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Importance of remote work tools

The future of work will have a bigger focus on remote and asynchronous settings. As technology keeps improving, it will become easier for teams to work together and collaborate without being in the same place. 

Whether your team prefers to work from home, or you are in a global virtual team, shifting to a more asynchronous way of working is inevitable. 

By finding and implementing the right remote working software, companies and managers will be able to support their teams and work effectively, no matter where they are. 

Asynchronous work opens up the doors for enhanced efficiency, global talent, and real diversity while saving time and resources. It also allows remote workers more flexibility, personal freedom, ownership of their work and better work-life balance.

We collected more than 70 remote work tools that can be used in asynchronous or hybrid work settings. Whether you are looking for the perfect software to manage remote employees or the best collaboration tools for virtual teams, you’ll find it here!

Join our community on Rock to receive more tips and learn how teams all over the world implement these remote collaboration tools into their workflow! 

Our community constantly shares and updates its recommendations of the best collaboration tools for remote teams so you can stay on top of your game – no matter where you or your team might be! 

How to manage the asynchronicity

We compiled an exhaustive list of the best tools and apps for remote work used within teams all around the globe, and categorized them: 

Instant messaging tools 

Instant messaging tools have become an essential part of remote work for many teams. They provide a quick and easy way for team members to communicate with each other without the need for everyone to be online at the same time. 

This is especially useful for teams that are in different time zones. They can communicate and collaborate without worrying about scheduling meetings or waiting for someone in a different time zone to respond. 

Instant messaging apps often have features like file sharing and collaboration tools too. This makes it easier for team members to work together on projects and share information in real-time.

Let’s see the most common instant messaging apps used in asynchronous teams!

1. Rock

Messaging plus tasks and all your favorite apps. Rock is the fastest way to start working with anyone. With messaging and tasks in the same space, work becomes more streamlined and organized.

2. Slack

Slack is a team communication and collaboration platform that allows users to communicate and share files in real-time.

3. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the ultimate messaging app for your organization—a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, file and app sharing, and even the occasional emoji! All in one place, all in the open, all accessible to everyone.

4. Mattermost

Mattermost is an open-source, self-hostable online chat service with file sharing, search, and integrations. It is designed as an internal chat for organizations and companies, and mostly markets itself as an open-source alternative to Slack and Microsoft Teams.

5. Google Hangouts

Use Google Hangouts to keep in touch with one person or a group. Available on mobile or on desktop, start making video or voice calls today.

6. RingCentral

RingCentral simplifies communications so you can connect with your teams from anywhere in the world. We do this by making it easy to set up, use, and manage your communications—all in one app. We unify calling, messaging, and meeting with employees, customers, and everyone in between.

Want to check out more messaging tools or go further in depth in the definitions? Check out our community where teams share their best tips and practices! 

Project management tools

Project management tools provide a central platform for organizing, tracking, and managing team projects and tasks. 

This helps remote teams to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals, even if they are not physically in the same location. 

Remote work project management tools usually include features like task assignments, deadlines, and progress tracking. These help keep team members organized and on track. 

Many project management tools also have collaboration features like file sharing and discussion forums. These make it easier for team members to communicate and work together on projects.

Some project management tools, such as Rock, have integrations available that make them suitable for full project management. Think of task management, instant messaging, time tracking, note-taking, knowledge sharing, and other functions. 

If your team is looking for an all-encompassing solution, we suggest taking a look at Rock! 

In addition to Rock, here are some of the best project management tools your team can also consider: 

7. Trello

 A project management and collaboration app that allows users to organize and track their work in flexible and customizable boards.

8. Asana

Asana is a project management and collaboration tool that helps teams organize, track, and manage their work.

9. Basecamp

Basecamp is a real-time communication tool that helps teams stay on the same page; it's less for traditional project management tasks (e.g., resource planning and long-term scheduling

10. Monday.com 

Monday.com is a powerful project management system — a complete Work OS designed to help your team complete projects efficiently, collaborate effectively, and grow online.

11. JIRA

Jira helps teams plan, assign, track, report, and manage work and brings teams together for everything from agile software development and customer support to start-ups and enterprises. Software teams build better with Jira Software, the #1 tool for agile teams.

12. Flowdock 

Flowdock helps your teams get visibility into the work so they can get things done using a single, shared dashboard. See, notify and respond with team chat and group inbox, on our secure infrastructure and 80+ integrations to connect you to the apps you use most.

13. Smartsheet 

Smartsheet is a software as a service offering for 

collaboration and work management, developed and marketed by Smartsheet Inc. It is used to assign tasks, track project progress, manage calendars, share documents, and manage other work, using a tabular user interface.

14. SharePoint

 Sharepoint is a website-based collaboration system that uses workflow applications, “list” databases, and other web parts and security features to empower business teams to work together.

15. Nozbe: 

Nozbe helps you concentrate on calm, deep work every day, at any given time – all thanks to our revolutionary task-based communication. Simply create projects and populate them with tasks. Set due dates and keep track of all the necessary info and files in comments. Once you're done with a task, check it off. 

16. Proofhub:

ProofHub is a central platform for all project-related needs like tasks, teams, communication, files, resources, and more. It puts teams in control of their work processes and helps them focus on their goals and the things that matter most. 

17. Redbooth:

Redbooth features task management, collaboration, file sharing, time tracking, Gantt charts, Outlook integration and real-time communication through video conferencing and reporting.

18. Microsoft Project 

Microsoft Project is a project management software product, developed and sold by Microsoft. It is designed to assist a project manager in developing a schedule, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the budget, and analyzing workloads.

19. ClickUp 

All-in-one productivity tool built for teams of all types across any industry. You can plan, track, and collaborate on any project, build the perfect workflow for you and your team, create marketing campaigns, manage development sprints, and more all in one platform.

20. Wrike 

At its core, Wrike is an easy-to-use tool for streamlining the internal project management and collaboration processes between team members, whether they're in the same office or separated by an ocean.

21. ProjectManager.com 

ProjectManager.com is an online project management software which is a scalable software as a service (SaaS) for business managers and teams. 

 22. Adobe Workfront

Adobe Workfront is a work management platform for enterprises looking to strategically prioritize, assign, and complete projects with speed, at any scale. With its central dashboard, you can quickly launch projects by seeing available resources and using templates and automations to assign tasks.

 23. MeisterTask 

Flexible project management app that scales from personal project tracking to a full-blown project management tool for a large team. It's based on the Kanban task management system, but it can be adapted and customized based on the needs of your project or company.

Join our online community to learn about the best project management tools for remote teams. Sign up now to start improving your remote work experience!

Time tracking and productivity tools

Time tracking and productivity tools provide a way to measure and improve the productivity of team members. Productivity tools, on the other hand, can help team members to stay focused and avoid distractions, which can also improve their overall productivity. 

This is particularly important for remote teams because it can be difficult to gauge the productivity of team members who are not working in the same location without remote employee time tracking tools. 

These tools allow team members to track the amount of time they spend on each task or project, which can help to identify areas where they may be spending too much time or where they may be able to improve their efficiency. 

Some of the most common remote employee time tracking softwares: 

24. Toggl 

Toggl Track is a time tracking software that offers online time tracking and reporting services through their website along with mobile and desktop applications. Toggl Track tracks time blocks, optionally labeled with a task, a project, and tags. 

25. Rock time tracker 

The Rock Time Tracker is a tool that allows users to track the amount of time they spend on individual tasks. Time tracking can be enabled within individual tasks by pressing the time tracking icon in the top of the task description. The time tracker panel provides information on the user's own time tracking activities, including total time spent, tasks in progress, and tasks completed. 

26. RescueTime

RescueTime is an app you install on your computer and mobile devices that automatically pays attention to the apps you use, which files you open, and what websites you visit. It logs how much time you spend in each of them.

27. Clockify 

Clockify is a cloud-based platform, so users can log their hours using a web browser or the mobile app. If certain settings permit, employees can even manually enter their hours, which can be beneficial to workers who travel among locations.

28. Time Doctor

Time Doctor monitors web and app usage when working. If it detects excess time on YouTube, Facebook, or personal/non-work related sites, it alerts the user with a popup. It also sends an alert when the computer sits idle for too long during working hours.

29. Pocket

Pocket, previously known as Read It Later, is a social bookmarking service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks.

Join our online community to learn about the best time tracking and productivity tools for remote teams. With our expert advice and tips, you'll be able to stay focused and avoid distractions, helping you and your team work efficiently and effectively. 

Document collaboration and editing tools

Document collaboration and editing tools enable team members to work together on the same document in real-time, regardless of location. 

Features such as version control and simultaneous editing help to speed up the document creation process and avoid conflicts. 

These tools facilitate communication and collaboration, essential for the success of any team.

30. Google Docs

Google Docs is an online word processor included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google, which also includes: Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites and Google Keep.

31. Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper is an online document workspace, where you can organize and display text, media, and files all in one place. Paper lets you easily collaborate with others and access your Paper docs from anywhere.

32. Quip

Quip is a unified online workspace where everyone that you invite can create and edit documents together. The service also has tools for communicating in real-time, including in-app chat. You can choose between a variety of file types, including word processing documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations.

Join our online community to learn about the best tools for real-time document collaboration and editing. Sign up now to start achieving better results in your remote work setting!

Video conferencing tools 

Video conferencing tools enable team members to have face-to-face meetings, regardless of location. 

Features such as screen sharing and document collaboration facilitate communication and collaboration. 

These tools are important for maintaining a sense of connection and improving the success of any remote team.

33. Google Meet

Google Meet is a video-communication service developed by Google. It is one of two apps that constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Chat.

34. BlueJeans

BlueJeans provides interoperable cloud-based video conferencing services. Easily and securely hold live online meetings, webinars, and video calls.

Accessibility Features: While other platforms, like Zoom, require third-party apps for accessibility features, BlueJeans has closed captioning and other accessibility tools built in. Its transcription and captioning mean you don't need to manually caption your meeting.

35. Webex

WebEx is a multi-functional desktop Video/Audio Conference call application. Webex supports file transfers and removal of attendees from a meeting while Zoom has a one-touch feature to join or start a meeting and allows for watermarks and waiting rooms for added security.

36. Zoom

Zoom is a popular video conferencing tool used for virtual meetings and conferences. It offers high-definition video and audio, screen sharing, and the ability to record meetings. It is available as a desktop app and mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Zoom is commonly used for remote meetings and webinars.

37. Skype

Skype is a popular communication tool for voice and video calls, instant messages, and file sharing. It offers high-definition video and audio, screen sharing, and the ability to have group calls with up to 50 people. It is available as a desktop app and mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Skype is commonly used for remote meetings and conference calls. It is a popular choice for teams because of its versatility and global connectivity.

38. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts allows users to have real-time conversations and share files. It offers a range of features, including video and audio calling, instant messaging, and the ability to have group conversations with up to 150 people.

Google Hangouts is commonly used for remote meetings, collaboration on projects, and other forms of online communication.

39. GoTo Meeting 

GoTo Meeting is a web conferencing software by GoTo. It is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package that enables the user to meet with other computer users, customers, clients, or colleagues via the Internet in real time.

Check out our online community to learn about the best tools for video conferencing and remote meetings. With our expert advice and tips, you'll be able to maintain a sense of connection with your team and improve the success of your remote work setting. Sign up here!

Task and to-do list tools 

Task and to-do list tools allow individuals and teams to organize, prioritize, and track tasks and responsibilities. Task management tools are more focused on individual responsibilities, while the project management tools are more suitable for teams and departments. To-do list tools are also especially useful for freelancers and for those working with them.

Features such as task assignment and progress tracking help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals, while collaboration features facilitate communication and organization. 

Task and to-do list tools are an important tool for remote teams because they help to keep everyone on track and ensure that important tasks are not overlooked.

40. Rock:

Rock can easily help you stay on track with your tasks through its in-built task management system, that allows users to assign tasks within workspaces and the dashboard where all tasks can be viewed organized with labels, deadlines, topics, members, etc. 

41. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk allows users to create multiple task lists. Added tasks can be edited (or not) to include various fields, locations can be added, and an integrated Google Maps feature allows users to save commonly used locations. Tasks can also be organized by tags.

42. Any.do

Any.do is a productivity platform aimed at task and project management. It is available on mobile, web, and wearables with built-in integrations including calendars and virtual assistants.

43. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a discontinued cloud-based task management application. It allowed users to create lists to manage their tasks from a smartphone, tablet, computer and smartwatch.

44. Todoist

Todoist is a tool to keep track of professional and personal projects and tasks, make lists, collaborate at work, and keep track of responsibilities.

45. Microsoft To Do

A simple and intelligent to-do list that helps you manage all your tasks in one place. You can work through your tasks for the day in My Day and create any number of additional lists to organize your work, groceries, travel, shopping, movies to watch - you get the idea!

46. Habitica

Habitica is the perfect task management app for people who love games. The gamified interface makes managing your tasks fun, with virtual rewards for completing them and penalties for not doing so. 

47. Producteev

Producteev is a task management application for organizing and prioritizing activities as an individual or as part of a team. Producteev by Jive is a web, desktop and mobile app to assist individuals and teams in managing their tasks and activities. But, it's not suitable for people who aren't much into games and prefer a more formal structure.

48. Omnifocus

OmniFocus is a personal task manager by the Omni Group for macOS and iOS. The declared goal of the program is to be able to capture thoughts and ideas into to do lists. The program uses concepts and techniques described in the book and productivity system called Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Become a part of the Rock Remote community, where we share our best tips and tricks on all aspects of remote working! With our expert advice and tips, you'll be able to stay organized, on track, and in sync with your team, no matter where you are. 

Knowledge management and sharing tools 

Documentation is a crucial aspect of functional remote teams. Members of virtual teams rely on particular behaviors that are only appropriate in virtual environments to judge someone's reliability and make up for the absence of physically observed behaviors. 

Knowledge sharing is a critical behavior that members of virtual teams can look out for and rely on to develop trust within their team.

49. Confluence

The team workspace Confluence is where knowledge and cooperation come together. Your team may create, record, and participate on any project or concept using dynamic pages.

50. Notion

Notion is one of the most popular and flexible tools. It's an all-in-one productivity solution and it's simply one of the best tools I've ever used. Notion is incredibly flexible. It can be a writing repository, task management software, a workout calendar, a database, and so much more.

51. Tettra

Tettra is knowledge base software that organizes scattered company information to answer your team's repetitive questions right in Slack or MS Teams.

52. Loom

Loom is a solution for video messaging that assists you in communicating through immediately shareable videos. You can make screen recordings on your desktop, microphone, and camera using Loom. Your videos will be instantly shareable. 

Join our community to learn how to maximize the benefits of documentation for your remote team. Sign up to learn how to make the most of knowledge management tools and foster trust within your virtual team.

Note-taking tools 

Note-taking tools are useful when working remotely because they provide a way for individuals and teams to capture, organize, and share ideas, thoughts, and information.  

Note-taking tools are essential for remote teams to organize and centralize discussions and ideas. These tools help ensure important information is not lost and that all team members have access to updates.

53. Evernote

Evernote gives you everything you need to keep life organized—great note taking, project planning, and easy ways to find what you need, when you need it.

54. OneNote

OneNote is a digital notebook that automatically saves and syncs your notes as you work. Type information in your notebook or insert it from other apps and web pages. Take handwritten notes or draw your ideas.

