Skype’s Not Just a Chat Tool for the Modern Office – It’s an Everything Tool
HashableMedia is a digital media creation company, and like a lot of companies these days, we spend a lot of time working remotely. With a laptop and Wi-Fi we can get things done, working on articles and videos wherever we need to. Whether we’re in the office or a coffee shop down the road from the client, we’re always able to stay in touch with Skype.
Skype is great for the free calls, sure: phoning in for brainstorming sessions and important meetings is easy (we tend not to use video for chat until after at least two cups of coffee). If someone’s on foot or stuck on the train, they can even call in from their cell phone via the Skype app.
But like everyone else, we try to avoid meetings for meetings’ sake. With people out of the office and dotted around the country, one of the dangers of working online is simply missing out on the friendly chat and ideas that spring from accidentally bumping into the people you don’t work directly with every day. Skype’s simple, fast instant text messaging lets us stay in touch to talk about everything from our business strategy to what the score was last night.
Skype’s more than just a communication tool for us – it’s a universal office suite. It’s the first thing we tell a new starter to install on their laptop. When we’re auditing one of our websites, the screen-sharing option is a lifesaver for figuring out what’s causing a bug on someone’s machine.
We use it for sharing files in a fuss-free way. There are so many different ways to send documents and folders too big to squeeze in an email attachment; fortunately, there’s no size limit to sending files on Skype. You no longer have to worry about fiddly file sharing tools like FTP—with everyone using Skype, you can just drag and drop that video or Powerpoint presentation and the recipient gets it straight away.
We even use Skype for a shared office soundtrack, even when we’re not in the same room. Everyone can display the songs they’re listening to, and discovering new music while I work helps me stay focused – and closer to my colleagues. Plus Skype is very helpful as a reminder of each other’s birthdays!
There are features you have to pay for (group video calls and screen sharing, for instance) but even then, only one person on the call needs to be paying for Premium, so you can leave it up to the boss to initiate the call, and it’s only £3.44 for a day pass if it’s snowed heavily outside and no-one’s made it in for that quick catch up.
That’s really the beauty of it; because of Skype, we can work whenever, without the hiccups of gridlocked commutes and striking train drivers – leaving more time for play.