Whether you have experience working remotely with student employees or not, we have compiled the following resources for how to effectively implement, monitor, and maintain a consistent and connected virtual workplace. The selected resources included in this guide do not imply an endorsement by the University of Wisconsin-Madison or UW-Madison Student Employment.
Which collaboration service works best for my team?
- Easily message with team members
- Pin important messages in the chat to be sure they are seen by all
- Set reminders for specific messages to stay on task
- Save important messages to access quickly in the future
- Quickly share documents with your team through Google Drive
- Utilize system-based video and audio conferencing, as well as support for Zoom, Google Hangouts, and more
Looking for more information? Slack offers helpful training materials on their website here: Slack 101.
- Easily message with team members
- Upload team schedules
- Monitor and approve time-off requests and shift trading using the Shifts feature
- Share Microsoft documents in real-time, allowing for seamless collaboration between your team members
- Utilize system-based video and audio conferencing
- Create plans to monitor project progress using the Planner feature
Looking for more information? Microsoft Teams offers helpful training materials on their website here: Microsoft Teams Training.
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Task Management & Scheduling Tools
- Task Management: Provides tools to create and monitor project progress within the application. For more details, view the Project Management tutorial on the Slack website here: Slack for Project Management
- Scheduling: Slack supports Google Calendar, which can be utilized for creating and viewing employee schedules. View the Slack & Google Calendar information page here: Slack & Google Calendar
- Task Management: Assign and monitor project progress by using the Teams Planner Tool. View the tutorial on their website here: Use Planner in Microsoft Teams – Office 365
- Scheduling: Teams meeting links can be easily added to Outlook calendars. Additionally, the Shifts application can be used to list employee schedules, swap shifts, and request time off all within the Teams application. Learn more about Shifts on their website: Shifts
Document Editing & Online Whiteboards
- Document Editing: Utilize Google Drive to share and review documents through the Slack application. More detailed information can be found here: Slack and Google Drive
- Document Editing: Work with other members on your team to edit Microsoft office documents such as Word and Excel in real-time. More information can be found here: Teams and Microsoft Office
Each of the following options allow your team to collaborate in real time on a virtual whiteboard:
Miro – for formal presentations https://miro.com/
Stormboard – multiple whiteboards in a single session https://stormboard.com/
Limnu – a realistic whiteboard experience https://limnu.com/
Focus & Blocking Out Distractions
Enjoy music while you work? These resources are for you!
- Play music to help you stay focused: Brain.fm
- Music that helps you find an ideal medium for longer concentration: Focus@will
- Many online music players such as Spotify also offer free playlists to help focus
- A customizable website blocker that allows you to design sessions of “freedom” from any website or even the entire internet for set periods of time: Freedom
- Similar to Freedom, this program is free and built into FireFox and Chrome as an extension: LeechBlock
- This app locks you out of your computer for designated periods of time. Greatly beneficial if you can’t seem to break away from your electronics: Cold Turkey Blocker
Resources inspired by: zapier.com
Based on what we have discovered, these are a few best practices to utilize when facilitating remote work:
- Initiate a “buddy” or mentor system system during the beginning of employment.
- Establish a communications policy and email it to your employees.
- Hold 1-1 or group check-ins often (2-3 times a week for the first month).
- Provide a personalized organizational chart, so that students know who to contact for different questions.
- Explain the office culture and values- and repeat it. Students must understand their work environment clearly.
- Create a schedule and stick to it! Keep meetings at the same time every week, etc.
- During onboarding, consider virtual breakout groups with your new student employees and other members of the team to help facilitate team-building.
- Create a virtual meeting space for your employees to connect outside of work.
Resources for Team Growth
- Team Building
- Identity Development
- Career Development
Supporting Your Students
- SuccessWorks at UW-Madison has created the “Badgers on Track” resource to assist students in their professional growth during this unprecedented time. For more information on what resources you can offer your students, view their information page here: Badgers on Track
- Ensure your students feel supported in working remotely by promoting the training workshops offered by UW-Madison’s Department of Information Technology! Visit their information page here: Training for Students
- UW-Madison Success Services offer a Workshop Series and Success Coaching to support your student employees as they develop their professional skills. Visit their information page here: Student Success Services
While we have focused mainly on Slack and Microsoft Teams, we want to hear what is working for your team! If you are using another software or method to collaborate with your team or if there is a feature we have not mentioned above, let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!