55. Bear

Bear is a beautiful, flexible writing app for crafting notes and prose. Quick, easy setup will have you taking notes and using features in no time, and the clean user interface helps keep clutter at bay

Our community on Rock is filled with experienced remote workers who share valuable insights and support. Sign up now to start achieving better results in your remote work setting and gain access to a supportive network of like-minded individuals!

File sharing and storage tools 

File sharing and storage tools are used to store, organize, and share files and digital content. 

Features such as access control and version control help to ensure that team members have the right level of access to files and that important files are not lost or overwritten. 

File sharing and storage tools facilitate communication, collaboration, and organization, which are all key to the success of any remote team.

56. Google Drive

Google Drive allows users to store, access, and share files from any device with an internet connection. Features include offline access, file sharing, and integration with other Google tools. It is available as a web-based app and mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Google Drive is commonly used for file storage and collaboration on projects. It is popular for its convenience and integration with other Google tools.

57. Dropbox

Dropbox allows users to access and share their files from any device with an internet connection. It offers features such as offline access, file sharing, and integration with other tools and services. Dropbox is available as a web-based app and mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

It is mostly used for file storage and collaboration on projects and is known for its convenience and cross-platform compatibility.

58. OneDrive

OneDrive allows users to store, access, and share files from any device with an internet connection. Features include offline access, file sharing, and integration with other Microsoft tools.

OneDrive is commonly used for file storage and collaboration on projects and is popular for its convenience and integration with other Microsoft tools.

Join our online community to learn about the best file sharing and storage tools for remote teams. Sign up now to improve your remote work experience and stay on top of your team's files and projects!

Password management tools 

Password management tools are important when working remotely in teams because they provide a secure and convenient way to manage and share passwords. 

Password management tools allow team members to store and access their passwords in a secure, centralized location, which can help to ensure that everyone has access to the systems and accounts they need. 

Many password management tools also include features such as password generation and sharing, which can make it easier for teams to securely share passwords and access the systems and accounts they need. 

59. LastPass

LastPass is a freemium password manager that stores encrypted passwords online. The standard version of LastPass comes with a web interface, but also includes plugins for various web browsers and apps for many smartphones.

60. 1Password

1Password is safe, has all the must-have features and provides so much more than just password management. While it's a pity there's no free version, the added functionalities of vault organization, Privacy cards, Travel Mode and more make it a very robust option.

61. Dashlane

Built for individuals who want to secure and optimize their online lives. Dashlane makes it effortless for you to access your passwords, payment information, and IDs anywhere you are, across any device.

Keep your team's passwords secure and accessible, ensuring that everyone has access to the systems and accounts they need. Sign up now to start improving your remote work experience and ensuring the security of your team's information! 

Calendar and scheduling tools

Calendar and scheduling tools are used by individuals and teams to organize and manage their schedules and appointments. 

Calendar and scheduling tools help manage events, meetings, and deadlines, especially for remote teams without access to physical calendars or scheduling systems. These tools often have features such as calendar sharing, meeting scheduling, and reminder settings. These help keep team members informed and on the same schedule.

Overall, calendar and scheduling tools are an essential tool for remote teams. They facilitate communication, collaboration, and organization, which are all key to success.

62. Google Calendar

A calendar and scheduling tool to create, organize, and manage their calendars and appointments from any device. Google Calendar offers a range of features, including the ability to create multiple calendars, invite others to events, and set reminders.

63. Calendly

Calendly is your scheduling automation platform for eliminating the back-and-forth emails for finding the perfect time — and so much more.

64. Acuity Scheduling

Squarespace Scheduling lets users automate appointment bookings by offering a real-time view of their own time available. It has the capability to automatically sync calendars according to users' time zones and can send regular alerts and reminders to users regarding their appointment schedules.

Join our global community of productivity enthusiasts and learn from teams across the world about the latest and greatest calendar and scheduling tools. Sign up now to start connecting with others! 

Brainstorming and idea generation tools 

There are many tools that can be used for brainstorming and idea generation in remote work settings, such as collaborative whiteboard tools. They can boost creativity, share ideas with members and organize thoughts regarding new ventures. 

Here are some of the most popular choices: 

65. Miro

Miro is a whiteboarding platform that helps teams collaborate on a variety of tasks. These include brainstorming, workshopping, strategy mapping, agile ceremonies, UX research and design, product development, customer discovery, and process visualization.

66. Stormboard

Stormboard is a shared workspace and whiteboard app designed to transform the way you work from large meetings and multi-department projects to individual tasks and daily work.

67. Mural

MURAL is a virtual tool that enables innovative teams to collaborate visually and brainstorm solutions to their problems or challenges. Being able to create simple but comprehensive diagrams and throw ideas down in a virtual, collaborative space are some of the top reasons innovative teams cite loving this tool.

68. XMind

Xmind is a mind mapping and brainstorming tool that allows users to create visual diagrams that show the relationships between ideas and concepts. It is used by individuals and teams around the world to organize and communicate complex information.

Xmind offers a range of features, including the ability to create and customize mind maps, add notes and images, and share maps with others.

69. MindMeister

MindMeister is an online collaborative, knowledge-based mind mapping tool that students can use to understand and make connections between concepts, ideas, and information. Mind maps help users collect ideas and facts based on a given topic.

70. Cacoo

Cacoo is a user-friendly online drawing tool that allows you to create a variety of diagrams such as site maps, wire frames, UML and network charts. Cacoo can be used free of charge. Cacoo makes Real-Time Collaboration a reality! A diagram created with Cacoo can be edited by multiple people at the same time.

Join our community and discover the true power of mind mapping and diagramming tools! Share your tips, tricks, and experiences with other remote workers, and learn from their insights and expertise. Sign up here! 

Survey and feedback tools

Survey and feedback tools are used by teams to collect and analyze feedback from team members, customers, or other stakeholders. These tools provide a way for teams to gather information, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. 

71. SurveyMonkey

Easily create surveys, quizzes, and polls for any audience. Gather feedback via weblink, email, mobile chat, social media, and more. Automatically analyze your results and get powerful analysis features. Export your results or integrate your data with your favorite apps.

72. Typeform

Typeform makes collecting and sharing information comfortable and conversational. It's a web based platform you can use to create anything from surveys to apps, without needing to write a single line of code.

73. Google Forms

With Google Forms, you can create and analyze surveys right in your mobile or web browser—no special software required. You get instant results as they come in. And, you can summarize survey results at a glance with charts and graphs.

Get support, advice, and inspiration from other users, and discover new ways to use these tools to collect and analyze feedback. Join our community here!

Presentation tools

Presentation tools are used  to communicate ideas, share information, and collaborate on projects. Presentation tools often include features such as: the ability to add text, images, and animations, as well as the ability to collaborate on the same presentation in real-time. 

This allows team members to work together on presentations, even when they are not in the same location. Presentation tools often have features for sharing presentations online or presenting remotely, which helps remote teams present to other teams, clients, or stakeholders.

Overall, presentation tools provide a powerful way to communicate and collaborate on ideas and information.

74. Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation tool that is part of the Google suite of tools. It allows users to create, edit, and share presentations from any device with an internet connection.

Google Slides offers a range of features, including the ability to add text, images, and animations, as well as the ability to collaborate on the same presentation in real-time.

75. Prezi

Prezi is a multimedia presentation tool that can be used as an alternative to traditional slide making programs. Instead of slides, Prezi makes use of one large canvas that allows for panning and zooming to various parts of the canvas to emphasize the ideas presented there.

76. Canva

Users of Canva for Teams (and Canva Pro) have the option to create a brand kit that stores all of your important colors, fonts, and logos in one location. With the help of this function, every member of your team can use the precise guidelines of the brand kit folder when developing their designs in Canva.

77. PowerPoint

A slideshow program, part of the Microsoft Suite. Slides are used in the program to provide multimedia-rich information. A killer feature is that anyone can “Take control” of presenting the deck seamlessly. 

Join our community and make the most of your presentation skills and tools! Sign up here. 

Social workspace tools

Creating a sense of connection becomes even more important in remote teams. Without a physical office, many social aspects may be lost without conscious effort. Here are two programs that can make work a more social experience for teams: 

78. Sococo

Sococo is where dispersed teams may come to collaborate daily. Regardless of where the team members may be. By combining all of the video conferencing capabilities in one location, Sococo creates an online classroom or office-like virtual space where users can navigate between rooms. 

79. Workplace

A Facebook-designed platform for business communication. It almost qualifies as "social media for business." Teams may connect, share knowledge, and work together using Workplace. Workplace's social media network has news feeds and personal pages, just like Facebook.

Join our community to learn how to make the most out of the social tools available today. Learn how other teams enhance their social experience in their remote work around the world! 

Wait… So what do teams use Rock for?

Rock can be used to build a community, manage your next project, work with freelancers and partners, or anything else that requires messaging and/or project management functionality. 

Rock currently offers the following remote work features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Project management
  • Task management
  • Note-taking
  • File sharing 
  • Time tracking

And so much more! 

Learn more from our users who are managing marketing agencies, startups, educational projects, freelancers and software developing teams on Rock. 

Sign up today! 

Join our community for free to learn more about all the available remote work tools!

Join our community for free and stay up-to-date on the latest and best collaboration tools for remote teams!

Blogs, videos or podcasts quickly become outdated. Our constantly refreshed list is sourced from community feedback, so you can trust that it's constantly updated and dedicated to the highest quality.

This means that if you join today and come back in 6 months, you might encounter a whole new refreshed list across categories! 

You can learn from teams all around the world and share your own experiences with others. In addition to the comprehensive list of collaboration tools for remote teams, our community also offers expert advice, events, and news to help you optimize your remote work strategy. 

Connect with fellow remote workers and managers to share experiences and best practices. Join us today and maximize the benefits of remote work for your team! 

Jan 1, 2023
January 10, 2023

70+ Remote Work Tools: Community sourced [2022]

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

Managing relationships with clients is a big part of your job when freelancing. Keeping a close relationship with clients is key for all freelance services including copywriting, design or engineering work.

Efficient and smooth collaboration with clients ensures that you can meet deadlines and build long lasting connections. However, setting up smooth collaboration flows is often easier said than done.

How do you make sure that communicating with clients is effective and tailored to their needs?

Read along to learn more about some best practices. We have gathered workflows and best practices from freelancers all across Rock which you can easily implement in your next freelance project!

What does good client management look like for a freelancer?

You want your clients to be heard and understood, all while meeting their expectations and deadlines. Likely you have more than one client, and all of them require your input on the daily or at least weekly or monthly basis.

This means you need to learn how to balance your time on each client effectively and efficiently. Don’t forget about at the same time providing personalized support, at the end of the day every client wants to feel like you’re prioritizing their project.

To do so, you need to create processes, workflows and systems that support this. Here are 7 habits most of our freelancers mentioned when discussing client management on Rock.

1. Balance personal with scalable

How do you keep your communication with multiple clients personal yet scalable? You need to set up a system which allows you to provide personalized support on your client projects in a scalable way.

Define typical projects you work on and create templates containing specific workflows. The templates might include systems, steps, and playbooks. You can use these templates every time you start a new project and adjust them depending on the needs of your client.

Think of a welcome or project start note that is shared in the beginning of a project. Feedback forms at certain milestones can also be scalable but personalized to your brand and project experience.

A common way to keep track of these activities is by implementing internal task management to set reminders about certain milestones or completed activities.

2. Easy access to information

Think about which information or files have to be shared with a client before starting a project. Making all relevant information such as project details and deliverables easily accessible will save you time. It also gives clients a more professional and well-prepared first impression of you.

Make sure your client knows how to access all information they might need. You should inform them of the documentation and grant access at the beginning of any project.

Neither you nor your client need to waste time searching for files or information across multiple folders, apps or long email threads.

Implementing this open up valuable time as clients don’t have to reach out to find files, reports or workflows. You can use this gained time to focus on nurturing the relationship, accelerate implementation, gather feedback or provide support.

3. Overview of progress

It’s crucial to provide your clients with an overview of your progress regarding projects you work on. This allows you to avoid miscommunication and make sure that the final result aligns with expectations.

You might want to establish a process and use a project management tool to keep your clients in the loop. A defined process and efficient tools work way more effectively than scattered progress pings via, for instance, email.

It also gives room for more asynchronous work. Clients can chime in whenever they have time if you update work through a shared system. No need to wait for a meeting or scroll through a messy email thread.

4. Fast and seamless communication

Communication is key. You should make sure that your clients are able to get in touch with you effortlessly. Make sure to have internal communication strategies that align with your brand voice and business offering.

It’s important to keep conversations flowing. Rock has a mobile app and offers the option to send audio messages. This way you can make sure that communication is fast and seamless anywhere, and can be taken on the go.

5. Make it effortless to enter in contact for first projects

It should be easy to start a conversation with you to discuss a new project or start working together. The Quick Connect feature on Rock comes in handy here.

We built Quick Connect in order to make it easier and quicker for everyone, including freelancers, to open new communication channels.

If you use Quick Connect, your clients can scan your QR code or click on your personal link to open a space with you to communicate. You can share the QR code and/or the link on your website, email, or any other external page.

6. Relationship building

It is cheaper and more efficient to keep existing clients than to search for new ones. Also, satisfied clients who are in touch with you even after a project might spread the word and refer friends or other businesses to you.

It’s very beneficial to stay connected with your clients even after the official project. You never know when a new opportunity arises. Build a long lasting relationship and stay in touch with your clients via, for instance, a newsletter.

Alternatively, you can build a community where your previous clients can connect with each other and keep their relationship with you.

7. Avoid multi-channels

Using several different channels for your communication and collaboration with clients can become confusing for both parties.

Things get messy if you use email, a messaging app, a separate cloud storage and a project management tool simultaneously. It gets quite time-consuming to find relevant information fast and you might not now where you left off in terms of communication.

By using one application for everything you can be sure that the information or files will be found within that one tool. You don’t need to switch your focus between different applications. It saves you time and stress.

How to manage your clients from one place

We’ve talked with freelancers who use Rock to manage UX and low-code development, content writing, design, engineering and other workflows. They share their experiences and suggestions on how to organize spaces, set up workflows and take the best out of Rock as a freelancer.

Here are three spaces we often see freelancers manage on Rock:

  • Client spaces
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Communities

Client spaces

You can create dedicated spaces on Rock for each client you work with and invite them for free.

By creating a space per client you will be able to stay highly organized. Each client, their project information and communication will be grouped and easily accessible. Client spaces can be useful for day-to-day communication, project management and documentation.

Day-to-day communication

Use client spaces for seamless day-to-day communication. Discuss daily activities and quickly catch-up with your clients by leveraging full-fledged messaging functionality in every space.

The chat is at the forefront of a space and intuitive to use. This makes it a great solution for direct communication with the client. Leverage reactions, audio messages, polls, threads and so much more to keep the conversation going.

Sometimes you might need to arrange a quick video meeting with your client.  Rock offers the Meetings mini-app in ever space with integration to Zoom, Google Meet and Jitsi and Loom.

This can be beneficial for freelancers as they can connect their video conferencing account to Rock and start a meeting when other channels are not cutting it.

Project management

Besides day-to-day communication, you can use your same client spaces to manage ongoing projects. Project management through tasks mini-app will have you strongly equipped in managing your next project while involving clients..

