During these challenging times, businesses understand the critical importance of staying productive while working remotely. While online meeting and conference calling software have taken center stage lately, the tools you need for working from home go far beyond the ability to have conversations or share documents in front of the camera.
A recent survey found that, even before the world was tasked with working remotely, 83% of workers were dependent on technology to collaborate, yet 59% face challenges with their organization’s tools. Whether you’re dealing with global teams, trying to land an out-of-state client or just offering flexible work options—everyone needs the right technology to collaborate during current shutdown and beyond.
Seeing is believing
Here is where visuals can become a powerful ally for remote business teams when it comes to conducting analysis, gaining insights, communicating ideas and formulating strategies—keeping everyone more engaged and focused. Consider the fact that 91% of people prefer interactive, visual content over traditional text or static media. Or that individuals follow instructions about three-times better through strong visuals—helping them finish the job in a fraction of the time.
In a nutshell, working remotely requires real collaboration that delivers simplified visuals to break down complex ideas, while maintaining business continuity and alignment. The ability to create and share flowcharts, for example, or build organizational charts, map IT networks or document business processes, while including insights from all stakeholders. So, where to begin?
The right tool for the job
Collaborating visually requires powerful, intuitive visual software that’ll help remote business teams boost their analysis skills, stay productive, informed, on schedule, and on the same page while working remotely. The right software should deliver capabilities that let you work better in every scenario, including:
Collaborating and diagramming during meetings:
- Create visuals quickly, whether it’s block diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, or Specification and Description Language (SDL) diagrams.
- Choose from a collection of pre-made templates, or create from scratch, as needed.
- Easily capture ideas and strategies with mind map, brainstorming, decision tree, and other flowchart templates, plus eye-catching shapes.
- Bring diagrams to life with data overlay, icons, colors and graphics to make the data easier to digest and integrate data-linked illustrations into a dashboard thereby gaining more business insights.
Keeping everyone on the same page:
- Create standard operating procedures to maintain business continuity and alignment.
- Share your work easily as a secure web-based link, attachment, image, or PDF, and reply to comments online.
- Communicate one version of the truth and access diagrams from nearly anywhere.
- Co-create and edit diagrams simultaneously with a full complement of editing features and use comments and @mentions to collaborate with colleagues.
- Connect your flowcharts and diagrams to real-time data. Use applied shape formatting to update flowcharts when the underlying data changes automatically.
- Generate visuals with everyone in mind. Whether you need to formulate a very high-level and people-centric visual—one that’s technical, granular and intricate—or something in between—the ability to remotely create, share, analyze and collaborate using visuals online is the key to keeping everyone focused on the prize.
Redesigning office workplaces/floorplans:
When it is time to go back to the office, redesigning floor plans or creating entirely new spaces to incorporate social distancing will play an essential role in keeping everyone safe. You can use visual software to create clear, easy-to-read floor plans that are shareable and effortlessly modified:
- Take advantage of refreshed templates that contain thousands of shapes for walls, doors, electrical outlets and more, that also meet industry standards.
- Easily drag shapes like walls, doors, windows, wall switches, outlets and other wall fixtures onto the drawing page.
- Add furnishings, equipment and accessories.
- Choose a custom or pre-defined architectural, metric or engineering scale.
- Get started quickly, customize and complete diagrams faster and draw or annotate using pen, finger or ink.
- Insert a CAD drawing that you can then resize, change scale or move.
Optimizing/redesigning business processes:
When working from home, it’s more important than ever to maximize efficiency by building a process map to help everyone “see” the actual process. Your visual tools should allow you to:
- Use professional templates to create everything from a simple sequence to a methodology-based diagram.
- Share, edit, and view your process map from any browser or device.
- Collaborate and gather instant feedback and easy version control.
- Clearly define goals and team roles easily within the diagram to identify potential gaps, bottlenecks, etc.
- Include clickable symbols to link from within the process map to a spreadsheet or other data source for even more context.
Managing team changes due to re-organization/layoffs:
With many changes happening economically in our economy, it’s vital to keep up with current roles, responsibilities and recent staffing updates. That’s where organizational charts come in handy. These charts show current contact information, reporting relationships and chains of command within your organization, department, or on a specific project. You can create several types using visual software, including:
- Simple organization hierarchy charts for internal use.
- Organization charts for client presentations.
- Public-facing charts representing your company or team structure, or that function as a communication directory, with employee telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.
- Large and complex diagrams based on information from an external data source (e.g., Excel). You can add a wealth of data, like employee pictures, dates of hire, salaries, grade levels, etc. into your organization chart to generate reports that you can then save as a spreadsheet, HTML file and more.
While our way of working has likely changed for good, business stops for no one. Whether you’re at home, on the road, working across time zones or getting ready to head back to the office, remote teams need the business analysis and visual tools to stay productive, execute a plan of action and communicate it to everyone effectively.