One of the great things about our team is that we come from diverse professional backgrounds. While we work on the same projects and client accounts now, we each bring to the table a wealth of knowledge from everything we have done previously. This led to our in-house “team tips” series.
At LaFleur, we schedule time in our bi-weekly team meetings to share our knowledge and learn from each other. When you’re assigned to deliver a “team tip,” you can utilize those few minutes however you choose, sharing a professional resource, life hack, or tutorial. Other times, our team crowdsources feedback on a current challenge or comes up with something entirely unique. We have learned keyboard shortcuts, helpful apps, Office 365 tricks, and have even practiced guided meditation with each other.
These few minutes at the beginning of our meetings have been a great way to grow and learn as a team. Here are some of our favorites.
Hemingway Editor: Steven Kent
Even after years of working in journalism and marketing, I still tend to overwrite pieces that are intended for a general audience, who overwhelmingly prefer content that's concise, direct, and easily digestible. As writers, we have a natural instinct to show off our skills (and perhaps justify our professional existence) with fancy word choices and sentence constructions, but that's not what our readers want from marketing blog content.
Tools like the Hemingway Editor help keep me honest by cracking down on long sentences, florid turns of phrase, and unnecessary words. Trying to please the Hemingway Editor does indeed feel like submitting your manuscript to the man himself — it's a grumpy little tool that splashes red all over your prose and sometimes seems impossible to please.
At times I'll end up overruling Hemingway, as you should with any automated tool, but even the process of plugging a piece in and wrestling with it for 15 minutes or so forces me to consider every word and phrase to look for trimmable fat.
Wunderground App: Amy Hinman
I love the Wunderground app because it gives you more detailed local weather information than other default weather apps. I bike commute almost exclusively, so it's helpful to know what the humidity is, how much accumulation we're in for, and when so I don't get caught in a storm on the street. (I've been there, it's not ideal.) There's also a radar feature, which is great.
LegiScan: Leigh Ebrom
Because we work with law firms, healthcare organizations, and other regulated industries, our content team needs to stay up-to-date on important decisions and bills. I love services like LegiScan that allow us to track legislation that impacts our clients.
While there are paid versions, LegiScan’s basic (and free) option lets you monitor up to 25 bills in the U.S. Congress and one state of your choice. The service will also send you a weekly email with updates about your tracked bills.
I love anything that improves our research process and the quality of our content. However, our clients should also consider using software like LegiScan to stay current on their regulatory environment – why wait until your professional organizations issue press releases or legislative updates?
Move Slack to Current Display: Pat Kose
We are big fans of Slack here at LaFleur, and most people have it open on either their laptops or second monitors at all times. Despite providing quick communication and a vehicle to send hilarious GIFs to your co-workers, Slack can also provide frustration when it doesn’t move from your laptop to your second monitor, or vice versa. Every time I disconnect my laptop from an additional monitor, Slack doesn't know to move from one screen to the other and is left floating out in space somewhere, probably next to that other sock you lost in the dryer.
But don't fret, there is a way to tell Slack to get back over here. Right-click on the icon in the toolbar, and select the option to "Move Slack to Current Display." This will pull Slack back down out of the interwebs and back to your screen.
Slack and Outlook Integration: Becca Barth
Does your company use Slack for team communications and Microsoft Outlook as the primary email client? You can boost your productivity and organization skills by linking the two applications together! The Slack-Outlook integration is easy to set up and allows you to view your schedule, accept or decline Outlook meetings, and let teammates know you are in a meeting, all right from the Slack app. Simply scroll down to the Apps section in Slack's left sidebar and search for Outlook.
Don't use Slack? Outlook also provides seamless integration with the other Microsoft 365 applications, along with a variety of useful third-party apps. The extensive list of available add-ins includes GoToMeeting, Evernote, Salesforce, Trello, Giphy, PayPal, and FedEx Tracking. You can find all these and more in Get Add-Ins on Outlook's Home tab. Additionally, Slack also integrates with other email clients such as Gmail and MailChimp, so no matter what platforms you use, you should consider connecting your apps together for an improved work experience.
RELATED ARTICLE: Can You Hear Me Now? Tips for Managing Remote Teams
Hotel Tonight: Rose Falsetta
My team tip is for our spontaneous team members. If you want to take a weekend trip, but don't have a place to stay, check out Hotel Tonight. Due to the last-minute nature of the bookings, the app can offer deep discounts off listed hotel rates. This website is perfect for anyone who takes a last-minute weekend trip or finds themselves without a place to stay.
Unroll.me: Catherine Smyka
My favorite team tip is a website called Unroll.me. You connect with your email inbox, and it provides a checklist of all emails you currently subscribe to. You can simply uncheck a box next to the ones you no longer want to subscribe to, and Unroll.me unsubscribes for you. The first time I used this service, I unsubscribed from over 300 sites in under 10 minutes. Highly recommended.
Virtual Desktop: Dale Engelbert
While keyboard shortcuts, a combination of keys that provide an alternative way to do something that you would typically perform with your mouse are nothing new, one of my favorite shortcuts is to use the virtual desktop keyboard shortcut.
The shortcut involves using the Windows logo key + Tab. This opens all the documents open on your computer. By pressing the Windows logo key + Ctrl + Right Arrow, you can toggle through the virtual desktops to the right, and the same is true for toggling to the left with Windows logo key + Ctrl + Left Arrow. To close the view, you can press the Windows logo key + Tab and you will return to your previous screen.
LaFleur is Here to Help!
We hope you enjoyed our favorite team tips. Having this time before each team meeting not only helps us learn about useful apps or hacks, but also about each team member and what interests them. Feel free to use this in your own organization and we hope you get as much out of this as we do. If you would like to chat more about the LaFleur culture or how we might be able to help your business grow contact us by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief online form.