You can toggle between multiple task views including board, list and calendar. The task board view allows you to visualize projects by dividing tasks in different columns and stages. Categorize tasks and filter them depending on your needs by leveraging labels, priority, assignees and so much more..

The comment section within each task makes it easy to follow up or have a more focused discussion with the client. This way you can make sure that both parties are always on the same page.

Documentation

Rock allows you to document relevant information so it’s easily accessible and safely stored.

The Notes mini-app can be used to store general information that is relevant for your client projects. It might contain some project guidelines, rules or briefings. When you add this information to notes it becomes easily accessible anytime. Otherwise, it might get scattered across different channels and eventually lost.

The Files mini-app is helpful if you often share files with your client. This can come in useful if you’re a copywriter, doing website project management, or graphic designer. Connect cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Figma, Miro or Notion to Rock and share files with your clients without searching across folders or sharing links across messages, tasks and notes.

You can even attach files from a cloud storage of your choice to any task. It allows you to share task related files with your clients easily.

CRM space

Besides dedicated client spaces on Rock you can also create a space for yourself which serves as a CRM system.

This allows you to keep track of projects and details of current, past or potential clients. You don’t need to invest in any additional tools as spaces can be adjusted to support this use case.

Here’s how freelancers can manage their ongoing projects with a CRM space on Rock:

1. Use the task board as your main CRM view

Use the Tasks mini-app in the board view to arrange your CRM system. You can use lists to define the current status of each client.

For instance, you can organize lists as Leads, Active projects, Closed Projects, Revisit Later and more, depending on your needs.

2. Create a task per client

Create a task per client and add all relevant information to the task description. Easily attach any important documents or files such as contracts or invoices.

You can even set a deadline to prospect tasks in case you need to follow up or reach out before a certain date. Make sure you’re assigned to the task to receive a dedicated notification.

With individual task cards you can make sure all contacts, updates and remarks are stored and well-documented. You can update and adjust this information at any time.

3. Use labels and priority status to categorize

Labels might come in handy as you can categorize your clients by labeling them depending on a project type or size.

Labels will help you to visualize your client management and filter across client cards easier. Also, you can use the priority status feature to categorize your clients depending on their size, number of available projects or income potential.

4. Keep project details close by combining the checklist, @mention feature and attaching could files

Use the checklist to include relevant points about each client to keep your documentation neat.

You can @ mention tasks from different spaces. For example, you want to save a task that you were working on in a space with a client. You can mention that task as a reference in a client task in your CRM space. It allows you to easily connect spaces and find information faster.

Moreover, you might want to connect your cloud storage to the CRM space. You can easily attach cloud files to your client’s CRM tasks which will allow you to quickly check which files are relevant to each client.

Community space

Build a community on Rock! Do you design websites? Or write content? Whatever it is that you do as a freelancer, you can bring your target audience together by creating a themed community space on Rock.

Invite your former, existing or potential clients to the community for free. You can engage your community by asking stimulating questions, sharing industry news and creating polls to gather opinions.

You can use the Topics mini-app to spark more in depth discussion while reducing the noise! This way the discussions will be structured and people will be able to choose which topics they want to follow, similar to a discussion board.

The community space can become a unique tool in your project acquisition funnel. It will help you to nurture connections with your clients, build trust and show that you are knowledgeable in your field. Curious what a community space can look like? Join ours!

Advantages of using Rock for working with clients

Why should you start managing your client relationships on Rock? There are some advantages to using an all-in-one solution to work with clients. Here are two main advantages of centralized client management you should consider.

More functionality

If you manage your client relationships via email you likely know how confusing and long email threads can become.

In addition to that, it’s often difficult to involve new people into email conversations. We all know how easy it is to lose work details or documents between threads that include a different set of participants or revolve around a different discussion topic.

Rock allows you to forget about emails and have all the communication and collaboration in one place. All-in-one messaging combined with tasks, notes and files, provides a seamless experience.

Faster

You will save time as you don’t have to switch between different tools and keep an eye on your emails simultaneously. Using one tool for everything will pay off as you will be able to spend more time getting your work done faster.

Start managing your clients on Rock today

Rock is used by many freelancers around the world to manage and nurture their client relationships everyday.

Having everything in one place will improve your workflows and will get your client relationships to the next level!

Sign up today and facilitate your day-to-day client communication, project management, documentation, CRM and community building.

Dec 14, 2022
December 14, 2022

How to Work With Clients on Rock: Freelance Edition

Greta Pagojute
Product Specialist @ Rock
5 min read

How long is a sprint? The length of a sprint should be determined based on your project and the capacity of your team. Generally speaking, sprints should last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.

Whether you want the length of a sprint to be weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month depends on the scope and nature of the project. For instance, if you are working on a project that has a long implementation cycle, then longer a timeframe (i.e. monthly sprints) may be necessary to work through the full backlog.

Determine how much work should realistically be completed before deciding on the duration of your sprints. If short sprints are not realistic, then pushing for weekly sprints will only burn your team out and create a toxic work culture.

Listen to your team and actively iterate on feedback during your retrospectives. Scrum is flexible and agile, meaning that you can reconfigure your next sprint for a longer timeframe if need be.

Sprints in Scrum recap: everything you should know

Scrum is an agile project management framework that helps teams to move toward their goals by providing structure and guidance. It is based on three core principles: transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

In Scrum, a sprint is a timeboxed development cycle used to complete specific tasks. The goal of each sprint is to produce results that are reviewed at the end of the period.

The sprint length in scrum is 1 to 4 weeks because it allows teams to quickly cycle through a backlog. This helps teams stay agile and get work done in fast-paced environments that deal with a lot of uncertainty.

Here are a few terms you might have come across, or which are relevant to know when discussing sprint duration:

  • User stories: User stories are a key component of the Scrum methodology. They are brief, simple descriptions of the desired outcome that can be used to help prioritize tasks.
  • Scrum master: The scrum master is the team member responsible for implementing the scrum framework. They act as a coach and facilitator, and work to remove any roadblocks that may prevent the team from achieving their goals.
  • Scrum ceremonies: Sprint planning, daily scrums, sprint reviews, and retrospective meetings are all considered scrum ceremonies. They are essential to the implementation of scrum and help keep teams on track while maximizing productivity.
  • Backlog: the backlog is a list of tasks that need to be completed during a sprint. The backlog contains user stories and technical tasks that are broken down into smaller packages to help teams focus on what needs to be done.

How to manage a scrum sprint in simple terms

There are multiple stages to a sprint in Scrum.  Each stage has a different set of activities the team should look into to stay organized at work and ensure that tasks get completed in time.

Common stages in sprints are: pre-planning, Working Breakdown Structure (WBS), task completion, review, and retrospective.

Pre-Planning

Set the parameters of the sprint including goals, timelines, resources, and budgets. Meet with stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding expectations.

Agile working breakdown structure

The working breakdown structure (WBS) is a key part of the scrum process. It helps teams break down goals into smaller, more manageable pieces that go into the backlog.

This allows the scrum master to implement task management and track progress and ensure that everything is completed on time.

When creating a WBS, it's important to keep the following in mind:

  • Tasks should be specific and measurable.
  • Individual tasks should be time-based, with a start and finish date assigned.
  • Priorities should be set based on importance and urgency.
  • Every individual action item should be related to the overall goal of the sprint.
  • Keep the difference between project vs task in mind when configuring your backlog.

Once the WBS is created, teams can decide who will be working on what and by when each individual task or action item needs to be completed.

Task completion/sprint work

During the sprint, it's important to track progress and make sure that tasks are being completed on time. Things that can help with this are weekly to-do lists, daily standups and active task tracking.

The scrum master should monitor the team's progress and ensure that any obstacles such as roadblocks or unexpected delays are addressed swiftly.

Review & Testing

At the end of each sprint, teams should review their progress and conduct any necessary testing to ensure that all tasks are completed correctly.

Team Retrospective

After the allotted timeslot is over, teams should get together to discuss how the previous sprint went. Make sure to set up a meeting agenda at least 48 hours in advance so everyone can write down discussion items, share documents and prepare accordingly.

You can use this time to assess workload, budgets, and other estimates that were set. Set learning items from these experiences for your next sprint, then return to Pre-planning.

Are your sprints too short? Here are three signs to keep an eye out for

If your sprint duration is too short, then it's likely that most tasks are not completed in time or to an acceptable standard. Here are a few ways you can spot your sprint being too short:

1. You are spending too much time in retros & planning

Retros and planning lose value if they take up too much of the overall sprint cycle.  If you find that these activities are taking up too much valuable time, then it could be a sign that your sprints are too short.

Be efficient and adjust your sprints where necessary on an ongoing basis. This way you can guarantee that every sprint brings your team a step closer to an improved or even final product.

2. Output is too small

Your sprint time might be too short if the ultimate output from your sprints is not considered a completed phase or shippable output.

This could hint that you are not providing enough time for the team to complete their tasks or fit in enough tasks to reach the end goal.

3. Overloaded teams

If the sprints are too short, then there will not be enough time for people to take breaks or work on all the action items before the end of the sprint. This can cause stress and reduce motivation levels.

Remember that the scrum process should help foster collaboration and align with your communication strategies. If teams are constantly overloaded with work or can't find time to relax between sprints, then your cycles might not be in line with the ultimate goals.

What to do if your sprint duration is too short

You can fix short sprints by lengthening your cycles and adding more time for collaboration, planning, and strategic conversations between team members.

This will help ensure that tasks are completed on time and to a satisfactory standard. With the right amount of sprint time, you'll be able to ship products more quickly and efficiently.

Remember that there are no strict rules when it comes to sprints. Every team is different and some may need to adjust their cycles accordingly. The key is to find the balance between completing tasks within the given timeframe while not overloading or stressing out employees.

With careful planning, teams can achieve company goals and objectives while enjoying a healthy working environment.

Remote work tools like Rock were created exactly for this purpose. Teams can plan and review progress intuitively by combining task management and chat in the same space.

4 signs that might indicate your sprints are too long

On the other hand, your sprint duration can also be too long. Here are a few signs that might indicate you need to reduce the sprint length:

1. Teams accelerate as sprints near their end

Teams increase their productivity as they near the end of a sprint. The lack of pressure to finalize work allows teams to procrastinate and leave activities for the end.

Make sure that tasks within a sprint are completed in a regular cadence. If you notice that more tasks are getting completed towards the end of your sprint, then that might be a sign that you can add a bit more pressure to day-to-day work.

To fix this, set a schedule for completing tasks during your sprint. Set internal deadlines that end before the sprint if activities can be completed by then.

You can also rearrange the start dates of tasks so task assignees can more easily focus on items that require immediate attention.

2. Teams lose perspective on work

There is less understanding of what user story or overall goal a sprint is actually covering. When there are too many tasks in a sprint and work just piles up, it becomes a challenge to understand what everyone is working towards.

When there are an obscene amount of tasks in a sprint, and work just continues to build up, it becomes impossible to follow what everyone is working towards. Less understanding of the user story or goal the sprint is tackling can cause confusion.

To solve overloaded backlogs, try looking for ways to slice the workload up in multiple sprints. This gives your team more room to breathe, a better perspective on the outcome, and overall more motivation to tackle the tasks.

3. Teams become disengaged

If a project drags on, then the team might start to lose enthusiasm toward it. This can lead to procrastination and a lack of commitment.

If you believe your team is disengaging, try to discuss it during the next team retrospective meeting. This allows you to verify whether the sprint duration is truly the problem or if something else is at fault.

4. Mini waterfalls emerge

A mini waterfall is a phenomenon that occurs when different sets of tasks are blocking each other within the same sprint in order to complete a user story.

If too many tasks from one team member are blocking someone else, it might be time to re-evaluate the sprint. You don't want people waiting around unnecessarily. Slice up your sprint or make sure that current tasks in the backlog cover the availability of the whole team.

Manage your sprints in one place with Rock

Recap: How long is a sprint in agile? Scrum or agile sprint length should be anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.

Effectively implementing sprints can help improve productivity in your organization. Rock natively combines task management with chat so you can merge project management and team communications in one place.

Collaborate with your team no matter where you are in the project by utilizing the Chat and Topics mini-apps. Link to any task, note, person, or file by simply mentioning @ ____ in the chat.

Sprint duration communicate more effectively by mentioning

Rock also provides an in-depth approach to task management with list, board, and calendar views. Task cards are full of features such as a dedicated sprint feature, assignees, labels, cloud file attachments, followers, comment sections and so much more!

Sprints with monthly duration feature on Rock

Bonus! the Notes mini-app allows you to add meeting agendas before your next retrospective meeting. Add cloud files, leave comments and edit the notes before, during, and after your meeting.

Sprint retrospective note

Rock is an intuitive project management solution designed to help teams collaborate in one place. We combine task management and chat in one unified workspace, helping teams stay on track and reach their goals faster. Work with unlimited people and set up as many new projects as you want, all for free.

Sign up today to get started!

Dec 8, 2022
December 12, 2022

Sprint Duration: How Long Should Sprints Be?

Nicolaas Spijker
Growth Marketing @ Rock
5 min read

Budget overruns are a manager's nightmare. Even with all the checks and balances in place, you might still exceed the available finances. Underestimated costs can make the best idea turn into a failed project. So budgeting sometimes becomes a test for the success of a project.  

Budgeting is the key skill for ensuring organizations have sufficient financial resources to execute ideas. There are only few skills as critical to running a business as project budget management.

In fact, establishing a budget is the first step you should take to ensure that your plan is reliable and can work out. It also becomes critical if you are looking into how to improve productivity in an organization

But what is project budgeting and how can you apply it? In this article you will learn all you need to know to master project management budget planning and take your project to the next level. Let’s get started!

Project Budget Management: What Does it Consist of? 

Project budget management is the process of creating a document to estimate incomes and expenses for a project during a given timing (for instance, the upcoming quarter or year). When you develop your budget, you have to take into account three main aspects: money, people and time.

  1. Money. Every project involves costs, regardless of its size and nature. Knowing how much you can spend sets the path for a prosperous launch. And it helps you put some order across the different phases of the project, helping you stay organized at work. Sometimes as the project evolves, the cost forecast changes, so you have to update the project planning budget accordingly.
  1. People. Budgeting project management also involves people. When you are managing a project budget, you have to estimate not only financial resources but also human capital.Think on how many people will be involved in the project, what is their required level of expertise and how many hours are they going to work.
  1. Time. Time is money, as it translates into productivity. Making sure you're not spending too much time on something unproductive will help you get better results. So having a realistic budget for project management will save you time.
How to do project budget management

Benefits of Project Budget Management

Why is managing project budgets so relevant? The most obvious reason is that an accurate budget helps you keep costs at bay. It also gives you a clear idea of the project feasibility, so you can see in advance if you can really get started with a certain project.

