Virtual Workspaces: A Chat With Our Junior Growth Hacker

Slack is the remote worker’s dream. Millennials, like myself, will remember the hours glued to the thrilling MSN messenger after school. Slack is MSN’s business-minded big sister, however infinitely more fun and heaps more useful.

Want to send an urgent message to a team member that will pop up on their desktop straight away? Slack lets you do that. Want to manage several projects at the same time with different sets of teams? Slack has multiple channels you can customize and nominate to each task, without getting yourself tangled up.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘What about Microsoft Teams?’, and you’re not wrong to be curious about most innovative group chat software to be associated with Microsoft since Skype. However, my answer to you is: don’t be fooled. There have been numerous times this year where Microsoft has been seen to put pressure on Slack, but the truth is Slack’s user base just ain’t leaving and Slack just keeps on getting sassier. 

I’d like to take some time to run you guys through just some of the reasons why I am a firm Slack fan. I’ll delve into personality, UX, functions and the overall effect as a virtual workspace for the modern day worker. All haters wanting an argie bargie on the subject, feel free to take this down to the comments later.

5 Reasons Why I’m A Slack Fan:

1. Slack are just majestic with their sassiness.

When word of Microsoft’s upcoming Slack competitor swooped on the scene, Slack was quick to respond in the best way they knew how. They took up a FULL 2 PAGE ad in the New York Times to welcome in the new competition. I love it so much that I’m going to include the final part for you to enjoy below:

If this isn’t them marking their virtual workspace territory and upping their sasspoints then I don’t know what is.

2. Slack is a product, Microsoft Teams is a feature.

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Source: The Verge

This is an interesting way to look at Slack and Microsoft Teams together and it truly makes all the difference. Being named ‘the office messaging app that may finally sink email’ in the New York Times, Slack may only have one use but it is far more than a contemporary add-on.

3. Slack is free.

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Source: Business Insider

Let’s consider the fact that anyone who’s anyone can have a Slack account. Slack boasts 4 million active daily users, and of those 1 million are paying customers. Pretty neat, considering they don’t force their premium version upon their users at every login. They have made themselves universal and there’s no doubt these guys certainly know how to growth hack their way to the top.

4. Slack is VERY user-friendly.

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Have you seen their interface recently? It’s pretty cool for a virtual workspace. You have to remember that most Slack users use the software for long hours at a time and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. They’ve taken it as their green card to go all out with exuberant copywriting, and I really enjoy reading their quirky little greeting messages each morning. Slack has focused on the small details and their work really has paid off. They’ve created a really pleasant and exciting user experience.

5. You can add external people into your Slack teams.

Slack prides itself on the awesome feature of adding people from outside your team into your Slack channel. That’s one of the best features right?

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How many times have you been at a meeting and have heard the words ‘I’ll add you into the slack channel now, it’s just easier than the back and forth of email.’ And voila! You can start to engage with your colleagues right then and there, sharing Google docs and Excel sheets at the flick of some rather cool, funky slack buttons. This is a feature that Microsoft Teams just hasn’t got going yet, and it’s potentially one of the main reasons that Slack members are staying for loyal to the software. If they aren’t such firm fans like me already, of course.

So what do you think? Is Slack is here to stay or do you think you will make the move over?

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

10 Bizarre Brain Foods – A Survival Kit For Computer Work

brain food

You are what you eat, but your productivity is also what makes you who you are.

There are certain compounds within foods which are bypassed because you probably just don’t think about the value of them. Who does? It’s fascinating how much food impacts the productivity within your daily regime. Allow these bizarre goodies enlighten your diet to get your typing speed soaring!

Brain Food #1: Sage

With a long reputation of improved concentration and memory, Sage can be used as an oil or a sprinkle of flavor. It contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. It’s worth adding to your diet, as the Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior found young adults who took sage-oil extract (.05 ml) before cognitive tests performed better than those given a placebo.

Image result for sage

Source: Growing Sage

Brain Food #2: Grass Fed Beef

“The difference between grain fed and grass-fed animal products is dramatic.”

– American Grass Fed Beef

It boils down to the nutrition that the cow gets. Grass-fed products tend to be much lower in total fat than grain-fed products and will always be lower in calories. Consuming grass-fed products means extra Omega-3s, and means a healthier iron level. With higher levels of iron, you can perform better and faster on mental tasks. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and to the brain.

Brain Food #3: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Widely believed to be the healthiest way to eat in the Mediterranean diet. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has monounsaturated fats that help improve memory and other cognitive functions. Containing over 30 phenolic compounds that are potent antioxidants, this olive oil contributes to higher levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Image result for extra virgin oil

Source: USA Today

Brain Food #4: Rosemary

Similar to sage, you have the oil option, or sprinkled as an ingredient. Carrying carnosic acid, rosemary helps protect your brain from neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes or natural aging of the brain. 

