4 tools for trade contractors to start remote work tomorrow

COVID-19 is hitting cities fast and trade contractors are furiously adapting to work-from-home (WFH) policies. At basis, we’re building an automated bid-board that enables estimating teams to collaborate on bids in real-time from anywhere. We’re also a tech company with a fully-remote team, so we’ve been good at remote work for a long time.

Given recent events, we’ve decided to shift our focus to supporting our customers and their transitions to remote work. Today, we’re expanding that support to all estimating teams across all trade contracting companies. Here are 4 tools for launching remote work in 1 day.

The tools

This is not the time to overthink process and the perfect work from home policy. Figure out a way to get the team safe and establish the minimal set of tools that helps your team quickly be productive in a work-from-home environment. Most tech companies have adopted these tools and we recommend trade contractors considering remote work to adopt them as well. Note this is a bare-bones list of tools that gets teams operational in 1-day as opposed to an exhaustive list of all good construction tools.

Zoom

Zoom enables teams to host video-conference meetings over a laptop and internet connection. We recommend Zoom because it is dead simple to install and the user-interface is so easy that most teams are comfortable within 5 minutes. Zoom supports 1–1 meetings as well as 20+ person meetings with no drop in quality. At basis, we use Zoom for customer calls, demos, team meetings and there’s never been a problem.

Here’s a screenshot of how we use zoom everyday.

Slack

Slack is an office-wide instant messaging tool that makes it seamless to send your colleagues messages. Sometimes you just want to send your colleague a quick message to take a look at a bid or check a revision. In these cases, a phone call seems overkill and email takes too long. With slack, you type a quick message to a group or individual and the response is instantaneous.

Here’s an example of how we use slack to send a daily update.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is basically excel sheets that live in the cloud. Because these documents live in the cloud, all you need is an internet connection to get access to these documents and you can edit and comment on these documents as a group. This eliminates the need to download a file, edit it and send it to someone; just open up the document in your web-browser and make changes.

Here is an example of multiple people collaborating on a spreadsheet in google spreadsheets.

Basis Board

Basis Board is a tool for estimating teams that automatically sorts bid invites into a single dashboard. Our platform syncs to an email inbox and pulls out bid-related information such as GC name, bid due date, and links to plans and organizes this information for estimating teams to review and collaborate. As our customers move remote, they’ve found the collaboration capabilities of basis board to be especially useful, including one customer who said

Basis Board will once again prove useful since we are now all remoting in to work.

Here is an example of the basisboard dashboard for team-wide collaboration.

We’re biased to recommend basis board, but you may also consider tools like BidBoardPro, BidTracer and Bid Retriever.

Schedule a consultation

We know most construction teams are scrambling to move their teams remote and remote work is unknown territory for most trade contractors. Subject to availability, we’re offering free 30-minute consultations to help trade contractors install and get these tools running. If that’s of interest, please directly book a time on the calendar by clicking the link below

https://calendly.com/andy-basis/remote-work-consultation?month=2020-03

About the Author
Andy Lee

Andy leads analytics and insights products at basis. He studied math at Swarthmore College and previously worked on self-driving cars for Uber before joining basis.