But there is more to it than that. According to Harvard Business School, these are five main reasons why budgeting is key for running any business:

  1. Project budget management helps you achieve company goals and objectives. You can use budgeting to set financial goals. And you can also apply project management budgeting methods to see how those goals evolve.
  2. It ensures resource availability. Project management budget planning’s primary function is to ensure you have enough resources to meet your project's goals. By establishing and organizing your finances in advance you can plan task management better and determine which teams require more resources.
  3. It provides a core plan. A budget is a financial roadmap for the upcoming period. It gives you a plan and shows how much you should earn and spend. The budget is updated as the project gets through that plan.
  4. It makes prioritizing projects easier. When you are managing a budget you have to decide which projects and initiatives come first. So having a good understanding of project vs task management is relevant.
  5. It can lead you to financing opportunities. Investors highly value documented budgetary information when deciding whether to fund a company or a business project, says the Harvard Business School. Don’t miss out on these opportunities! Master your budgeting skills.
Benefits of project budget management

Project Management Budgeting Methods

Now that you know what project budget management is and why it matters, let’s explore how to set up a budget. Here are six different methods:

  • Bottom up: individual tasks add up to the overall cost of your project. Each department creates a list of expenses and cost projections, submitted for review. Cross departmental communication is used to keep everyone on the loop. Once agreed, these separate budgets are added to the company’s overall budget. 
  • Top down: an overall cost is set and then calculated back. In top down budgeting, the senior management prepares the budget based on objectives, and passes it on to different departments, says the Corporate Financial Institute. The departments create their own budget based on established allocation and goals.
  • Parametric estimation: you use industry rates to calculate the budget. Parametric estimating does not focus on every single task, but on the most important ones within the project management framework. An algorithm is used to calculate cost or duration, based on data and parameters.
  • Analogous estimation: you compare to similar past projects to calculate the budget. Analogous estimation relies on expert judgment rather than data. It uses experiences from previous or similar projects, comparing its duration, budget, size and complexity, among other characteristics.
  • Three point estimate: you calculate the budget based on risk analysis. This technique determines the probable outcomes of future events. It is established through three main points: the best-case estimate, the most likely estimate and the worst-case estimate.
  • Earned value analysis: you make a comparison of budget and past projects. “Earned Value Analysis (EVA) allows the project manager to measure the amount of work performed on a project beyond the basic review of cost”, explains senior manager Reichel Chance from the Project Management Institute
Project Management Budgeting Methods

Common Reasons for Project go Over Budget

How can you fail on your  project management budget planning? When something in the project goes wrong, time and money have to be invested to direct it back on the right track. So execution mistakes - either they are small mistakes or fatal errors - can induce a significant risk of surpassing the estimated budget. These are some of the main mistakes:

  • Poor planning. A recent PwC’s Cloud Business Survey showed that just 17% of chief risk officers are brought into projects at the planning stage. Most come to the table much later, which often results in poor planning and bad budgeting.  

    Poor organization of a project can make activities take longer than expected. There might be new activities that were not accounted for, or accounted activities that ended up not being relevant. Poor planning can make you waste resources unnecessarily. 
  • Lack of coordination. This often happens when people lack professional communication skills, or when cross functional collaboration is not taken into account.

    For instance, if employees engaged in the project do not fully comprehend its objectives and tasks, they will tend to make mistakes. In turn, managers will demand revisions and corrections, so things have to be remade multiple times. Hence, inadequate stakeholder communication may lead to cost overruns.
  • Project changes. Since the business environment is highly dynamic, changes in projects are usually hard to get away from. This happens, for example, when the end deliverable of a project suddenly changes to something else. These changes can affect the whole project budget management plan. 
  • Scope changes. The unchecked growth of the project’s scope is a massive problem for project managers. It happens when a project becomes much bigger than expected. Or when some parts that were initially not considered important are added. This occurs if a project’s complexity has been underestimated. 

Best Practices for Managing Project Budget

So how can you prevent going over budget? In the following you can find five project budget management  best practices for maintaining your project budget under control. Try them out:

  1. Review frequently. Have an overview of tasks with deadlines to make sure that the work gets completed on time. It will not only help you manage your budget, but also have a better understanding on how to improve work performance.

    Use Rock to review and prioritize tasks. Move the project’s tasks to a calendar view to see the starting dates and deadlines more clearly. 
  1. Clear overview of progress and costs. In the Tasks mini-app on Rock, use labels, custom fields, lists and statuses to stay up to date on the progress and costs of your project.

    The board view in the Tasks mini-app can help by visualizing how the project and its budget are developing. It gives you a clear overview and reduces potential contingencies.
  2. Implement a Project management framework. You have to choose the right framework to manage a project successfully. Set up a system with rules for everyone in your team to know which tasks they have been assigned. Agile can be good to deal with scope changes. Check out our previous article on Agile vs Waterfall to learn all about this method.
  3. Enact transparency. Make sure that all team members can clearly see how far the project is getting along, and whether something is taking too long. It will allow you to have more control over your budget. A better transparency will reflect on a more organized project planning budget.

    You can use the Notes mini-app on Rock to share relevant information about the budget. This way everyone involved has a quick access to information.
  4. Communicate clearly. Better communication usually results in more structured budget information. Use clear, well-documented channels to communicate challenges and accomplishments. Also, don’t forget to foster cross departmental communication.

    Rock can help to keep your communication structured and in one place. Use chat, polls, or meetings to have quick interactions. You can also use the Topics mini-app for more in-depth and structured discussions.
Project Management Budget

Software Picks to Make Sure Work Gets Done While Staying in Budget

Which software can you use to avoid last minute surprises on your budgeting? Try out the following remote work tools:

  • Rock. We have already given you some tips on how to use Rock for managing project budgets in the best possible way, but there is more to it.

    Something to highlight is Rock’s all-in-one project management functionality. Combine messaging with tasks, notes, files, topics and meetings to keep your whole project budget management in one place. Instead of using many different apps, you can use the same platform in a more organized way.Set up your budget and get everyone informed without having to switch between different apps.
  • Loom. Loom complements Rock and it can be used to provide feedback in asynchronous work video format. Rock has a Loom integration, so you can share Looms on Rock easily.

    Use Looms for different parts of the project budget management process. Share information with your team about the different stages of the project and the budget prospects. Send and record videos at any time, so people can watch them as many times as they want to and leave comments if something is unclear.
  • Google Drive. You can connect Google Drive with Rock. Integrate your files to the Files mini-app and have easy access to them. All your project budget related documents will be accessible to everyone in the platform. Learn about what file management is and make your work easier.
  • Notion. Just like Google Drive, you can integrate Notion to Rock to work on your budget plan and get everyone on the same page.

    ​​Through this integration, teams can connect all necessary documentation from Notion to Rock more efficiently. 

Use Rock to Keep your Project Budget Management in One Place

Rock can help you to plan your budget effectively! Stay on track by sharing information and communicating about the budgeting project management process with your team on Rock.

Integrations such as Loom, Google Drive and Notion will allow you to manage all the budget information in one place. Spend less time switching tools and focus on finishing the project within your budget successfully!

Nov 26, 2022
November 28, 2022

Project Budget Management: Estimation and Best Practices

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

Whatsapp is primarily used for personal communication, however, some companies use it for business. At the first sight this might look as an attractive solution as it's free and easy to use. Nevertheless, switching from WhatsApp to Rock unlocks a new set of functionality that can help your team stay productive.

There are several reasons why you should move your business communication to a more suitable platform. Rock is a great WhatsApp alternative to switch your business messaging. In this article we will highlight some benefits of making this change.

We also lay down the steps to take if you want to seamlessly switch between platforms.

4 reasons to move your business communication away from Whatsapp

There are a few relevant points which you should reconsider if you still use Whatsapp or other messaging-only tools for your business communication. Read on to learn more.

WhatsApp provides only messaging functionality

Even though messaging is an important part of any business’ communication, it’s not everything.

If you rely only on messaging, your team ends up being dependent on synchronous communication. Synchronous communication implies that employees expect others to reply in real time in order to move on with their work. WhatsApp chats get noisy and messy, and it becomes difficult to stay up to date and easily find relevant information.

Rock combines both messaging and tasks. This way communication becomes way more structured and information is easier to find. You can still use chat for general communication but the Tasks mini-app is great for tracking your to-do’s and easily seeing what your colleagues are working on.

On Rock, your team doesn't need to follow long chats to find what’s relevant for them. You can simply create tasks and assign employees, so everyone knows what they need to do.

Each task has its own comments section. Instead of writing everything in one chat, you can discuss each task individually in the dedicated space. This keeps all information easily accessible to the relevant team members.

Communication on Whatsapp is siloed

Often you might need more than one chat to manage your work communication on Whatsapp. This is where it becomes difficult. It can be quite a challenge to communicate across chats as they are not really connected.

For example, if you interact with colleagues on several different projects in multiple chats. It is challenging to manage the work between a number of disconnected streams of communication.

You might need to reference messages or action items which were discussed in a different chat. Whatsapp doesn’t provide a smooth way to interconnect multiple chats and easily reference information across them.

On Rock, you can create Workspaces which enable you to connect your group chats together based on function and focus. Using Workspaces allows you to invite or remove people from multiple spaces at once which saves you time.

Work related communication on Whatsapp is harmful for your work-life balance

It’s likely that you use WhatsApp to communicate with your family and friends. If you also use the same app for work communication, the line between work and personal life is blurred.

That makes it more challenging to disconnect and rest after your working hours.

According to Forbes, a separation between work and private life helps to avoid stress and is critical for your and your colleagues mental health.

Rock allows you to have a dedicated tool only for work communication. It means you won’t see unwanted work related messages coming in during your free time. This will help you to establish a healthy work-life balance.

WhatsApp needs to be combined with another project management tool

WhatsApp is great for chatting but not powerful enough for many teams that want to manage projects. Likely, you need to combine Whatsapp with another project management tool as messaging isn’t enough to establish a sustainable workflow.

Consequently, your team will have to communicate via messages on one tool, and monitor tasks on another one. This type of context switching causes employees to lose focus as their productivity is temporarily reduced every time they have to switch between tools.

Why not keep it all in one place? Rock has a bunch of features beyond the chat that will help you further supercharge your work. Here are a few benefits of Rock which will allow you to do way more than just messaging:

@mention.

You can create and easily mention tasks, notes, topics, files and people in the chat. It provides direct links to the objects you are referring to. As all the objects are on Rock, you don’t need to leave the platform to view them. Everything becomes interconnected and easily accessible!

Tap-to-organize.

Convert a string of messages into a new task, note or topic. No more copy pasting information between platforms so you save time. Also, your chats become clean and organized.

Less context switching.

The fewer platforms in your toolstack, the better the focus. With Rock, everything is integrated so you can stay on one platform and focus on your work with less distractions.

Use import from WhatsApp to quickly migrate conversations and users

Ready to move from WhatsApp to Rock? You don’t need to worry about losing your previous chat history as you can bring it over. You can simply import all your information, users and messages, from Whatsapp to Rock for free.

You can do that in a few easy steps. We’re going to guide you through this simple procedure:

1. Export your chats from WhatsApp

Firstly, export the chats from WhatsApp which you want to bring over to Rock. This is possible on your mobile device only.

2. Import to Rock

You can import a chat directly to Rock when saving from Whatsapp. Whatsapp will show you a selection of different apps to share the exported chat to. Select Rock among these and it will start the importing process.

3. Select the Rock space

Choose a space where you want to import your Whatsapp chat. Alternatively, you can also create a new space to host the messages and invite your WhatsApp contacts to.

4. Map the users you are importing

Invite users that were part of the WhatsApp chat to Rock. This way, the messages are assigned to the correct sender. You can invite people inside and outside your organization to Rock for free.

5. Confirm the import

Your messages and users are now on Rock! You will get notified and will see an ‘imported’ tag to your imported messages.
If you need more detailed information on how to carry on an import, please read this guide to walk you through all the steps in detail.

Switch from WhatsApp to Rock today, it’s free!

Get your team on Rock today to leverage more functionality through tasks, notes, files and meetings. Rock was built with a focus on productivity and collaboration.

Improve your workflow, reduce stress and access a complete overview of what your team is working on from a single app. Pick and choose how to communicate with your team and bring tasks to the finish line.

If you need any support with importing from WhatsApp or have questions to our team, feel free to get in touch with us.

We also encourage you to join the Future of Rock community to learn more about how we organize our work, collaborate with people and stay productive with messaging, tasks and more in one place.

Nov 25, 2022
November 25, 2022

Switching From WhatsApp For Business Messaging: Why use Rock

Greta Pagojute
Product Specialist @ Rock
5 min read

We all have experienced a bad meeting. You arrive on time, but it starts late. Nothing is really decided. No one seems to be in charge. There are no check in questions for meetings. And, as the meeting wraps up, it just feels like a waste of time.

There is a better way to do meetings. The critical point is to find the balance between meeting length vs effectiveness. And have a clear purpose for the meeting.

So how long should a meeting last? In this article, you will find the answer to that question. You will learn about different types of meetings and how to apply the rules to effective meeting duration. 

What is the best meeting duration?

To decide how long your meeting should last, you have to reflect first about how urgent it is and how many people will participate.

Unless you have a very clear goal in mind, there is a danger that a meeting will be a waste of time, advises this Harvard Business Review article. So if you are in charge of organizing a meeting, ask yourself this question: “what is this meeting intended to achieve?”

Once you know that, you will be able to establish a meeting duration.

In general terms, no meeting should be longer than half an hour. There are many experts that support that idea. One of them is Donna McGeorge, the author of The 25 Minute Meeting: Half the Time, Double the Impact. She says that, if done well, meetings are “short, sharp and productive”.

This theory is inspired by Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro method, which states that 25 minutes is the optimal amount of time for people to focus on a certain topic. 

But there are exceptions. The meeting length really depends on the nature of each of your conversations. Let’s have a look at the most typically occurring meetings and their recommended duration.

Types of meetings and their recommended duration

Sometimes, setting up a long meeting is not necessary. You could just have a coffee chat or a very short meeting to clarify some points or share a quick update.

In other cases, meetings don’t need to happen at all, especially in the case of asynchronous work, where other kinds of communications are prioritized.

But in some cases meetings are effective tools to share information. You can use them to improve engagement and build team culture. They can also be critical if you are looking into improving work performance.

Keep reading to learn about the 9 main kinds of meetings and how long they should last.

Information sharing

0 minutes. Information sharing is usually a one-way dialogue where one person informs a group of attendees or employees about a specific issue. It is not a meeting by itself, but an effective way to share information.

You should do information sharing around 24-48 hours in advance, so people can take the necessary time to process information and prepare feedback and questions. It’s important to keep it short, clear and concise.

This type of communication is well recommended for company updates, lectures, workshops,  conferences and panel debates.

The team can then schedule a brainstorming or a short meeting to discuss the contents of the information that has been shared.

Suggestion: As an alternative, you can record videos with apps like Loom to walk through a presentation. After that, only schedule a short meeting to discuss questions, brainstorm, or go deeper into the topic if it can’t be solved through messages.

1 on 1 meeting

1:1s

Between 20 and 40 minutes. 1:1’s are meetings between two people in the same department or across departments to get aligned. 

A 1:1 meeting is a free form meeting. It is used to keep two people in the loop about a certain situation, give feedback and resolve work related issues. But it goes beyond status updates because it lays the foundation for a productive and trusting relationship.

In this conversation there is usually a mix of work and culture. If it is arranged between you and your manager, it becomes a good opportunity to talk about how you handle task management, your general satisfaction level and personal experience within the company.

Regarding the meeting duration, schedule a 1:1 for 30 minutes, and then have 10 minutes extra open in case it goes a little bit over.

Suggestion: in a remote environment, try to get as close to a face-to-face conversation as possible. Make sure that your equipment allows  high quality video and audio for a better experience. 

Client meeting

30 minutes. Learning how to meet with clients is one of the most important tasks you can complete.

