When businesses around the world asked employees to work from home during COVID-19, things started falling apart.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. With fast internet and smart mobile devices everywhere, we should be able to work equally well from anywhere.
Yet, here we are just a few days into working from home, and the business world is in chaos.
What is the problem? Why is it so much more difficult to work remotely?
Sending vs. Sharing
To understand the problem with remote work, we need to know how information flows in the workplace.
Emails and phone calls help us send information from one person to another.
As it turns out, only a small part of the internal information we consume at work is delivered this way. We know most of what we need to do our job, because it happens around us, or is readily accessible there. In other words, we know it because it is shared with us, not because somebody sent it to us.
Sharing is Key For Modern Work
Imagine how much more difficult your job would be if your entire knowledge of the business were limited to the contents of your email inbox and the phone calls you received from coworkers. You would know something only if someone decided to send it to you, or you specifically asked about it.
In real life, you don’t even have to read a single email to pick up some of the essential information you need: An increase in the number of customers calling to get a discount? You will probably notice it by overhearing a few phone calls. Too many complaints about a new product? A coworker will mention it while you are getting coffee in the kitchen. Need to look up a clause in a contract? You can pull it up from the shelf and read it.
Modern offices are not merely places where people work. They are places where workers share information.
That explains why they struggle to work from home: Because when working from home, they are deprived of the environment where they usually share information.
The communication tools designed to send information efficiently are terrible when it comes to sharing it. Mailing everything to everyone, frantically calling coworkers to catch up with their work are no replacement to a pleasant environment for sharing information.
So what is the alternative? How can we share information and stay connected without coming to the same office for eight hours every day?
The News Feed: A Better Way to Share
Amazingly, we all know how to solve this problem on a personal level. It’s just that businesses haven’t thought of using it much until now.
For well over a decade, individuals have been sharing everything from vacation pictures to birthdays and political views on electronic networks. The interface that makes this easily digestible is the news feed.
The news feed is a super-efficient way to review vast amounts of information and quickly zero-in on the important stuff. You can probably zip through dozens of posts from your friends and family members while waiting for an elevator. Imagine how difficult it would be to digest that information if everyone emailed or called you instead to tell you where they went for vacation, who has birthdays this week, or what causes they support and why.
TeamGram: The Internal News Feed of Your Business
We built TeamGram’s news feed to make it easy to share and digest information inside a company. You can use it to instantly post and share anything from customer meeting notes to production schedules. Each note can have attached pictures, videos, audio clips, PDF documents, drawings, even hashtags, and geolocation coordinates.
TeamGram notes also encourage interactions: Users can like each other’s notes and write comments. They even get mobile notifications when others interact with their posts.
Built to Bring Teams Together
Having an internal news feed can help business teams work together like never before, regardless of the physical location of each team member.
Any member of the team can instantly see what the others are working on, inform others about their work, and communicate in a way that wouldn’t be possible even if everyone worked in the same room.
Any Team Member Can Shine on The News Feed
Great contributors in a business can sometimes go unnoticed. They may be working at a remote location, at different times, or their work may become obscure through layers of management.
On the news feed, they become as visible as everyone else, get more appreciation for their work, and more job satisfaction.
The news feed is an excellent way for all team members to show the great work they do to the rest of the company and their managers.
Organizing Information in a News Feed
With every member of the team sharing dozens of short notes every day, a vast amount of valuable information gets posted on the news feed.
Multiple mechanisms help organize this information to make it even more useful:
- Linking notes to CRM records: You can link notes to customers, business opportunities, or any other type of CRM record. Later, anyone reviewing that CRM record can easily access notes posted about that record in chronological order. This makes it easy to grasp the history of a customer or a business opportunity with a short glance.
- #Hashtags: These are text snippets that help connect different notes so that they can be listed instantly by clicking on one. For example, marking notes with a hashtag like #CustComplaint can help managers quickly list all notes about customer complaint calls.
- Filters: You can filter notes, so the news feed shows only the ones you are interested in. One common usage is to display only the notes written by members of a specific department.
The Shared Memory of Your Business
Because TeamGram allows you to post an infinite number of notes and stores them indefinitely, you can use it to build up a shared knowledge base, or corporate memory that remembers everything about anything forever.
Information is no longer locked up in individual mailboxes and is not lost when people change jobs.
Making it All Instantly Searchable
TeamGram’s built-in search engine instantly indexes every note, as well as other types of records. Notes mentioning a specific product, customer, or any combination of keywords can be immediately listed.
How We Use Our Own News Feed
At TeamGram, we have staff members in three continents, working at different time zones. Most of us are separated from other team members and don’t even have overlapping work hours. For us, the news feed is essential to keep our teams in sync and connected.
A typical workday for a team member begins with browsing the notes shared by other team members in other regions. This helps us to catch up with everything they have been working on while we were sleeping. We can then seamlessly take over any ongoing issues, and share our own notes as we work through them.
TeamGram’s news feed helps us stay in close contact, and always be aware of the work done by our peers, regardless of their location.
It literally keeps us on the same page all the time.
The news feed feature is included in all TeamGram subscription plans, There are no limits on the number of notes and comments users can post on it.