We don’t do snow days
Snow has brought the UK to a standstill, and it’s still coming down. Many employees are stuck at home with seasonal colds and flu, while reports show that the weather conditions are costing the UK economy £1.2bn a day. To keep informed about the snow situation, there’s an awesome Twitter mashup by Ben Marsh at http://uksnowmap.com/, which collects data from tweets tagged with #uksnow to create a real-time map of UK snowfall.
At Domains.co.uk, we don’t do snow days because we don’t have to travel to work. Commuting takes up valuable time, causes stress and is bad for the planet. Right now I’m sat in my home office, with a woolly jumper, a mug of coffee and a radiator, working on the domain management tools for the next phase of our project. Work is not a place, it’s an activity. Of course, sometimes when bashing out an idea or talking over a deal a face-to-face meeting is preferable and, when travel is necessary, we have to make sure we make the best use of our time when on the move. Notebooks and 3G mean we can work on long train journeys and in cafés or waiting rooms.
Despite our remote approach we’re a tight team, and our marketers, designers and techies rely on constant communication to keep up with the pace of development whether we’re working from home, the office, or on the move. Here are some of the tools we use:
We recently migrated our mail server to Google Apps, a service that’s free if your organisation, like ours, has fewer than 50 employees. It’s a breeze to set up, and there are plenty of powerful tools under the hood including IMAP/Exchange sync, search and spam filtering. Google Docs means we don’t have to install Microsoft Office-type software on our machines and can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations in real-time.
Managing projects is a huge part of our work; we have many projects in development at once and we need to make sure none of them fall by the wayside. BaseCamp lets us work together and with our partner companies to make sure that projects get delivered on time, using milestones, to-do lists and message board brainstorming to stay up to date.
We’re not tied to our office so we needed a telephone service that followed us around. We chose Sipgate, one of the many Voice Over IP (VOIP) providers operating in the UK. SIP technology allows us to be device-independent: our mobiles, notebooks, desktops and desk phones can all connect to this service.
HighRise is a web-based customer relationship management tool with a focus on simplicity. This toolhas everything we need for keeping track of our customers and ensuring we work cohesively when negotiating deals or supporting contracts.
An important factor in choosing these tools is their interoperability. Each has a powerful Application Programming Interface (API), which means we can tie them together and integrate them with other software like our custom WordPress plugins, providing a full solution for our business and automating many simple tasks.
We think our setup is pretty great but we’re always open to new ideas and products. Have you used any of these products? What’s your experience of them? Which online collaboration and virtualisation tools do you use?
Currently Playing: Streetlight Manifesto – Somewhere In The Between (2007, Victory Records)