How long should the meeting take? Ideally, a client meeting should take half an hour. But you have to make sure to send as much information in advance as possible, so your clients are up to date and can prepare questions, feedback or any information they might need beforehand.

According to Fellow, there are four different types of client meetings:

  • Introductory: you can use this preliminary first chat to establish a good relationship with a client.
  • Consultation: gain a clear understanding of the client’s needs… and position yourself as a solution!
  • Proposal: present the client your findings and research. Seal the deal.
  • Check-in: make sure everything is on track and there are no unanswered questions.

Suggestion: in a client meeting, preparation is key. Come well prepared to make it easier and don’t go overtime.

All hands or town hall

Between 20 and 40 minutes. Town hall or all hands meetings are not very frequent, but they are important for employee engagement, especially if you are looking into improving productivity in an organization.

In this group conversation, all employees, managers and stakeholders meet to discuss company-wide matters and share general updates. These updates are sometimes shared in a news brief beforehand, and then discussed with the rest of the team. 

These meetings tend to happen on a monthly, quarter, semi-annual or annual basis. They allow alignment on achieving company goals and objectives.

All hands meetings are helpful to celebrate milestones and foster your company’s vision and values. They are also a good opportunity for people to have a direct approach with the CEO and with colleagues from different departments they don’t usually meet.

Suggestion: Make sure to make these meetings interactive to nurture collaboration between teams across departments. Give everyone a chance to ask questions and interact.

ideal townhall meeting duration

Brainstorming

Around 30 minutes. The meeting duration of a brainstorming can be flexible, but it’s a good idea to try to stay around 30 minutes. However, having shorter intervals will allow your team to be more straightforward. So it all depends on the kinds of ideas you are looking for and how specific you want to be with the topic.

Don’t be too strict about the end of the meeting; sometimes the best creative ideas rise in the last minutes.

Suggestion: once the meeting is over, use Rock to create a topic, so people can continue to add ideas even after the meeting. A topic in Rock is very similar to a thread anywhere else. It is like an extension of a brainstorm meeting to give space for some creative ideas to occur at a later point that day, week or month.

Weekly team meeting

Between 20 and 30 minutes. This kind of meeting is important for staying organized at work through weekly updates. It should not take much longer than 20 or 30 minutes. 

This meeting is usually arranged every week at a designated time. It addresses action items and roadblocks, as well as tasks and questions for the upcoming weeks.

A regular weekly team meeting can help team members progress better with their work and collaborate with their peers. But remember to have a clear purpose and don’t bore your colleagues with unnecessary too long meeting time.

Suggestion: share important information in a meeting agenda beforehand. Apply these meeting agenda examples to bring structure to your conversations.

Daily standup

Preferably less than 10 minutes. A daily standup should be as short as possible, ideally less than 10 minutes! In this daily moment, usually during the morning, you can give your team an update on what everyone is doing, how did it go yesterday and what is the plan for the day ahead.

You can navigate this short meeting using these three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Anything blocking your progress?

Suggestion: As an alternative, you can create a topic on Rock for daily stand-ups and have team members communicate what they will be working on by @mentioning the respective tasks. It makes it easier to follow up and provide more context.

retrospective meeting

Retrospective meeting

20-30 minutes. Retrospectives usually come at the end of a sprint or at the end of a project to talk about what went well and what can be improved. They promote knowledge and value sharing while working together. These open conversations last about 20 minutes or half an hour.

In a retrospective, people discuss their thoughts about workflows or about a specific project. It is a space for employees to express concerns freely through a sense of trust and open communication.

Suggestion: look into how to run a retrospective successfully. You can start by setting a clear agenda with discussion points. You should try to have only relevant people involved.

Coffee chats

Between 20 and 30 minutes. Meeting duration is important here: don’t make a coffee chat too long! Think about how long you realistically expend drinking a coffee: most probably, not much more than 30 minutes.

A coffee chat is a great idea for networking and interacting with people across teams in a less formal way. Don’t be shy to make small talk, but stay away from sensitive topics.

Suggestion: these meetings are great for culture building. You can use these informal meetings to get to know new colleagues within the company.

Virtual meetings best practices

Now that you have a clear idea know of how long a meeting should be, let’s have a look into virtual meetings best practices:

  • 30 minute meeting rule: As we explained before, some theories state that if meetings are around 30 minutes maximum, people are quicker in making decisions. When you have this timing, getting started and getting the most out of meeting time becomes easier. Use the 30 minute rule to improve meeting productivity.
  • Set up a meeting agenda well in advance: Allow people to read through documents, add items and complete what is going to be discussed so you get the most out of your time. If the agenda is empty, then canceling might be a solution. Use these meeting agenda examples.
  • Don’t overdo meetings: Be mindful of scheduling meetings. If something can be done asynchronously (by using tasks, messages, comments or notes) then don’t schedule a meeting.
  • Learn to say no to meetings: If you have no input on a meeting or there is no value added to your presence in a meeting, say no.
  • Async by default, synchronous when really needed: Move to asynchronous work by default. This way you can prioritize things that are actually important, and leave meeting time for activities that truly bring value.

Rock your meetings!

Reduce the length and the number of your meetings while improving communication in your team with Rock’s all-in-one functionality. All-in-one brings together different ways of communicating and connects to other commonly used apps  (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, Google Drive, Dropbox, Figma, Adobe CC). It simplifies work by minimizing platform switching.

Instead of scheduling meetings that you don’t need, you can, for example, set up tasks on Rock. You can describe all important details in the description section. Assign tasks to team members to complete without an unnecessary meeting beforehand. Continue the conversation on the task level and allow employees to work in their own time.

With Rock, you can reduce the number of meetings by switching to different types of communication. And if you decide to have meetings, remember the 30 minutes rule. Make sure you set up a meeting agenda beforehand so you start and finish on time. When you have meetings, use meeting notes with Rock to capture the most important information and keep it accessible after your meetings.

ideal meeting duration
Nov 19, 2022
November 22, 2022

Meeting Duration: How Much Time You Should Spend in Different Meeting Types

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

Working remotely can be great. More personal autonomy, less commuting time to the office and a better work-life balance are just some of the pros. But while many people are embracing the flexibility of the virtual work environment, others might feel a loss of connection and structure.

The challenge is to create a solid remote work culture that allows achieving company goals and objectives without making people feel disconnected.

The sense of shared culture that is usually implemented in the office space needs to be effectively translated into the remote work environment.

In this article you will find a guide with some remote work culture ideas to learn how to build a strong culture with a remote team, and how to maintain it through time.

How does remote working impact culture? 

The pandemic has pushed many companies and organizations to become fully remote and try to build an engaging remote work culture.

As a result, the traditional office-centric ways of reinforcing work culture doesn’t work the same way as before.

Adapting to this new working model can be challenging. Especially when it comes to corporate values and interpersonal relationships in the virtual culture.

Zoom happy hours and implementing virtual meeting best practices can help, but they are not enough in the shift to a remote work culture.

Social events are harder to make entertaining without an office environment and it is more difficult staying organized at work with coworkers you can’t casually pass around the office.

That is why interactions in a remote work environment have to be more deliberate and intentional.

In the following, you will learn how to create those interactions through a strong remote work culture. It will also help you to build better connections with your coworkers.

What are the benefits of having a strong remote work culture?

In order to make employees feel more connected and satisfied within their jobs, companies need to reimagine and foster new ways of working remotely.

Creating and implementing a well grounded remote culture lies at the core of a healthy work environment. 

These are some of the benefits of a strong remote work culture.

Lower employee turnover

One of the consequences of caring about how to build a remote team culture is that employees will experience higher levels of satisfaction.

That is why when you implement a healthy remote culture, employees are less likely to leave. People are less stressed and feel better connected to their peers, and the amount of sick days requests also decreases.

Statistics support this claim. According to research by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, companies that support remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.

And another recent study by PR Newswire concluded that 80% of U.S. workers would turn down a job that wouldn’t offer remote or flexible work.

As a result, if you don’t develop a strong remote culture you will be risking losing actual and potential employees. They might find remote work opportunities elsewhere.

More productive teams

When remote work culture ideas are put into practice, your team becomes more productive.

A strong remote work culture is essential when you look into ways on how to improve work performance.

This way, you can understand better what they are working towards if a work culture is strong and well defined in the virtual environment.

More creativity

Team culture nurtures creativity in the workplace. This happens because employees feel at ease to share their opinions and ideas, and interact with people across  departments.

At the same time, the question of how to build a strong remote team culture leads to exploring new ways to make the work environment more creative.

Increase workplace attractiveness

A strong and positive remote work culture attracts more people.

Employees might leave good reviews and share their experiences of a positive virtual culture with their environment and with potential new colleagues.

It fuels new dynamics and becomes a talent magnet.

How do you maintain company culture while working remotely?

To figure out how to build a strong culture with a remote team, you need to use some communication strategies to introduce changes.

You don’t need to rethink everything – just make the adjustments that better suit the values, nature and size of your company.

There are really not many differences between how small businesses create remote work culture and how it is achieved by big corporations. It all relies on adjusting the mindset and implementing a plan.

Here are some remote work culture ideas to get started with.

Set up a water cooler space

Digital water cooler spaces are essential to engage remote employees because they allow people to chat about more informal topics.

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you probably remember the water cooler as the place you can rest, rehydrate, have a quick chat with a colleague or just take some air. It might as well be the kitchen, the printer or the coffee machine. 

But who says remote employees can’t have those office water cooler spaces too?

In a remote work environment, you can create a virtual water cooler to take a break, relax and connect with others.

Virtual coffee chats

One of the things that is most commonly missed from the traditional office environment are the human interactions.

Set up virtual coffee chats with team members across departments to learn more about each other. This encourages your team to take breaks while meeting others in the company and helps bond teams.

When teams work asynchronously, virtual coffee chats become even more relevant because it allows them to feel more connected with coworkers that don’t usually have much chance to interact with.

Virtual, scheduled coffee chats can foster better relationships in the workplace and increase productivity.

However, it is important to always make these events voluntary. Getting a good remote work culture is also very much adapting to different kinds of people within your team.

Create cross functional and departmental projects

You should have people across functions and departments work and collaborate together. This can strengthen the shared vision and allow everyone to meet each other.

Cross functional teams can spark innovation and grant a more collaborative working environment.

In the remote work culture, these teamwork experiences can really help your team members to expand beyond their area and enhance their productivity, creativity and motivation.

Voluntary virtual office spaces

Create a virtual office space and have it open for those interested in more interaction with the team. Leadership can set up open office hours for the team to come by and chat about anything.

A virtual office gives employees access to a remote working space to interact between each other and organize meetings through virtual rooms and video conferencing.

This way, people can communicate easier with their colleagues and also engage with others that won’t see them in person.

Make use of virtual meeting best practices

A lot of people are burned out from doing constant meetings in their day to day. A lot of them might not be that needed or even useful. In order to avoid this, make use of virtual meeting best practices.

Don’t overuse meetings and make sure that synchronous interactions in remote work environments add value. You don’t want your team to become desensitized to meeting up!

Don’t forget to add check in questions for meetings. It helps ensure high-quality communication and build team relationships.

Also, these meeting agenda examples can bring structure to your meetings and make them more meaningful, practical and valuable.

Celebrate victories and completed tasks

A great way to show appreciation and build a positive culture is to celebrate a job well done. Make sure victories and accomplishments don’t go unnoticed – you have to celebrate them!

In order to create a positive remote work culture, it's always good to find ways to congratulate people on their achievements, such as completing a big task or bringing in that huge client. Sharing success stories and acknowledging victories can hugely improve motivation in the virtual office. 

There are many ways to celebrate achievements in the virtual world. You can send a GIF into a common chat with employers and coworkers to congratulate an employee. Or mention that great success in the monthly meeting.

If you have more time and resources, host a virtual event and make it more fun. Create a memorable experience with the team to celebrate the milestones.

Look into fun voluntary social events

From virtual wine tastings to virtual escape rooms or team member quizzes, social events can enhance teamwork and build a strong remote team culture.

You can set up these and so many more things just so people can interact with each other, learn more about each other, have a less formal interaction and simply have fun.

These events can be fun and entertaining, but remember to make sure they are always voluntary, so no one feels forced to make part of them.

Establish shared goals and objectives

When everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives, people are more likely to be better connected in their interactions. You should make sure teams like Marketing, Sales and Engineering are all aligned on some high level goals and objectives.

This way there will be more understanding and initiative into learning what other people are doing. Make sure that these common goals are highlighted and well shared with the team and that everybody understands them fully.

If everybody is working towards the same target, it is much easier to set everyone up for success, especially in the digital workplace.

Build a strong remote work culture with Rock

Rock allows you to manage your whole team remotely through its multimodal communication.

Combine messaging with tasks, notes and files to communicate and collaborate in your day-to-day. Create unlimited spaces and make sure your team can get work done without switching tools.

All-in-one functionality allows you to keep all communication and projects in one place, which makes it easier for team members to feel more connected as interactions are not scattered across platforms. Anything you need to communicate with your team in a virtual work environment is within one platform! It helps to nurture interactions and empower your remote work culture at the same time.

Healthy remote work culture that lasts

Achieving a healthy remote work culture can be challenging. But it is greatly enriching for both employers and employees in the virtual environment.

It helps you to be more in tune with coworkers, goals and corporate values. And it’s a great way to engage current team members and attract new talent!

No matter your organization’s size or industry. In today’s virtual office, you need to build a remote work culture that lasts. Rock integrates messages, tasks and all-in-one virtual spaces to make it possible. You will find all the tools that you need in just one platform. Get started today!

Nov 12, 2022
November 22, 2022

How to Build a Strong Remote Work Culture That Lasts

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

One of the most valuable assets in the professional world (and in general) is time. You can never have enough of it, and you can’t make more of it. Time shouldn’t be wasted – be it yours or anyone else’s. This is why staying organized at work and sticking to your commitments – such as meetings – is so important. 

In an ideal world, we would be able to attend every meeting we’ve committed to. However, that’s just not the case sometimes. Under certain circumstances, knowing how to cancel a meeting becomes your only option. To give you an idea, we’ve listed down some common scenarios below.

Valid reasons for sending a meeting cancellation notice

Whether you’re doing it through a cancellation email, a quick phone call, or a text/audio message, sending a meeting cancellation notice shouldn’t be done without a good reason. Here are a few examples of why you might need to cancel a meeting:

You need personal time off 

If you’re feeling ill or have a personal emergency to attend to, it may be best to cancel the meeting. While this one may sound obvious, many people still continue meeting with team members while feeling sick. Other times, they put off dealing with a family emergency to continue working. 

This can be counterproductive because working while you’re unwell or stressed won’t be helpful for you or your team. You may just end up being out of it or being unfocused. While work and meetings are important, taking care of yourself and your loved ones should come first. Don’t sacrifice important matters for a meeting, and cancel if you really need to.

You have minimal input on the meeting topic

There are some projects where you need to have oversight, but you may not need to attend all the meetings for it. This is especially true if the topic at hand doesn’t involve your department, or doesn’t require your expertise.

You have more urgent tasks to do

When it comes to work, it’s important to prioritize the most urgent matters. This can sometimes mean having to miss one meeting to finish a deliverable, or meet a project deadline.

There is a conflict in your schedule

A schedule conflict can mean anything from being invited to two meetings that overlap to having a sudden change in your schedule. This can affect the rest of your tasks and commitments. In this case you need to choose what to prioritize. It can happen that the most reasonable outcome is sending a ‘meeting canceled’ notice.

