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Using Zapier to improve your remote working efficiency

Using Zapier to improve your remote working efficiency
March 24, 2020

If you're adjusting to remote working, Zapier can help make life easier.

As we write this article, the COVID-19 outbreak has been categorized as a pandemic and governments worldwide are taking action to slow the spread of the virus.

One reaction from companies across the world has been to encourage, or require, their staff to work remotely. For many, this is the first time they’re working from home — and it’s daunting! 

But rest assured, even before COVID-19, companies across the world had operated with entirely remote teams. As a matter of fact, the whole Zapier team works remotely along with 4.7 million other Americans! 

That being said, if your team is completely new to remote working, it’s difficult to know where to start. We’d recommend Google Apps to share documents, manage calendars and send emails, a company-wide chat tool (we like Slack), and a way to communicate live (like Zoom or Whereby). 

This guide will focus on ways to connect these systems in a way that supports productivity.

Zapier Hacks for Remote Working

As Zapier Certified experts and seasoned remote workers, we've discovered the best Zaps to make you more productive and keep connected, even when you can't make it to the office.

Say goodbye to email

Emails have been one of the most dreaded aspects of office life for a while now. So one upside to this situation might be that emails become obsolete. If you’re already holding conversations on Slack, you can redirect incoming emails to that platform and kiss your inbox goodbye. 

With Zapier, you can build a Zap that sends new emails to a Slack channel:

  1. Click this link to see a pre-configured Zap that posts new emails to a Slack channel.
  2. Log in with your Gmail and Slack accounts
  3. Select the channel where your emails should go. If you prefer, you can change this to a private message by using this Zap.

The possibilities are endless:

  • Send all your contact@ emails to a #newLead channel and never drop the ball again.
  • Send all your support@ emails to a #support channel, so they can be assigned to the right person.
  • Send all your work emails to yourself via private message and keep on top of every email. You can even ask Slackbot to remind you later if you can't deal with the message right now.

Keep your team updated with your schedule

When you work in an office, it's obvious when you’re in a meeting, on an important call, or out to lunch. But in the world of remote work, you’re just a Slack message away. This ever-presentness can blur the line between work and regular life, making it difficult to switch off at the end of the day. 

Thankfully, Zapier can help with this. Keep your team updated and protect your work-life balance by using Zapier to update your Slack status automatically. 

If you use Google Calendar, you can update your Slack status automatically to let your team know that you aren't available at a given time. To set this up:

  1. Log in to your Zapier account and choose Google Calendar, then select the “Event Start” trigger.
  2. Choose Slack as the action and select “Set Status.”

If you don't use Google Calendar, or don't want to add your afternoon coffee break to your work calendar, you can also have Zapier change your status according to a schedule. Simply:

  1. Log in to your Zapier account and choose “Schedule by Zapier.” You'll see a wide range of options, including daily, weekly, or just weekday events.
  2. Choose Slack as an action and then “Set Status.”

Keep everyone on schedule

There’s always one person in any office who forgets about the weekly meeting. Every. Single. Week.

When you’re working remotely, that weekly meeting is probably a Zoom, Google Hangout, or Whereby call...and it's always a different link.

To make sure everyone is on the right conferencing link at the right time, you can connect your Google Calendar to a Slack channel that automatically reminds everyone about meetings. To set this up:

  1. Log in to your Zapier account and choose Google Calendar, then select the “Event Start” trigger
  2. Select “Send Channel Message” and format the message to automatically include the conferencing link.

Make meetings flexible

As most meetings switch to video conferences. But given the unpredictable, fast-changing environment, customers are canceling meetings and rescheduling at the last minute.

Be proactive and make it easy for your attendees to reschedule, without you needing to send dozens of emails to find a convenient time.

By connecting Calendly and Zoom with Zapier, you'll crush your sales targets without stepping foot outside the house. With Calendly, you list the dates and times you are available and connect your calendar. You can then create different types of meeting for people to schedule, with a range of durations.

  1. Simply create a Calendly account and set up your event types and availability.
  2. Log in to your Zapier account and go here to see Calendly and Zoom integrations.
  3. Choose a trigger (New Event) and an action (Create Zoom Meeting) from the dropdown lists.
  4. Calendly will automatically send a confirmation email with flexible rescheduling options.

Fun moments 

An unfortunate aspect of remote work is that much of the social side of the workplace is lost. In an in-person office, you'd celebrate each other's successes, share gossip, and have a laugh whenever possible.

With Zapier, you can set up automatic prompts for these conversations to occur. Try some of the ideas below and see what your team enjoys

  • Good Morning Zap: Use a Schedule by Zapier to send a “good morning” GIF every day. Click here to create this Zap but don't forget to change the time — it's set to a bright and early 8 AM by default!
  • Happy Birthday Zap: Add your team's birthdays to Zoho People or Google Calendar and send a birthday message. Click here to create this Zap — just don't forget to get a cake! 🍰
  • National Holidays Zap: Google Calendar has lots of built-in holiday calendars for countries around the world. Just add one to your calendar, then set up a Slack notification reminding you or your team to take the day off.
  • Sports Zap: Google Calendar also offers calendars for sports, including baseball, football, and hockey. Make a sports notification to encourage conversation about upcoming games and matches.

If your business sells goods or services online, you could celebrate new deals. Create a new #sales channel on Slack and set up a new sales Zap:

  1. Log in to your Zapier account and choose your payment provider. Stripe, Paypal, Bigcommerce, Gumroad are supported, among others. Select the “New Sales” trigger.
  2. Select “Send Channel Message” and format the message to include all the essential information. If you’re feeling ambitious, connect GIPHY and add a random celebration GIF.
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