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The best new work tools for digital agencies.

Why a well thought-out New Work approach also goes hand in hand with new tools and new hardware.

Michael Gattereder 20. May 2021

More freedom through more flexible working models also means higher demands on our working world. As a digital agency, we have the opportunity to be a technological pioneer in our industry and also to try out new innovations. Here, too, the focus is on people and the experience. Tools and hardware must make daily work easier, be reliable and also fun.

Laptops, smartphones and external SSD drives:

Let's start with our "work horses": the laptops of our employees*. Generally, all of them, with the exception of the video production unit, are mobile. The employees choose between Apple Macbook Air/Pro and Dell XPS. The late 2020 MB Air/Pro with the new M1 CPU has fabulous battery life and is no longer bothered by loud ventilation noise, which is a huge advantage for video calls - people can get through even the longest video conferences on one charge. We've never had any stability issues with the software or working on 2 screens. In the creative department, employees also like to use external USB-C Scandisk portable SSD drives to quickly open larger files and projects for the home office.

USB-C is the new standard

On the Windows side, we recommend the 13" Dell XPS - fabulous slim screens, light weight, and ample USB-C ports (important for charging options in conference rooms, whether Mac or Dell - charging ports are now the same with USB-C). Plus modern docking stations, Dell IPS monitors and high-quality input devices for the home office.

In addition, there are Apple SE 2020 or Android Samsung mobile phones - the driving with Air Drop is ingenious with Macbooks in combination with iPhones. Especially documents/photos or stories for social media tasks that are tested or published via mobile. Setting up/deleting hardware has also been minimized in terms of effort over the last few years, and managing mobile connections runs smoothly via the B2B provider portal.

 

Video Screens

Due to the increasing number of video conferences, we have equipped all meeting rooms with OLED or QLED screens from Samsung and LG.

The wireless connection works quickly and easily thanks to Apple Airplay and the native solutions under Windows and Android. We have also been able to significantly reduce paper waste thanks to digital flipcharts from the Samsung Flip 2 series - gone are the days when a flipchart had to be photographed with a cell phone.

 

Conference microphones and loudspeakers

As conference microphones, we have recently started using portable Poly Synch 40 - with 3 speakers and 3 microphones , thereby greatly reducing reverberation and feedback. The connection is wireless via Bluetooth or USB-C. For conference cameras we rely on the Jabra Panacast 180 degrees with AI control this automatically pans the camera to the person who is speaking. Ideal for conferences with several participants in one room.

In general, the topic of acoustics should not be underestimated due to the increasing number of video calls/presentations - we are currently equipping our conference rooms with various acoustic panels to further reduce reverberation effects and ensure an optimal sound image.

Our own streaming studio

For pitch presentations and streaming workshops we have our own digital studio with perfect lighting, Sony cams, green screen, mixer, monitors and wireless microphones. Perfect for max. 2-3 people: Read more about it here.

Software at digitalwerk

In principle, we have been relying on a complete cloud solution for years - whether file server or Office 365 or our own developed agency software. Everything is in the cloud and hosted in Austria. Thanks to our fiber-optic Internet access in the office, we have consistently good performance here and access from home is also guaranteed quickly and securely thanks to VPN.

Office 365/Outlook/MS Teams

The core application is Office 365 with Outlook coupled with MS Teams for quick meeting arrangements and holding video calls or streaming sessions. We also recommend the MS Outlook mobile app for iOS and Android - is better than the native apps (calendar function with Outlook, etc.) Through Outlook we also control the info and booking touchscreens of the conference rooms, creating an efficient control of room bookings.

Slack

For fast internal messenger communication, we recommend Slack - here we see clear advantages in the UX and speed compared to MS Teams.

 

One agency software, for all tasks

One software for all tasks. But there will be a separate post about that soon - you could even start a separate blog about it, so comprehensive and ingenious is this masterpiece under the direction of Robert Moick. We have tried a lot with Asana, Jira, Sevdesk over the years - these solutions were fine for the start-up phase in the agency group, but no comparison to our processes today. Sound interesting? We'd be happy to chat about this topic in more detail over coffee at our agency.

In the design and motion department, we work primarily with Sketch, Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop 2021 CC. Here, too, the cloud solutions prove their worth, as we always work with the latest software, and Sketch has revolutionized the way we work in web and application design.

Of course, there are also special applications for online and performance marketing, SEO, marketing automation and editorial planning - more about these in another section.

 

Our conclusion:

New Work also means New Tools - as a company, you need to continuously evolve technologically as well. The pandemic was certainly a strong trigger, we at digitalwerk have already taken the most important strategic and technological steps before 2020. But here, too, it is important to maintain a certain flexibility. It is important to integrate employees and ask them about their experiences and to provide fast first-level support (via Slack in our case). In 2021, technology is not the ivory tower of nerds and CTOs - we are experiencing a democratization in decision-making - however, we also have budgets and limits and not everything is immediately sensible and financially feasible.

 

The best comes at the end: Digilettes

The most important tool - besides the classic feel good factors like a large communal kitchen and a team dining area with a balcony - are our in-house branded items, like the "digiletten" - despite high tech, people also need high involvements and sometimes they are quite analog and that's a good thing.

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