These are just some of the reasons why you should know how to cancel a meeting. Remember, you shouldn’t cancel a meeting via email, message, or phone call without a good reason. 

Should people be canceling meetings more often?

Contrary to what some may believe, a canceled meeting isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s good to be mindful of which meetings you schedule and attend. For one, picking the essential meetings is good practice for discerning which of your tasks are urgent. In the long run, it will help you discern each meeting’s relevancy to your tasks and your goals. 

Additionally, having too many meetings can affect employee morale and breed a toxic work culture. Unnecessary meetings, or meetings that could have been summarized in an email, take up time that could have been used for executing tasks. Overall, having too many meetings just gets in the way of productivity in your organization.

Many companies all over the world have also adopted an asynchronous work setup, which goes hand in hand with using remote tools to work from almost anywhere. At the end of the day, you don’t have to say yes to every meeting you’re invited to. 

How to cancel a meeting - the basics

Here are our tips to minimizing the inconvenience of a canceled meeting.

Cancel well in advance

You want to make sure you give your ‘meeting canceled’ notice as soon as possible. This will show to whoever you were supposed to meet with that you’re also taking their schedule into consideration. It helps avoid wasting time to prepare for a meeting that isn’t going to happen. 

Provide a reason for the cancellation

Once you decide to cancel a meeting, make sure you provide the reason for it. People don’t like being kept in the dark, and explaining your reason will help them understand the necessity of the cancellation. Doing this is a basic act of courtesy, especially since you would be asking them to adjust their schedules.

Don’t cancel in a rush

If you want to know how to politely cancel a meeting, one good example is being clear from the get-go. Make sure you are direct with what you want to say, and that you remain professional and respectful.

It’s also good to take ample time in crafting a meeting cancellation email or message, or giving a phone call. If you’re sending out a written notice, ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors in your message.

Suggest next steps

After canceling a meeting, don’t leave the other person hanging. Initiative a follow-up by suggesting the next steps. You can either recommend other dates and times for the meeting, or ask them about their next available schedule. If there is anything that should be immediately discussed, make sure to address them in your meeting cancellation email, message, or call. 

Following these tips is a good start when it comes to canceling meetings. Always remember to be intentional and receptive to the needs of whoever you were supposed to meet with. Canceling meetings may sometimes lead to difficult conversations, but open communication will help both parties come to an agreement as soon as possible. 

Different channels for meeting cancellations: pros and cons

Now that you know the usual reasons for canceling meetings, as well as some tips on how to do it, it’s time to delve into the channels you can use. Note that each has its pros and cons. It’s ultimately up to you to decide which channel can best get your message across. Make sure that whichever channel you use, you apply relevant workplace communication strategies when necessary.

Email

Sending a cancellation email is one of the most common ways to go. That’s because most people communicate and schedule meetings through this channel. If you’re wondering how to write a cancellation email, then read on for some very simple steps.

First, any well-structured email has a subject line, an introduction, a body, a call-to-action, and a closing phrase. Start with a clear and easy to understand subject line. Make sure your recipient understands from the get-go that you sent the email to cancel a meeting. You should then use a professional statement for your introduction. If you want to add a touch of personalization, you can address your recipient by his or her name. Just make sure you get the spelling of their name right!

The body is where you explain that you’re sending a ‘cancel meeting’ email. Briefly state why you have to cancel, and apologize for the change of plans. Afterwards, you can include a call to action regarding their next availability should you opt to reschedule. 

Close the email in a way that shows your appreciation for their understanding. Make sure to provide your contact details as well should they have any questions. 

In terms of length, make sure you thoroughly explain your reason, but don’t draw out the message if unnecessary. A paragraph or two will do. Make sure also to be professional, as an email is often used as the official communication channel at work.

If you’re looking for templates on how to politely cancel a meeting via email, here are some examples:

One-on-one meeting cancellation email sample

Subject: Request to reschedule tomorrow’s one-on-one meeting

Hi Justin,

I hope you’ve been safe and well. I’m writing to ask if it would be possible to reschedule our one-on-one meeting tomorrow. I have been feeling unwell since this morning, and I’ll be on sick leave until tomorrow.

My sincerest apologies for this change in schedule, and I would be happy to reschedule at your earliest convenience. Do let me know what date and time works for you.

Thank you for your understanding, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Jane

Department meeting cancellation email sample

Subject: Weekly Marketing team meeting canceled 

Hi team, 

I hope you’ve all been well. I’m writing to inform you that tomorrow’s department meeting has been canceled. I have been feeling unwell since this morning, and I’ll be on sick leave until tomorrow.

My sincerest apologies for having to move this meeting. We can reschedule the meeting for this Friday, 2 PM. Do let me know if this works for everyone so that I can resend the calendar invitations.

Thank you for your understanding, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

Sincerely,

Jane

All-hands meeting cancellation email sample

Subject: Company meeting postponed

Hi team,

I hope you’ve all had a productive week so far. I’m sending this email to inform you that our company-wide meeting has been postponed to a later date. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but I must attend to an urgent business matter.  

Please stay tuned for further announcements on the new date of our company meeting. Thank you for your understanding, and please stay safe and healthy!

Sincerely,

Jane

These are just some examples of how to write a cancellation email. Now that you know how to structure it, it’s time to look at its pros and cons.

Pros of a meeting cancellation email 

One of the pros of canceling via email is that it’s one of the most common forms of communication in a workplace. This means it’ll be easier to loop everyone in, especially if you’re canceling a department or company-wide meeting. Additionally, sending a notice via email is a good way to keep track of your communications with your colleagues or clients. 

Cons of a meeting cancellation email

Remember that when you cancel a meeting via email, the people you message may not be able to read it right away. This is especially true if you’re canceling on short notice. 

Online message

Another way you can cancel or postpone a meeting is by sending an online message. Some teams and clients prefer to touch base on online messaging applications and productivity tools such as Rock, Slack, or Telegram. 

When sending an online message to cancel a meeting, be direct and concise. You don’t want to be sending a very long block of text in the chat. You should also refrain from sending too many messages to get your point across. Limit it to sending one or two separate messages. 

Here’s an example of canceling a meeting through an online message:

Good afternoon, Justin!

I’m messaging to see if we can postpone tomorrow’s Marketing meeting. A family emergency has occurred, and it’s something that needs my immediate attention. Because of this, I won’t be coming to work tomorrow. 

I sincerely apologize for this cancellation. Do let me know when your next availability is so that we can reschedule the meeting. Thank you so much!

When sending a cancellation message, remember to be brief but never vague. Don’t just say that you can’t attend without stating the reason as the message may seem insincere. Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sending a cancellation message.

Pros of an online message cancellation

Compared to an email, sending an online message may be a faster way of reaching whoever you were supposed to meet with. This means that for times when you have to cancel on short notice, it can help you reschedule as soon as possible. 

Cons of an online message cancellation

One thing that you have to be mindful of when sending out an online message is if you have any typos or grammatical errors in the text. Make sure you don’t, as having these in your message may make you look unprofessional.

Video recording

If you want a more personal way of canceling a meeting, you can try sending a video recording of yourself. This would work best if it’s an important meeting that you unfortunately have to miss. Keep the video short and sweet. You should also explore different tools that can help you effectively get your message across, such as Loom. 

Make sure that you have an appropriate background, and that there is minimal background noise wherever you are recording. Furthermore, You should look professional and sharp in the video. 

To help avoid making any mistakes, try writing down what you want to say first. Next, practice reading it out loud. Do this a few times before you record so that it can help you be more comfortable in front of the camera. 

Keep the same structure as what you would have in a cancellation email or message – talk about canceling or moving the meeting, why you need to do so, and next steps in terms of rescheduling the meeting if necessary.

Curious about the pros and cons of sending a video recording to cancel a meeting? Here are some of them:

Pros of a video recording cancellation 

As previously mentioned, doing a video recording can feel more personal to whoever you’re cancelling on. That’s because it’s clear that you took time in planning how you were going to cancel. Additionally, a video recording can work great if you want to bring up points from your side that may help the team move forward with the meeting despite your absence. 

Cons of a video recording cancellation 

One thing about doing a video recording is that it takes preparation and time. You have to find a suitable set-up for the video, and you have to make sure you look presentable. You also have to draft a message in advance, and then see how you can effectively say it on your video.

Audio message

There’s also the option of cancelling a meeting by sending an audio message. If this is the channel you prefer, it’s best to keep your audio message under a minute. Similar to the other ways of cancelling a meeting, the key is being professional and straight to the point. 

Send an audio message only if you’re somewhere with minimal background noise. Make sure that the recipient of your message can hear you clearly.


Here is a sample template of what you might say in an audio message:

Hi Justin! I’m just leaving you this message to say that I have to cancel our meeting this afternoon. I apologize for the short notice, but I have a family emergency that I must attend to. Do let me know what date and time is most convenient for you to reschedule. Thanks so much, and stay safe!

Although sending an audio message may seem simple enough, it also has its pros and cons:

Pros of an audio message cancellation 

Sending an audio message is one of the quickest ways you can cancel a meeting. It’s also very convenient, as many communication apps already have built-in features for recording audio messages.

Cons of an audio message cancellation 

Sending an audio message may be seen as less polite than the other ways previously discussed. That’s because it’s not a very formal way to cancel a meeting. It may be best to do this only if you’re unable to send an email, message, or video recording.

These are just ways on how to cancel a meeting. Remember, choosing the most appropriate channel to do so is an important aspect of canceling. Furthermore, no matter the reason for your cancellation, you should be honest and direct about it.

What to do after canceling your meeting

Once you’ve canceled a meeting, that doesn’t mean your work is done. The things you do after the cancellation are equally important. Here are some reminders on things you should do once you’ve officially canceled a meeting:

Follow up

Follow through even if you reschedule or cancel a meeting. This means reaching out to whoever you were meant to meet with to start a conversation.  If you sent a cancellation email, you can move the conversation to a one-on-one or group space so you can stay in touch and collaborate without needing to meet.   

When you use platforms like Rock, you can also add an invite link or a quick connect link to your cancellation so that the other party can easily reschedule or reach you. 

Get started on work

If there are relevant items you can work on in the meantime, you should do those first. Don’t stay idle just because you weren’t able to attend the meeting. Strategize on how you can stay productive and on-time for the project despite the canceled meeting.

Set up a meeting agenda

If you plan to reschedule a meeting, try setting up a meeting agenda. This will help both you and whoever you are meeting with be aligned on the goal of the meeting. It’s also a more efficient way of moving forward.

There are a number of meeting agenda examples that you can follow to simplify the process, so make sure to check those out. Plus if you’re set to meet online, don’t forget to go through these virtual meeting best practices!

Make sure you do these three important things after canceling your meeting. It will help you be more productive and will lessen any disruptions in the workflow of your team.

How to avoid canceling meeting altogether

If you want to avoid sending out meeting cancellation notices often, then get to the root cause of the problem. This means having measures in place to help you lessen the number of times you cancel or move a meeting. Here are some that you can start with:

Work asynchronously by default

Asynchronous work is a type of setup where not every team member has to be online and working at the same time. This gives you more flexibility when you want to get work done without having to wait for others.

One great tool for asynchronous work is Rock, a holistic task management and communication tool. Working asynchronously means that communication revolves around Rock’s mini-apps such as Chat, Notes, Tasks, Files and Topics. It ultimately creates a working environment where unnecessary meetings can be avoided.

Reduce context switching

Having too many work platforms for communication and task management can be tiresome. That’s why it’s best to reduce the number of tools your team has to shuffle between. Doing this makes it easier to keep track of progress for different projects, which can lessen follow up meetings for progress.

Improve documentation 

Being disorganized can be the downfall of any team, especially when it comes to files and company information. Create clear guidelines on how you store documents so everyone is aligned. 

You can also explore having walkthroughs through asynchronous video recordings instead of meetings. This lessens the meetings you have to attend, plus it allows you to revisit different topics in the future should you need to. 

Use modern channels for client communication

Knowing how to avoid meeting cancellations isn’t just important for internal meetings. It’s important for client meetings, too. Thankfully, today’s communication channels can help you stay in touch with clients while also reducing meetings with them.

For example, Rock helps you collaborate with clients while also encouraging asynchronous work. This means everyone in the team can stay aligned without having to hop into a call or be in meetings for most of the time. This makes both internal and external communication and task management easier.

By avoiding meeting cancellations and having a more efficient process, you can focus on the work at hand. In the long run, this can greatly help you and your team achieve your company goals and objectives.

Optimize your company processes with Rock

You now know all the basics about how to cancel a meeting. But more than that, you have information on how you can lessen canceled and unnecessary meetings altogether.

 

Rock is a multi-functional communication and task management tool, built for asynchronous collaboration.The Chat, Tasks, Topics, Notes, and Files mini-apps functionalities make it easy to reduce the number of meetings and make the most out of the necessary ones.

By reducing the number of meetings you have, you will in effect lessen the number of meetings you have to cancel. Prioritize your company’s productivity and efficiency by giving Rock a try today!

Nov 10, 2022
November 22, 2022

How to Cancel a Meeting and What to Do Next

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

Every project has a number of stakeholders involved, both internal and external. And for the project to be a success, everyone has to work seamlessly together, no matter what their roles are. This may seem tricky especially with projects involving a large team, but that’s where project managers come in.

Project managers help ensure that everything is going according to plan, and that every stakeholder involved is on the same page. That’s why one of the most important things to master as a project manager is stakeholder communication. 

Stakeholder communication refers to talking and collaborating with stakeholders of a project or business. Stakeholder communication involves all the groups of people who are affected by the project, or have a say in making decisions in relation to it.

That being said, it becomes clear that project management and stakeholder engagement go hand in hand. Effective communication with stakeholders is one of the keys to having a smooth-sailing project. And even if challenges come up along the way, having open and constant communication can help the team better solve any issue. 

To help you better understand what stakeholder communication is, this article will first define who stakeholders are, why communicating with stakeholders is important, and what you need in order to effectively communicate with any type of stakeholder. 

Who are your stakeholders?

Before knowing how to engage with stakeholders, you have to identify who they are first. By definition, stakeholders are groups or individuals who are invested in your project or business. More often than not, these stakeholders have different needs or expectations in relation to the project’s outcome. 

Some examples of stakeholders include, but are not limited to: 

  • Founders/CEOs
  • Management Committee
  • Stockholders
  • Investors
  • Company employees
  • Colleagues and team members
  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Creditors
  • Contractors
  • Subcontractors 
  • The government

For each project, you usually have a set of key stakeholders, meaning the people who are  involved in the planning and decision-making process for it. This varies per project, but no matter who your stakeholders are, it can get tricky to make each one of them happy. And if your stakeholders aren’t satisfied, chances are the project may have a lot of back and forth. 

This highlights one reason for knowing who your stakeholders are – you can’t engage stakeholders unless you know what they’re looking for with the project. 

You can go about this by first mapping out your stakeholder groups and planning how to best engage each of them. By prioritizing which stakeholders need the most communication, engagement, and consideration, you’ll be more efficient in keeping up with all of them. 

Why is stakeholder communication so important?

If you’re wondering why engaging with stakeholders is important in the first place, let’s look at a few reasons. 

1. Builds trust

Having constant, open communication with stakeholders is an example of an easy way to form a solid business relationship. That’s because communication is key if you want to know more about their perspectives and needs.

