When your home becomes your office

Boris Jockin

Reading time
6 min read

Aug 05, 2021

5 essential tools for design teams to work from home

Just like (almost) everyone these days, our Koosjes are currently working from home. Although we often work remotely during international projects, we now have to implement this way of working in everything we do. That’s quite a stretch from our normal working days, which involve a lot of contact with both our colleagues and our clients. We usually spend hours a day covering the walls of our meeting rooms with post-its and talking to our colleagues to spark new ideas. 

Now that we suddenly had to start working from home, we had to adapt to this new situation. A situation without our beloved face to face contact. We’re taking on a new challenge: How do we make sure we achieve the same great results, even though we are not in the same room? 

After being forced to move faster than even we felt was possible, we’re happy to share our experience with you. We have created a list of 5 essential tools we use when designing from home.

1. Miro: to cover digital ‘walls’ with post-its

One thing that Koosjes really can’t live without is post-its. We should have bought shares years ago. We use them to write down ideas, analyse our user research, and to write passive-aggressive notes to make sure the office stays clean and orderly. 

That is why Miro has quickly turned into one of our personal favourite tools. Miro is an online digital tool that will help you collaborate with your teammates on a huge virtual whiteboard. Just like in real life, you can write and draw flow charts et cetera. Most importantly however, you can stick post-its on the board! 

We are currently using Miro to create a Customer Journey for ProBiblio about the customer experience in several local libraries
Kasper with some of the essential remote working tools; Headphones, digital PostIts and coffee.

Since we initiated our remote way of working, we have used Miro for basically everything. Whether it’s analyzing interviews or creating an outline for this very blog, Miro has your back. Not only do we use Miro for work that happens within Koos, we also collaborate with our clients on their projects. This enables our clients to work directly with us, maintaining the collaborative nature of our projects! So, if you are looking for a way to collaborate and be creative while working remotely Miro is the tool for you. 

2. Whereby: Just another day at the (online) office

What is the thing you are going to miss most while you are working from home? Indeed, your coffee colleagues (next to the office dog of course). That’s why we try to recreate our normal way of working at Koos the best we can. Enter Whereby! 

Whereby is a video conferencing tool in which you can create separate ‘rooms’ and video calls with up to 50 people at the same time. We use this tool for all kinds of purposes. We have conversations with our clients about running projects, facilitate remote user tests and hang out at random moments in our ‘online lounge’ to replace the conversations that normally take place at the coffee machine.

We even gave the online meeting rooms the same names as our actual meeting rooms at the office, so we don’t have to miss it too much. An additional benefit of doing this is that you can book an online meeting room in the same way you book a physical one.

We have conversations with our clients about running projects, facilitate remote user tests and hang out at random moments in our ‘online lounge’ to replace the conversations that normally take place at the coffee machine.

Did you know…

…you can comment on what is being said during the call with smileys and emoticons? A feature that keeps everyone who is on mute silent, but still engaged with the call. Ssshh!

Our real life Zoo in Amsterdam vs. our online Zoo

3. Google Hangouts as a backup for Whereby

Because Murphy’s law happens. Trust us!

A wild Jette, spotted in her natural habitat, just finishing off her last tasks of the day with Trello

4. Trello to keep the business running smoothly

Trello is a list-making tool that enables your team to organize projects. It helps us to prioritize, plan and assign tasks to team members within different projects. This way it is clear to everyone what needs to be done and when.
Our teams use the Kanban-style board to keep track of internal projects. We make a checklist within each task-card, so we won’t miss anything. Each month, we sit together and check our progress. 

5. Slack to communicate 

The last tool on this list is one that many people will recognize and love, and for good reasons. Back when everyone still worked at the office, Slack was already the lifeblood of our organization. Now that we can’t really talk anymore, it has proven to be even more useful! 

For the ones that are still in the dark about Slack, it is an online messaging platform that allows you to easily communicate with your team members both directly and through channels. Slack works really well for us, because it allows us to create separate channels for different topics and projects. This mechanism conveniently keeps people sharing pictures of their cat away from those discussing their latest Customer Journey Map. You simply hide those weirdos in the channel #catmodels.

Did you know…

…Slack allows you to add your own emoticons? Think dancing parrots (www.cultofthepartyparrot.com) or Koos-specific emoticons; the sky’s the limit!

Get ready to learn more

Besides these 5 tools, there is of course a lot more to learn about working remotely. The good news is that we will be sharing more tips and tricks in the upcoming weeks to help your organisation make the transition towards remote working! 

Are you interested in a remote, creative and collaborative style of working? Reach out and let’s meet up in one of our Whereby meeting rooms so we can talk about how we can help your organisation. 

Stay tuned!

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