflows for a More Empowered Workforce

In the era of remote work, maximizing the potential of collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams is essential for business success. By integrating any of the above tools with Microsoft Teams, remote and distributed teams can develop more seamless workflows that the keystone workplace tools just don’t offer on their own. 

Ready to elevate your remote collaboration? Explore Frameable for Microsoft Teams and unlock the true potential of your distributed team. Refresh your workflows, enhance productivity, and give your team the tools to thrive in any work setting. Explore Overview and MultiShare, or get started for free on the Microsoft AppSource marketplace.

Learn more about Overview and MultiShare for Microsoft Teams

Learn more
Categories
Hybrid work remote work

The Remotely Possible™ Podcast: Insights from Sabeen Malik on Enabling Innovation on Distributed Teams

Many tools on the market can help remote and distributed teams channel their creativity. But instead of forcing teams to use a small set of company-sanctioned tools for the team’s unique problems, it’s helpful (and empowering) to give employees the freedom to use the tools and processes that work best for them.  

In the seventh episode of the “Remotely Possible” podcast, I spoke with Sabeen Malik, Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy at Rapid7, to discuss building trust and enabling innovation on distributed teams. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation, including the three elements of trust and how to strike the right balance of synchronous and asynchronous communication when problem-solving.

Introducing Sabeen and Her Remote Cybersecurity Team

Rapid7 is a cybersecurity provider with solutions spanning detection and response, vulnerability management, and application security. Sabeen is building her team and currently works with five people in the U.S. and U.K. She is used to working with remote-first teams, partly due to her previous role at Thumbtack.

“Thumbtack very much is built around this idea [of] remote first,” she said. “Even pre-pandemic, the idea was to think about this model and how are we going to think about remote-first work in an environment where so many more tools were available for folks to work not only across time zones, but across different operational capacities, and what does that look like to bring that all together.”

Why Trust is Essential for a Healthy Distributed Team Culture

Sabeen recognizes that many teams use video calls to tackle challenges. She encourages companies to establish clear rules and expectations about when cameras can be on or off as a way to help employees process information in their preferred mode.

“I personally don’t feel like I need to see everybody when I’m doing what I need to do, which a lot of times is discussing concepts and information and deliverables,“ she said. “At the same time, I have found there is a little bit of a difference between consistently building trust in teams and having video on and off and everyone understanding what the rules are as to why someone may turn their video off and what the norms are around that.”

Trust is vital for enabling an effective distributed team that achieves the innate advantages of remote work. Sabeen encourages leaders to consider what trust means to them and their organization.

“It’s important to think about ‘what is trust at the end of the day?’ and ‘what are we actually looking for?’,” she said. “Thinking about how do you continue to use the tools and yourself, in terms of your ideas, to build it.” 

Sabeen shared her own perspectives on the three critical elements of trust. “I think about three elements: competency, integrity, and goodwill. For a team that has a lot of external stakeholders, trust is built by meeting them where they build trust. Internally, it’s more about how do you share with your teams the ideas around each one of those as a norm-setting behavior.”

Over the course of our conversation, Sabeen rejected the notion that in-person teams are more collaborative or innovative because of serendipitous encounters.

“[The idea] that you’re just sitting randomly and someone comes into a booth or someone stops by your workstation, and you have this amazing idea… I think that’s a little bit lionized or this mental model that I’m not sure most folks are operating that way,” she explained. “I think it has to be a little more structured than assuming it’s going to happen just because you all happen to be in the same space, and it’ll randomly happen.” 

When facing a challenge, Sabeen says that leaders should assess if they are explaining the problem well enough or if people need a change in time and space to let creativity flow. Innovation often comes down to allowing people time to think through challenges and work with their preferred tools.

“One of the things I’m doing more is asking folks the best ways that they think about creative ideas and how do they capture those,” she said. “If you’re at the early stages of a problem or a strategy, I tend to find that synchronous work tends to work better. What you’re truly trying to do is collect ideas and then shape ideas so everyone understands the end goal of executing on something. And then in terms of how and why and what the things are that are related to the execution, asynchronous tends to work a lot better.”

For more of Sabeen’s insights into building trust on remote teams, including a more detailed explanation of the three elements of trust and the tools her team uses, listen to the Remotely Possible Podcast, Episode 7. Interested in sharing your distributed work experience with our listeners? Apply to be my guest for a future episode.

Listen to Remotely Possible wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen now
Categories
Future of work Hybrid work remote work

New Frameable Research Reveals the Benefits of Distributed Workplaces

As company leaders seek to deliver the most fulfilling workplace experiences, new research reinforces that remote, hybrid, and distributed arrangements present a clear competitive advantage.

Frameable’s first edition of The Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index explores how remote and hybrid work arrangements affect employee well-being, productivity, and collaboration. We also examined how effective existing workplace technologies are in supporting distributed workplaces. Here are a few of the key takeaways.

Four Things We Learned About Distributed and Hybrid Work

Frameable surveyed U.S.-based workers who currently work in a remote, hybrid, or distributed team culture. The research, conducted in November of 2023, dispels several persistent myths about the modern hybrid and distributed workforce and provides actionable ways for leaders to improve their strategies. 