Furthermore, it shows stakeholders that you also care about them, and not just the interests of your company. When you’re open and transparent, it will be easier for stakeholders to trust you.

2. Promotes better decision-making

Prioritizing effective stakeholder communication means that you get to gather insights and ideas that can help your project move forward. By consistently communicating and aligning with your stakeholders, you will have an easier time making informed and universally beneficial decisions for the project. This is one of the keys in helping you and your team succeed.

3. Breeds innovation

Without communication, ideas won’t have a channel to flow. But by learning how to go about stakeholder communications, you create an environment where stakeholders are happy to contribute to the conversations regarding the project. This leads to collaboration, and ultimately, innovation for the company. 

4. Prevents miscommunications 

Miscommunications happen when members of a project aren’t on the same page. This further highlights the importance of learning how to communicate with stakeholders. Through effective stakeholder communication, you’ll be able to lessen mishaps or challenges as you complete your project. 

This is especially important considering that some mistakes or moments of miscommunication may result in expenses that could have been avoided.

5. Encourages accountability 

Constant stakeholder communication is one way to ensure that everyone is accountable for their work. When you have open lines of communication and regular channels for updates, keeping track of who has to do what becomes more hassle-free. 

It’s also a good way to show each stakeholder and team member that their contributions are necessary for the project to succeed. 

What are some stakeholder communication needs?

Now that you know some of the reasons why stakeholder communication is important, you can look into what you need to have to reach out and collaborate with stakeholders effectively. 

For one, it’s important to know the right communication strategies when dealing with different stakeholders. That’s because one approach won’t necessarily work for everyone. For example, some stakeholders prefer having one-on-one alignments, while others are okay with receiving updates in a community or group space.

It’s also important to discern the right channels in which you can best communicate with your stakeholders. 

How do you effectively communicate with stakeholders?

If you’re now wondering how you can go about communicating with your stakeholder, it’s helpful to recognize the importance of different channels. Whether you’re dealing with a client, a supplier or a contractor, you should consider leveraging different ways to reach them. 

Being present in as many seamlessly integrated channels as possible will help your stakeholders better communicate with you. Here are some of the ways you can use different communication channels:

1. Leverage asynchronous video

There’s no denying that asynchronous work has gained popularity and acceptance in recent years. One way you can get in touch with different stakeholder groups is through asynchronous videos. 

For example, during onboarding it would make a lot of sense to record walk-through videos to explain the various processes. You can use a platform like Loom to record your screen while explaining what’s being shown. Just make sure there’s opportunity and space for asking questions and clarification afterwards. 

Asynchronous video can also be a more personal way of reaching out, because stakeholders see not just the brand you represent, but you yourself. 

2. Create communities

One easy way to connect with numerous stakeholders at once is to create a community for them. A community gives you the opportunity to engage with your stakeholders, just like for example in a Reddit community or a Rock space. 

Creating communities for your stakeholders is a convenient way to share salient information, updates, and discussion points with a group. Your stakeholders can also quickly raise any questions or concerns they may have. Furthermore, it encourages stakeholders to interact not only with you, but also with each other.

3. White-glove stakeholder communication

Certain stakeholders require a more personal and private form of communication. These are mostly stakeholders with very crucial roles in the project, or someone who is a driving force for the business. To address the needs of these stakeholders, you can set up a space on Rock where you can talk one on one. 

The beauty of Rock, a holistic project management and communication tool, is that you can create as many spaces as you need, for free. They can be created for a group of stakeholders or for individual one-on-one interactions. By creating these spaces, you get to have a more personalized and structured communication.

4. Newsletters

Another great way to engage with stakeholders is to create a company newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to gather pieces of content that are relevant to your company and industry. 

A newsletter can prove to be an engaging way of sending out company updates, project news, or any other information that’s relevant to your stakeholders. Depending on your preference, you can send out newsletters every week, bi-monthly, or once a month. 

5. Social media

Communicating with stakeholders doesn’t have to be limited to work tools. You can also engage with them through social media. With over four billion social media users in the world, this is a channel you shouldn’t ignore.

Leveraging platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you put out much more engaging content. This can result in a new way of getting closer to your stakeholders. Social media platforms also have in-app messaging, which helps stakeholders easily connect with you, so it pays to be responsive.

Just remember that while social media can be a source of fun content and interactions, it shouldn’t be your priority channel for stakeholder communication.

6. Webinars

If you want to engage stakeholders while also providing added value, you may want to do webinars. This is effective if you want to get closer to certain stakeholder groups. Webinars are a great way to share knowledge, hear from relevant thought leaders, and learn from your stakeholders.

Organizing dedicated webinars will also help you better understand and interact with your stakeholders, which can prove to be advantageous while working on projects together.

These are just some of the channels that you can tap into when it comes to stakeholder communication. Aside from exploring these channels, you can also look for tools that can make communication with stakeholders more seamless and engaging, such as Rock. 

How Rock helps you manage your stakeholder communication

As a holistic communication and project management tool, Rock provides everything you need to engage with stakeholders on one platform. To give you an idea, here are some ways Rock can help stakeholder communication, and project management in general, simple and easy.

1. Create community spaces

With Rock’s spaces, you won’t have to switch from channel to channel when it comes to creating communities. You can already do so on the platform itself. This also makes it easier for you to be more responsive to various stakeholders. 

Additionally, if you’re already using Rock for your day-to-day tasks, you won’t have to learn a new tool for creating communities. It’s already on the same platform you’re using!

2. Create 1:1 spaces with key stakeholders

If you have certain stakeholders that need more in-depth collaboration, you can create a one on one space with them on Rock. This is great if you have to communicate with these stakeholders often, and if they’re heavily involved in your project.

Just like the spaces for communities, you won’t have to use another tool or platform for these one on one spaces – you can manage it on Rock.

3. Manage newsletter, social media and webinar projects 

Rock isn’t just solely for communicating with stakeholders. It’s also a great way to manage all your tasks. With the Chat, Tasks, Topics, Notes, and Files mini-apps, you get a full-fledged communication and management tool. Whether you’re looking to create a newsletter or host a webinar, you can coordinate and manage all the work on one  platform. 

This way, Rock becomes both the channel for engaging with stakeholders and the channel for your team to collaborate on project’s deliverables and next steps.

Ultimately, Rock helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks as you go about your project. Through this one platform, you’ll get to stay engaged with your stakeholders, communicate with them consistently, and make collaborating on a project easier and more seamless for everyone involved. 

Nov 5, 2022
November 22, 2022

How to Manage Your Stakeholder Communication: 6 Important Channels

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

“Another Zoom meeting? No, please! I already have a Zoom headache”. 

Since the pandemic hit, we have been on video calls more than ever before. Virtual meeting burnout is a very real thing. And more and more people are suffering signs of Zoom fatigue these days. 

Let’s talk about the “elephant in the Zoom”: Zoom meetings can be draining. Pressing the Leave/End button and relaxing the “Zoom face” is the ultimate moment of relief for many.

But what’s wrong with Zoom meetings and why are so many people experiencing Zoom exhaustion? What exactly is tiring us out? In the following article you will find all you need to know about Zoom fatigue symptoms and how to deal with Zoom burnout. Read along!

What is Zoom fatigue? 

The term “Zoom fatigue” (also called virtual meeting fatigue) was popularized on social media during the first months of 2020. But it has been continuously searched online afterwards, according to Google trends.

Over two years into the pandemic, a recent survey found that nearly a quarter of American remote workers (23%) say that their Zoom fatigue is worse than ever. But it is not just an internet phenomenon. And it is not just about Zoom. It was called “Zoom fatigue” because of the popularity of the platform among the available remote work tools

A first peer-reviewed article about the so-called Zoom fatigue symptoms from a psychological perspective was published in the journal Technology, Mind and Behavior in February 2021, by Stanford University communication professor Jeremy Bailenson.

Bailenson researched the symptoms of Zoom fatigue. He concluded that Zoom was “an amazing tool”, but its continued use can have “psychological consequences”. According to the Bailenson study, Zoom and other popular video chat platforms have “design flaws” that exhaust the human mind and body. 

After too many Zoom meetings, you can feel extremely tired and have some signs of Zoom burnout, such as forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension pain, fatigue and insomnia. 

Let’s find out why, and what you can do to reduce Zoom meetings while staying organized at work

Why do I feel drained after meetings? 

As the Bailenson research shows, video calls exhaust humans and cause Zoom fatigue symptoms. 

There are different reasons that explain why you can experience meeting fatigue when using videoconferencing technology.

Here are the five main reasons:

1. Too close up eye contact

When you talk to someone face to face, there is usually way more distance with the other person than in a Zoom meeting. 

However, if you use video conferencing platforms, cameras are often very close. As a result, the amount of eye contact becomes too intense, and the size of faces on screens seems unnatural.

Besides, in a Zoom call everyone is mostly looking at everyone all the time, so even if you don’t speak, you still have faces staring at you. It can cause Zoom exhaustion because we are not used to that permanent eye contact.

“This is similar to being in a crowded subway car while being forced to stare at the person you are standing very close to, instead of looking down or at your phone”, explains Bailenson.

“On top of this, it is as if everyone rotated their bodies such that their faces were oriented toward your eyes. [...] For many Zoom users, this happens for hours consecutively”, says the psychologist.

2. Seeing yourself

Another cause of Zoom fatigue symptoms  is what Bailenson calls “an all day mirror”. You don’t see yourself when communicating in person. In a Zoom meeting, you see yourself all the time. It’s very hard for us not to look at our own faces if we can see them on screen, or to not be conscious of how we behave in front of the camera.

Imagine an assistant following you all around the office with a handheld mirror while you have meetings with people, making sure you see yourself in that mirror while you have those conversations. Does it sound like a weird or even worrying example of a toxic work culture? Well, it is not much different to what happens in a Zoom call.

“Even though one can change the settings to ‘hide self view’, the default is that we see our own real-time camera feed, and we stare at ourselves throughout hours of meetings per day”, stresses Bailenson in his report.

Marissa Shuffler is an associate professor at Clemson University. She says that being on camera makes you aware of being watched, which can result in “social pressure” and “feeling like you need to perform”. “Being performative is nerve-wracking and stressful”, adds the psychology professor.

3. Too long

Meeting in person and online are different. A lot of virtual meetings are too long, causing exhaustion and leading to Zoom fatigue symptoms.

“After a long day of back-to-back video calls, it’s normal to feel drained”, explain authors Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy in a Harvard Business Review article. The length of Zoom meetings is a shared complaint among many remote workers.

There are countless posts on blogs and social media platforms from users suffering from Zoom exhaustion. Many people complain about “too long” virtual meetings. For some, virtual meetings transform into a “Zoom all day long”, as stated by workplace advice columnist Alison Green. 

2021 Zoom data shows that meetings are still too long. A Zoom survey of nearly 1,700 users suggests that the average meeting length was nearly an hour. That is a rather long meeting, and nearly twice as long as our attention span allows for. According to Microsoft research, fatigue sets in about half an hour into video meetings. 

We all have been in meetings that weren’t needed. You can try out these meeting agenda examples to improve the length and productivity of your video meetings.

4. Little mobility

Staying seated in a chair for prolonged periods of time can be challenging and unhealthy. Also, staying within the angle of the camera can come unnatural.

In-person and phone conversations allow you to walk around and move. But with videoconferencing, most cameras have a set field of view, meaning you have to generally stay in the same spot. 

According to Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson, when we move, we “perform better cognitively”.

5. Cognitive load

In regular face-to-face interaction, nonverbal communication is natural and helps us to interpret messages subconsciously. But in video chats it is harder to send and receive gestures.

We make our brain work harder by exaggerating our facial expressions. We also have to make more conscious signs (such as thumbs up or down) to note if we agree or disagree with something, explains Bailenson.

That adds cognitive load and the use of your “mental calories” to communicate and to understand others. As a result, you carry a heavier cognitive load and it adds to Zoom fatigue.

Things to do during your meetings to prevent Zoom fatigue

So now that we have explored the problem, let’s explore the solution.

Here are some things you can do to avoid Zoom fatigue symptoms, in case those Zoom meetings can’t be avoided:

  • Turn your camera off every now and then: Take breaks from the camera every now and then to recharge your batteries.
  • Move around: Take meetings while going on a walk if possible, or move around the house. 
  • Sit further away from the screen: usual interactions have 1 meter between people, try sitting away further from your screen.
  • Reduce meeting time: Try to keep meetings at 30 minutes max. Reducing items on a meeting agenda might also allow for a smaller group to attend, so it’s a more focused conversation.
  • Set up a meeting agenda and follow virtual meeting best practices: improve virtual meetings and make sure you are getting the most out of that time.

How to avoid meetings altogether

It is not always possible, but for some companies it might be a good idea to reduce Zoom meetings to the bare minimum and apply other communication strategies.

If that is your case, there are three options you can try to implement to leave video conferences behind and forget about Zoom fatigue symptoms once and for all.

1. Switch to asynchronous by default

“We should evaluate why we are choosing a video for so many calls that previously would never have warranted a face-to-face meeting, or perhaps any synchronous meeting at all”, says professor Jeremy Bailenson.

Asynchronous work requires less direct response and allows people to get work done in their own time. This allows team members to pick up tasks from others without waiting for meetings or direct messages.

2. Learn to say no

Sometimes you just don’t need another meeting. Learn to say no when you don’t think you will bring value to it.

Task management skills can be useful for that purpose, as you will learn to prioritize which meetings are more relevant.

3. Leverage documentation

Storing information means team members can find information more easily without needing to reach out to or schedule a meeting for clarification.

If you look into how to improve productivity in an organization, you will start having your documents more structured and organized, thus less meetings will be necessary.

How do I recover from Zoom fatigue?

Already experiencing Zoom headache, virtual meeting burnout and other Zoom fatigue symptoms?

Here is some advice for you:

  • Communicate with your team: Share your issues with your coworkers. You might be able to brainstorm a solution together. Check in questions for meetings can be a good start for it.
  • Take some time off: Taking a few days off can have positive effects on your mental health.
  • Set a no meetings day: Set a day in the week in which you don’t accept meetings. This allows you to clear your mind for a complete day. 

Stop zooming, start rocking!

Rock is designed to help you avoid unnecessary meetings, so you can reduce meeting fatigue. Use messages, tasks, notes and files to increase the efficiency of your meetings or to not need them in the first place!

However, we do believe that when necessary, virtual meetings should be easy to carry out. Rock has Zoom, Google Meet and Jitsi integrations, so you can start rocking in all you meetings!

Nov 3, 2022
November 22, 2022

Zoom Fatigue Symptoms: Causes, prevention and recovery

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

What is virtual communication?

Before diving into communication strategies for virtual teams, let’s see what we mean by virtual communication. 

In contrast to instantaneous communication, where there’s opportunity for on-the-spot feedback and response, virtual communication tends to lack in those aspects. Gestures, body language, tones and sounds are more easily misinterpreted as there’s no way to immediately clarify the intent behind them. Aspects such as body language and facial expressions may not be present at all in virtual communication, as the two parties may be miles apart.

Virtual communication requires different techniques and tools to achieve the same level of efficiency and effectiveness that is natural in in-person communication. Remote teams must be experts at virtual communication to function well. However, nowadays not only fully remote teams use virtual communication, almost every business also does. 