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Source: Mother Nature Network

Brain Food #5: Yerba Mate

It’s said that Yerba Mate has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage. Yerba Mate can enhance short-term brain power – likely due to its strength and health benefits. The people of the rainforests find tremendous invigoration, focus, and nourishment in Yerba Mate, we’re positive it’ll work behind the computer.

Brain Food #6: Wild Salmon

Specifically Wild Salmon and Deep-water Fish are rich in omega-3, which are essential fatty acids and essential for brain power. Reason being for its “cleanliness.” It’s one of the most nutritious, brain food-friendly foods around, hence why you might see it so much.

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Source: Fine Cooking

Brain Food #7: Pomegranate Juice

With the seeds, the fruit itself isn’t the most convenient and appetizing around and you still get all the right antioxidant benefits from the juice. This protects the brain from damage from free radicals when the brain is the most sensitive. A recommended 2 ounces a day, diluted with spring water or seltzer will be the perfect amount of fuel.

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Source: Dr. Axe

Brain Food #8: Sea Veg

Mainly in the West, but the people of Okinawa, Japan seem to be the ones benefiting health and longevity due to their consumption of sea vegetables. They contain all 56 minerals, iodine, tyrosine and so much more that are seen to be rare across other vegetables that are essential to human health. All of which clear brain fog, poor memory, depression, and fatigue.

Image result for sea vegetables

Source: Passionately Raw!

Brain Food #9: Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen is one full of nutrients, making it the perfect energizer. It contains about 40% of protein, and rich in folic acid, free amino acids and plenty of B-complex all of which will help you fight your day. You’ll be battling that fatigue and enhancing your brain’s stamina all with just a teaspoon added to your drink.

Brain Food #10: Bone Broth

The minor effects of Bone Broth have been shown to improve your sleep and memory. The most important to highlight are the effects on your bones, cells, ligaments, and brain. Its simply, a stock made of animal bones, but when ingested it feeds your body with collagen which builds these parts of your body, reduces intestinal inflammation and heals amino acids. Not suitable for vegetarians.

Image result for bone broth

Source: Paleo on the Go

Need more? Or do you require some research? Get in touch! We’re up for anything.

Virtual Workspaces: A Chat with Our Content Creator

dapulse

A popular communication and collaboration solution for teams and our morning go-to for all things Oliver + Sons, dapulse is what keeps our agency sharp. If you didn’t know before, we are currently a team of five operating remotely from all corners of the globe (Barcelona, London, and San Francisco!). As a work lifestyle, it sounds pretty awesome. And, it is, thanks to this awesome business tool.

We cannot stress enough the sheer amount of organization needed to always be crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of tasked work in agency life. We needed a business tool that kept up with us; one that allowed us to be scrupulous with our planning and communicate effectively across different time zones.

Dapulse (DP) gives us all of this and more. I caught up with our content creator Lily to see what aspects she looks for in a virtual workspace, and why it satisfies those needs:

Let’s have a further look into why we choose to use dapulse over its competitors by examining the best features of the toolkit itself:

  • An execution board with a big screen display for easy view of all tasks for that week. 

dapulse has its own idiolect to describe its stack rows called pulses, which can be categorized and separated to suit your business’ desired needs. The app is totally customizable as it tracks each change in the status of the task and can be easily updated at any given time. This is great for us to monitor our weekly progress and additionally, allows for tracking of who carried out each particular task.

  • A visual display of progress which, as Lily comments, really increases the motivation to complete tasked work.

With each pulse, there is the option to customize the drop-down menu allowing you to input titles to your specific business needs and requirements. Our Oliver + Sons labels reflect our needs as a remote digital marketing agency.

Our action items are clearly highlighted with color and progress marker lexis for the attention of other remote team members. This feature particularly works well for us, as we are an agency that works within different time zones. As I prepare to sign off for the day, I know that another co-worker can easily begin where I left off and has access to a visual representation of my workload. Awesome!

  • Easy communication that allows you to simply tag people which you wish to include or poke on a specific task.

To collaborate which another member of your team, you simply need to click on the relevant pulse. This then opens up a notes feed where you can send files, tag other members for their attention and discuss matters relating to that set task.

We use this feature at Oliver + Sons to extrapolate more information on a client’s history, the task set, or even for including useful resources which the person tasked may find useful. This feature works similarly to Intercom and is a great way for us to be quickly notified of comments related to a specific task. Email notifications can also be set up to be automatically sent with every change.

Are you using dapulse or have another virtual workspace which you’d like to rave about? Let us know below!

The 3 Best Podcasts That Will Make You A Kick-Ass Female Bo$$

Feminism is a pretty important right now, but many people still confuse it with being a group of women who despise men. This, ladies and gentlemen, simply isn’t true. Feminism, as many of you know, is the belief in the equality of the sexes, pure and simple. Let’s not get aggressive about it, let’s just get informed. It’s a movement that projects the message that women around the world can and will do what they like, and can succeed in any workplace of their choosing.