Employees are More Engaged in Hybrid, Remote, and Distributed Workplaces

More than half of employees (66.2%) agree or strongly agree they feel more engaged when working remotely than from a company office. Only slightly over 12% of respondents disagreed. This suggests that some types of work still benefit from in-person collaboration—and that some companies need to work on being more intentional about inspiring engagement with their team. More on that later.

Remote and Hybrid Workers are More Productive

The majority of survey respondents (84%) said they feel more productive because of a flexible workplace model. Only 4% disagreed, and 12% felt neutral. The good news is these productivity benefits will likely increase as companies refine their technology stacks and implement tools and processes built for a remote-first model. 

Microsoft Office Enables Engagement

Digging into which tools specifically are most effective in enabling engagement, employees ranked Microsoft Office as the No. 1 choice, followed by Gmail, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook email, and Zoom. Of course, leaders should set clear guidelines around how to use all workplace tools to their fullest potential. 

Workplace Flexibility Drives Retention

Adding to the productivity and engagement benefits, nearly three in four workers (73.6%) are more likely to stay with their company because of their workplace flexibility. This is likely in part due to benefits employees cited, such as having more flexibility to accommodate their lives, being more involved in their children’s daily routine, and addressing caregiving responsibilities. 

Prepare for the Future of Work

The above findings are just a glimpse at the reasons why remote, hybrid, and distributed models present a competitive advantage for companies—but there are several challenges that leaders should prepare to overcome. 

The full report provides advice on addressing some of the concerns workers raised in the research, including:

  • Essential skills for managers of a distributed team
  • Strategies to build and maintain trust in remote and hybrid settings
  • Technology recommendations to power an effective and secure distributed team

Download the full Frameable Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index today.

Download the full Frameable Remote/Hybrid/Distributed Work Index report

Download now
Categories
Hybrid work remote work

Making a Positive First Impression that Brings Out Your Brand’s Best, Virtually

New employees’ initial experiences can forever shape their opinion of your company and significantly impact their job satisfaction and performance. This is especially true for remote workers, whose success relies entirely on virtual interactions and engagement.

Building an engaging onboarding experience for a remote or hybrid team is understandably challenging. Workplace leaders face unique hurdles when onboarding remote employees compared to in-person onboarding: It can be easier to build relationships and create a welcoming environment in a physical office, and remote workers often face technical hurdles and social barriers like a lack of context cues or feelings of isolation.

To help you overcome these common remote onboarding challenges and set a positive first impression for all employees, let’s explore five proven strategies to drive engagement and set everyone off on the right foot.

5 Strategies For Setting a Positive First Impression With Remote Workers

A positive first impression can help you foster a sense of belonging with your new hires, build their trust, and ensure a smooth integration into the team. There are many ways that you can approach this, and we’ve found the following strategies to be particularly effective in remote and hybrid teams:

  • Provide Preboarding Information: New hires will likely feel anxious before starting their job, primarily because they don’t know what to expect. You can begin to alleviate this anxiety by sending them preboarding information explaining their role, how they can access your company on Day 1, and what to expect during their first week.
  • Set Clear Expectations: It can be disorienting for new hires to get started, especially if they need clarification on their responsibilities and goals. During the first week, present a clear overview of the new hire’s responsibilities, including their role, responsibilities, and reporting structure. Set specific goals for the new hire to accomplish within the first week, and align these goals with your onboarding process.
  • Give Resources and Support: Provide your new hires with training materials, access to relevant workplace software or tools, and dedicated support channels so they can do their jobs effectively. This support system will be beneficial as they first navigate your virtual workspace and encounter the inevitable challenges they’ll face when getting comfortable in their role.
  • Schedule Virtual Introductions: During the new hire’s first week, schedule them to meet 1:1 with their manager, direct teammates, and mentor, as well as group meetings with the teams they’ll be working with. Encourage everyone to discuss their roles and responsibilities at the company and explain how they’ll collaborate with the new hire. It can be helpful to include icebreaker activities during any group meetings to help new employees learn more about their colleagues and encourage future conversation. 
  • Take Them on a Virtual Tour: If your company is hybrid with a physical office, you can give a virtual tour for remote workers during their onboarding process. You can conduct a live tour with video conferencing tools or share pre-recorded videos highlighting key office areas. If your company is fully remote, walk your new hire through the virtual workspace and explain how they can find and connect with their colleagues. 

Virtual Onboarding Is Essential For The Future of Work 

Despite lacking an in-person element, a remote onboarding experience can still create a great first impression. Reimagine your new hire’s experience in a virtual workspace to ensure you answer their questions, connect them with their teammates, and explain how they can thrive in their new role.

Be sure to provide a clear schedule for the hire’s new week and check in frequently to see how they are doing. There are many considerations for crafting an engaging virtual onboarding experience, and we’re here to help. Download our virtual onboarding ebook for a complete guide on everything you need to know, including a checklist of opportunities to build meaningful connections in virtual offices and tips for more effective virtual training. 

Set your new hires up for success with our latest e-book

Download now
Rethink your team collaboration with Whiteboard
Try for free