Some typical virtual team communication tools are:

  • Mobile phones 
  • Social media platforms
  • Email
  • Project management tools
  • Video conferencing
  • Instant messaging apps

So to some extent, most workplaces use virtual communication. But with a few tweaks, strategies, and the right tools, virtual communication can significantly improve business operations. 

Best practices for virtual communication

When a business works remotely, colleagues can’t rely on a ‘natural’ way of communicating. The verbal parts of the conversations don’t easily translate to virtual communication, and there’s an extended reply time as well.

For example, a colleague can’t simply walk past your desk for an immediate answer to a question. High-quality virtual communication is about creating a space where colleagues can communicate just as easily as if they were next to each other. 

The in-person type of office communication is known as synchronous communication. Creating an effective virtual communication strategy is about combining synchronous and asynchronous techniques.

Whether remote or not, there are critical elements to all communication strategies to adhere to:

  • Get your message across clearly
  • Match communication styles and channels to your team’s needs
  • Use a combination of one-on-one and group meetings
  • Create space to speak openly
  • Document extensively
  • Be consistent

With these points always on your mind, it’s time to have a closer look at the strategies you can use to improve virtual communication.

1. Switch to asynchronous work by default 

Asynchronous work isn’t as complicated as it might sound at first. Asynchronous channels, such as virtual assignment of tasks, allow people to focus on their work in their own time. On the other hand, synchronous channels, such as instant messages and meetings, require employees to adapt to each other's timelines.

By applying an asynchronous model of communication, team members can choose their work schedules more freely. Teams don’t need to be always online at the same time to communicate effectively. Organizing around an asynchronous work pattern means a preference towards asynchronous communication while still keeping the space open for discussing urgent matters synchronously. 

 A global, diverse team might experience scheduling issues. There are different time zones to navigate, daily life commitments, school runs, doctor appointments, holidays, or meetings. By leveraging an asynchronous model, these schedule clashes are no longer a problem. Team members become able to easily communicate without immediate timescale pressure.

2. Leverage task management 

Leverage virtual task management to improve communication and information sharing. 

For example, by implementing a project management framework, such as waterfall and agile, you can set rules on how to communicate on tasks. With these rules clearly set, everyone can keep track of progress. When properly managed, structured, and documented, tasks give virtual communication more structure. There is less confusion, the information is readily available and easy to find, allowing for the communication to be more to the point. 

Project management frameworks work by aligning a team. Clear steps, made out of tasks, outline the path to a successful project. For communication, this path is critical because the information is passed between colleagues within a structure. A colleague already knows a lot about a task or a message given to them because the framework provides context.

To fully leverage task management, use the Tasks mini-app in Rock. Import existing tasks from other task management applications and store them in a space next to messages, notes, and files. Communication around tasks and other day-to-day activities is all in one place when using Rock. Rock speeds up communication and efficiency because you don’t have to switch between multiple applications.

virtual meeting best practices

3. Reduce the number of meetings

Meetings can be great for nurturing more personal relationships, but make sure to use them when really needed. 1:1 meetings, coffee chats, and creative discussions can add value to remote teams. However, this isn’t always the case.

Many people spend too much time in meetings that end up being useless. It doesn’t always bring teams closer as some online meetings don’t have much engagement. 

Cancel or reduce the number of meetings that are not effective. Instead, concentrate on the meetings that provide value.

To get the most out of your meetings and communication in virtual teams, you can find more insights on virtual meeting best practices on the Rock blog. But two key points in making your virtual meetings more effective are:

  • Cancel (or shorten) unnecessary meetings
  • Substitute meetings with other tools and resources

Sometimes meetings are essential and can’t be avoided. In these circumstances, the structure is vital. A clear meeting agenda helps you to make the most out of it. You can find more meeting agenda examples on the Rock blog.

Alongside following a meeting agenda, there are some tactics to use during a virtual meeting to improve communication. In the Harvard Business Review, Melody Wilding explains how to tactfully interject during a virtual meeting. Ms Wilding recommends keeping points brief, being assertive, and capitalizing on transition points.

4. Use documentation as much as possible 

Strong documentation practices allow your team to find important information without relying on an immediate response from a coworker.

One of the biggest hurdles remote teams must overcome is asking for help when needed to complete a task. When working remotely, a coworker can’t sit at your desk and run you through a program. So how do remote teams overcome this issue? The answer is documentation.

A team should always have access to all the relevant documents and know how to document their own processes. Members must be able log in at any time or location, and the documentation should be available to access. Information around processes, protocols and day-to-day activities is worth documenting. 

Project documentation keeps teams applying similar strategies, staying up-to-date and reducing un-needed communication. Create documentation in a variety of formats:

  • Screen recordings as tutorials
  • Standard information documents for procedures
  • Templates for communications

There’s so much to keep track of during the workday, it’s vital to categorize and document as much as possible. The more documentation you have, the smoother the work is.

documentation

5. Reduce the number of tools you use

There is a lot of context switching when you use different tools for communication and project management. Use all-in-one tools like Rock to combine messages with tasks, notes, files, and meetings in one place.

Condensing the amount of tools is important because it allows for less context switching. When you switch to a new tool, your mind is pulled away from the direct tasks. You’re dealing with a new interface, a new set of functionality, and it’s not connected to your previous thought process.

Alongside the last point, the tools aren’t natively speaking to one another, which costs more time. To integrate the tools, you will likely have to set up non-native integrations with Zapier, for example. However, at the end of the day, the two different tools aren’t designed to completely fuse. 

You can easily reduce the number of tools by changing to an all-in-one solution. Rock provides messaging, tasks, notes, files, and meetings all in one place. Teams don’t have to switch between tools when communicating on different areas of their work in Rock.

Communicate Efficiently, From Anywhere, At Any Time

Combining these best practices for virtual communication with Rock allows teams to supercharge their day-to-day work.

Use asynchronous work as default, leverage task management, reduce meetings, document as much as possible, and reduce the number of tools you use. Bring order to chaos with Rock and allow your team to implement any type of project management framework by signing up for free.

virtual communication best practices
Oct 30, 2022
November 22, 2022

5 Best Practices for Virtual Communication

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read

The success of any transaction-making business heavily depends on client management. It determines the outcome and the future of the collaboration by shaping the interactions between clients and business representatives. For most businesses, this means losing or gaining loyal clients, trust, and revenue. 

What is Client Management?

Simply put, Client Management is the practice of fostering relationships with clients and potential clients. 

As opposed to the average customer who makes simple transactions with limited interaction, clients seek to build a business relationship. Clients are the types of customers who pay for professional services and build a close connection with the provider in the process. As such, the built relationship between the client and provider will determine how clients feel about the company and talk about the service. 

customer service, customer experience

The White Glove Experience

A white glove experience means VIP treatment; close attention to detail, a high level of service, and special care. 

It comes down to prioritizing the client’s needs and wants, creating unique and tailored solutions, and surpassing their expectations. This is when clients feel genuinely considered and cared for. White-glove experiences make clients want to return time after time, generating consistent revenue, positive reviews, and advocacy.

On the other hand, a non-white glove experience may make the client feel taken advantage of and exploited for profit, negatively affecting trust and driving clients to competitors. Even in less extreme cases, clients may stay on the lookout for other and better services and opportunities.

Delivering only what is expected is not enough to keep clients anymore. Businesses need to differentiate themselves through the experience they provide to their clients. Customers expect high-quality service, particularly in the tech sphere.

The challenge arises when the service is carried out remotely and clients expect the same level of attention digitally as if they were with you in the same room. By utilizing client management software, a company can provide its clients with a tremendous amount of personalization and clear communication without even meeting in person.

The increased level of expected quality might sound threatening to some businesses, however, it is a massive opportunity. Good client management also results in beneficial referrals, upselling of products, positive brand reputation, and trust. 

white glove service

Client retention

Good client management is a cost-effective solution; it's cheaper to retain a client than to get a new one. Acquiring a new customer can cost you 5 to 25 times more than keeping an existing one. Frederick Reichheld also proved that increasing customer retention rates just by 5%, increases profits by 25% to 95%

Referrals

This is not a secret: happy clients get you more work. When a client is impressed and satisfied with the delivered service or product, there's a good chance they'll refer you to others. Referrals are the golden ticket for client servicing industries. A referral is free and generates more qualified leads than what is expected to come through marketing efforts. 

Upselling on products

There is a fine line between a client manager and a lousy salesperson. Most of the time, that comes down to their ability to upsell. Upselling is about recognizing clients' needs and offering a service to satisfy them. This way round, the client gets better service, and you increase revenue and improve the client relationship. 

If you regularly follow up with your clients, you know where their pain points are. Pain points will show where to upsell functionality and features. When there is a new business launch, you will also know precisely which clients are the best match for the new product. 

Reviews

It doesn't matter if your business is B2B or B2C; positive reviews are critical. The best client management practices develop strong relationships. Excellent relationships with clients will organically produce positive reviews. But also, a good client management system can prompt clients to leave favorable reviews.

How to provide the ultimate client onboarding experience

A stellar client experience starts at the onboarding process; one of the most critical aspects of successful client management. Client onboarding is a transition period where the client moves from sales into the business ecosystem. 

During this process, the client is equipped and initiated with the communication channels, tools, and methods used by the provider company.

It is also when the most considerable amount of information exchange takes place. There is a long to-do list to go through such as introductions, KPIs, timelines, processes, and expectations. 

A good onboarding experience pivots around engagement. You want to ensure the client is engaged with you and make sure they feel you are engaged with them. Communication is critical at this stage. Forbes explains that to improve client relationships, onboarding, and longevity, the focus should be on getting to know your clients closer. The interactions should not be reduced to business transactions.

During the onboarding process, two things become necessary to avoid an information-miscommunication mess. A resource center and a timeline space. 

Resource Center

This is the go-to place for all relevant documents, reports, files, videos, etc. Having a resource center ensures efficiency and transparency. A resource center brings all the vital information a client needs into one place. It's a one-stop shop for all work-related information, from policies to processes, reports, and instructions. 

The question to ask here is what onboarding resources do your client need to have access to? 

Keep communication clear

A resource center helps you to avoid overloading communication channels with requests for information that is readily available but hard to find. 

Rock facilitates seamless documentation and file management through its Files mini-app. You can easily share folders and files with your clients and store and access them in the app through integrations with Google Drive, Smartsheet, OneDrive, Dropbox, and Notion. 

Working on a design project? You can keep Figma and Adobe Creative Cloud design files in every space. Share wireframes, brand designs, or advertising visuals without the hassle of jumping between platforms. 

To avoid an overwhelming information mess, you can create notes and topics in the working spaces with detailed explanations and let clients leave comments below. By utilizing comments, it’s always clear which documents and topics everyone is referring to – no need to provide further context or search back, it’s all in one place, in order. 

Prefer to visualize the planning? Use the tasks mini-app board view to better organize information by category, and add labels and assignees for further filtering. You can attach cloud files to tasks so your files mini-app and tasks are seamlessly connected. 

Timeline Space

A timeline space is necessary for transparency, accountability, realistic expectations, and effective collaboration. A timeline needs to be set for each deadline and deliverable. Creating a timeline can also be useful if you deliver a report on a recurring basis. 

Rock allows you to create a timeline with a calendar view on the Tasks mini-app. This allows you to schedule things without leaving the platform. 

Tasks you create with a start and/or due date will be visible in the calendar. Add descriptions, attach files and comment on the task for any updates. 

successful client onboarding

Day-to-day operations management

Asynchronous work

Leverage remote work tools and make your clients feel involved without scheduling too many meetings. Asynchronous work provides valuable flexibility to both parties; saves time and energy while maintaining high quality. Your clients don’t have to wait for the next meeting to improve work by leveraging messaging, tasks, notes, and files in a space. When urgency requires it, you can always use the meetings mini-app. 

Operations space

Set up a task management board for activities you might require your clients to do. Use full-fledged messaging to stay up to date on what to do. Use topics to reduce the number of notifications everyone receives. Add cloud files in the files mini-app if relevant to the operations. You can also upload files from your device. 

Workspace 

Combine your resource center, timeline, and day-to-day operations space in a single workspace and directly invite a client to multiple spaces so nothing falls through the cracks. Through Quick Connect, your clients simply have to scan a QR code or click on a link to join your workspace. There is no registration required, making client onboarding frictionless. 

Behind the scenes: create internal spaces for client management

Operations

Discuss client work and @mention tasks, notes, and topics from your client spaces. This way you don’t have to send continuous links or go looking for work across spaces. 

Create different tasks for clients to track updates like a CRM. You can also use the tasks mini-app to manage activities for different clients and use labels to know what work is being done for that client. 

Key accounts CRM 

Create a task board for key accounts' CRM information so you can add a description and discuss the account in the comment section without leaving Rock.

client management system

Top client management tools 

Client communication and collaboration: Rock & Loom

Rock offers unlimited added members and spaces. Messages, tasks, notes, topics, files, and meetings are all in one place. In addition to Rock, you can use Loom to leverage asynchronous video communication and give your client, for instance, a personalized welcome without scheduling one more meeting. 

If you combine Rock with Loom, you can create videos for clients and attach them to different subjects on Rock. For example, tasks, notes, topics, and other relevant items.

You can scale up using this method by applying the same process to onboard multiple clients. For example, you record one video about finding relevant reports on Rock. You could then send the same video to all new clients, rather than creating a new recording every time.

Instead of scheduling a meeting for an exact time, you can record a video where you pass on the information. Your client can then watch this in their own time. This way you improve documentation and help people refer to information rather than remembering what was said in a meeting.

CRM tools

If you prefer a CRM with increased functionality, you can also use HubSpot, Salesforce, or AirTable to manage higher numbers of clients.

HubSpot

HubSpot has many great offerings as a CRM, including contact list management, ticketing, prospect tracking, and ad management. Alongside this, the HubSpot training library is fantastic. There is also a free version for small businesses which is excellent for client management.

Salesforce

Salesforce has made a name for itself through high customization levels, tailoring the CRM precisely to a business' needs. The software scales fluidly and is equipped with sophisticated AI and analytics, as well as sales forecasting, workflows, sales data, and lead management.

AirTable

AirTable lets you build apps for collaboration, with as little coding knowledge as possible. With AirTable, you can make bespoke workflows as well as share projects with people. 

File storage

Storing files properly is critical for security, efficiency, and legal reasons. Rock integrates many file storage solutions. Integrate your preferred cloud storage providers in the Files mini-app and attach documents to tasks, notes, and topics.

Google Drive

Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud-based storage solutions. You can sync documents, photos, and files of most types with multiple other users.

Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to store and share files online. It's particularly useful when you send large files that can't be delivered in other formats, like email.

Notion

You can store a huge amount of files on Notion such as DOCs, PDFs, PSDs, ZIPs, MPEGS, and MP4s. With a paid package, anything can be uploaded, with no size limitation. 

integrated client management solutions

Create a true white-glove experience with Rock

Rock allows you to truly provide a white-glove experience to your clients. Leverage all-in-one communication and collaboration with workspaces, manage internal activities and client communications on the same platform.

No more multiple subscriptions, no more switching between platforms. Just one tool. With Rock, you can let go of platform switching and start concentrating on getting the work done. To find out more about how Rock can improve your client management, sign up for free today.

client management software

Oct 27, 2022
November 22, 2022

Client Management: How to Create a True White-Glove Experience

Gitta Boros
Business Development @ Rock
5 min read
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