5 ways to make working from home more effective with an online whiteboard

Remote work has its pros and cons. While it’s far more convenient as employees don’t have to spend hours in traffic and money on lunch and coffee, it can make it harder to focus and keep track of all tasks.

Being in your own environment at home can be both beneficial and detrimental. While you feel safe in your own space, with familiar items and people around you, you can also get a bit distracted and just not feel as if you’re actually “at work.”

Tools such as Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Trello, Skype and so many others definitely help you stay connected to your work environment and colleagues, but we’ve discovered an app that does a bit more. Not only does it integrate a few of those mentioned above, but adds an infinite canvas that allows you to lay out your ideas, to do lists and notes in the same place and allows you to share it with your colleagues at the same time. Miro online whiteboard is basically an infinite canvas that you can populate with numerous pre-made templates and widgets to make sure your work is on the right track.

We’ve prepared 5 tips and tricks that will make remote work far more appealing and easier to handle, and all of them include the presence of an online whiteboard.

Make “working together” intuitive for your colleagues

Invite your colleagues to your board from Slack or Gmail, add their email addresses directly or copy the invite link to send it to them. Go to Miro’s Sharing settings and choose to make the board accessible to everyone on your team to make it all easier.

Have something specific in your canvas that you want to share with the team? There’s a specific tool within Miro for that. You can share a link to a specific area on the board: right-click on any object and select “Copy link” to share the board centered on this object.

Need a bit more structure? Use Miro’s Frame feature. Just select the Frames tool on the left side toolbar and drag the pointer across the board to set the size of the frame.

Choose and customize a framework for your team

When holding a collaborative session, it is very important to prepare a framework that is crafted around your goal. To make it easier and more intuitive, Miro has prepared dozens of ready-to-use templates that will give you a great start.

It allows you to browse through categories and preview any template before actually using it. When the template is added the elements are automatically ungrouped so that you can individually click on an object to customize it or delete it altogether.

If you’ve created a template for your team, make sure to save it for the future as you never know when you might need it again!

Here are the templates we recommend for workshops: remote design sprint, lean UX canvas, and affinity diagram template & example.

Use the timer function to keep track of your activities

The timer function is far more useful than you think. Use it to time activities, discussions, and feedback. One thing can lead to another and you may find yourselves losing focus. With the timer function, this will simply won’t happen as everyone will have a specific time allowed to use to share his/her ideas and thoughts.

Installing the timer add-on is easy: click the “+” button in the toolbar and choose from the ‘More tools” section. After setting the time period, click “start” to begin the countdown. You will immediately get the hang of it from this point.

There’s nothing more valuable than time, so make sure to make the best of it.

Turn ideas into virtual sticky notes

If you and your co-workers find yourself very creative and come up with many ideas, simply write all of them on sticky notes within the infinite canvas. You can choose a specific area on the canvas to place them and start creating virtual sticky notes.

Another trick that we find very useful when having to create a lot of sticky notes is Bulk Mode. To add numerous sticky notes in a row, simply click the Sticky Note icon, choose Bulk Mode and start typing. Click enter to separate ideas. It is very intuitive and allows each individual to have some privacy while creating ideas, as the notes are only visible once you decide to share them.

Pick best ideas faster

Say you have to make a decision and pick an idea or the best candidate for a certain position. Miro’s voting feature is precisely what you need. With this add-on you can hold a voting session for your team regardless of their location. Just put your ideas on digital sticky notes, texts, shapes or even images and vote for the best ones.

The add-on allows you to:

  • Customize the voting name, duration, number of votes per person and more
  • The voting duration can be set from one minute to 99 hours
  • The votes are anonymous and only displayed when the voting session is over

Our verdict

Working from home can be challenging, especially when you have a lot of things to discuss with your colleagues. However, it also offers opportunities for creativity, collaboration and so much more. Miro’s online whiteboard will help you and your team face all difficulties and overcome obstacles far easier.