In the current business climate, sadly this is not always possible. It’s a tough world out there, especially for women working in predominantly male industries (like our own). All institutions have been created to function within a patriarchal framework. So forgive us, Apple, that we are not forcibly clapping you on the back for offering female employees the option of freezing their eggs. We women want change. It won’t come quickly, but we’re ready for the fight.

Source: Me.me

This list of 3 exceptional podcasts is for all you strong ladies out there (and indeed men) to give you that added oomph and jump in your step to succeed. Don’t let the day-to-day patriarchy get in your way and don’t settle for less – SMASH IT. These fabulous females will show you how it’s done.

The High Low

Hosted by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, this incredible podcast got me into this genre in a big way. They explore everything current, offering interesting perspectives on popular culture and feminist discussion topics with no sugar coating – just raw, intelligent, female wit. ‘The High Low’ is a weekly burst of pop-culture that isn’t afraid to delve deeper into extrapolating and supporting feminine trials and tribulations when necessary. These women are up for a challenge and you will be too, as you strut into your office woke and without a woe.

The Guilty Feminist

If you want something a little more hard hitting, then I recommend this masterpiece. I admit the name sounds ominous and could be misconstrued as a rant. It’s not, I assure you. This podcast is downright insightful, imaginative and inclusive, with many men present in the audience.

The host Deborah Frances-White is seriously cool. I know she’d laugh if she heard that, but she is. She’s a source of inspiration for all, whether to her talk show audience or for all the listeners at home (with a massive 16 million downloads in the past year and a half). She discusses topics which ‘all 21st-century feminists agree on’, and often invites many professional and successful female guest speakers to give talks in their specific fields. We’re talking NGO leaders, to other fellow comedians, to female motivators. I guarantee it will make you think, and give you a serious chuckle at the same time.

The Broad Experience

Imposter syndrome is a big deal, but many don’t even know they are suffering from it or even what it is. For those that don’t know, it’s been proven that females predominantly suffer from it, not only in the workplace but also in relationships. Imposter syndrome is the mindset that doesn’t allow you to internalize your accomplishments and you live in persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’, despite external evidence of success.

Being another by-product of the male patriarchy, ‘The Broad Experience’ works to change this. By catering specific podcasts to improve the confidence of women in the workplace, such as When Women Work for Free’ they are taking a firm stab at stopping female self-undervaluation. Pretty awesome in our book.

 

What did I miss? Do you have any podcasts that you just can’t stop listening to? Got female empowerment on the brain? Share this post on your socials and get people talking!

Get in touch we’d love to hear from you!

20 Remarkable and Inspirational Quotes by Powerful Women

We’re a #GirlGang inspired by strong women. Some of our favorite blogs, communities, resources, and websites are run by women, and it’s just not shouted about. If you look around your office and only see men, you should probably have these quotes on your desk every day (or rethink your work situation, maybe).

Thankfully, we have a history of incredible female poets, creatives, entrepreneurs, singers, and novelists, to remember their success, and learn and grow from. In our recent post about fighting sexism in advertising, we noticed it is a slow process of change due to an ugly past of discrimination, but things are still shifting in the right direction.

For decades, our role models have looked up to these women, trickling the empowerment down through the decades. Now, we see powerful women dominating the US net worth of $19 trillion and owning more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth. Round of applause, please.

Here are some top-notch quotes by some badass women in history that will surely inspire you:

“You can’t expect to just write and have visitors come to you. That’s too passive.”  – Anita Campbell (Founder & CEO of SmallBizTrends)

“Working hard on the right thing is probably more important than working hard” – Caterina Fake (CoFounder of Flikr)

“Entrepreneurship is the last refuge of the trouble making individual.” – Natalie Clifford Barney (American Playwriter)

“Don’t be like the rest of them darling” – Coco Chanel

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou (American Poet)

“You are more powerful than you know; You are beautiful just as you are.” – Melissa Etheridge (Singer-Songwriter)

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem (American Writer)

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer at Facebook)

“As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” – Virginia Woolf (English Writer)

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (Former First Lady of the United States)

“People don’t care about your business, they care about their problems. Be the solution that they’re looking for.”  – Melonie Dodaro (CEO Top Dog Social Media)

“My whole career has been one rejection after another and then going back and back and pushing against everything and everybody. Getting ahead by small, ugly steps.” – Joan Rivers (American Comedian)

“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary K. Ash (Businesswoman)

“Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist: While you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!” – Lori Greiner (Inventor, QVC host and ‘Shark Tank’ investor)

“The comfort zone is a nice place, but nothing grows there. Take the leap today and start your business!” – Caroline Cummings (Tech Entrepreneur)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead (Cultural Anthropologist)

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estée Lauder (Founder of Estée Lauder Cosmetics)

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes — understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington (Editor-in-chief of AOL/Huffington Post)

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” — Ayn Rand (Novelist)

“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not making decisions.” – Catherine Cook (CoFounder of MeetMe)

What are your favorite quotes from powerful, incredible women? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!