It’s important Shedders stay in touch, especially during a time of national and global crisis, here are a few ways of keeping in touch as a Shed.
There should be something for everyone and the best solution for you will depend on the sort of technology your Shedders have access to and are most comfortable using.
It may sound obvious, but when people are stuck indoors, and possibly on their own, a simple phone call can really brighten up the day. It’s also a great way of finding out if any of the ways of creating a more virtual Shed experience will work for your Shed’s members.
Many Sheds already use WhatsApp group chats to stay in touch and find it a great way of keeping the Shed atmosphere going outside of opening times. It’s great for sharing links, videos, and photos and could provide a great space to amuse each other with pictures and videos of your lock down projects (or lack of lock down projects!) For Shed leaders wanting to start a WhatsApp group there are some useful links below:
- You can download WhatsApp here: https://www.whatsapp.com/download/
- Instructions on how to setup a group and invite members are here: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/26000123/?category=5245251
Slack describes itself as a collaboration hub, which it can be for teams working on a project together, but it can also be a great way of just staying in touch with each other. On Slack, you can setup a virtual space for your Shed with different channels for different types of chat. Alongside your general chat, you could have a jokes section, a hobby craft section, or even a Shed ideas section. Not only is Slack a great way to keep in touch, it could also be a great space to use post pandemic to help share ideas for the future of your Shed. For Shed leaders wanting to start a Slack group, there are some useful links below:
- You can sign up for Slack here: https://slack.com/get-started#/
- More information is available in their Help Centre, here: https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/help
Facebook has a number of great ways for you to stay in touch with fellow Shedders. If you don’t already have one, you can create a page for your Shed, where you can share updates and start conversations on posts. You could even go live from your home workshop with Facebook Live. There is also the UKMSA Facebook page, where you can keep in touch with us and Shedders from around the country. As well as using Facebook pages, you could setup a private group for your Shed or start a group chat in Facebook Messenger. If you don’t want a Facebook account where people can find you, and just want one for the purposes of keeping in touch with fellow Shedders, in the settings you can lock your profile down. For Shed leaders wanting to start take advantage of Facebook, there are some useful links below:
- Sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/
- Find out how to create a page here: https://www.facebook.com/help/104002523024878
- Find out how to install Messenger here: https://www.facebook.com/help/messenger-app/218228001910904?helpref=about_content
Zoom is one of the leading providers of video conferencing and has free accounts available. The free accounts allow you to have up to 100 people join a call, but can only last for up to 40 minutes. This might be a good free option alongside a WhatsApp group or Slack channel, so Shedders can meet for a cup of tea and a chat at set times as well as message each other. For Shed leaders wanting to start using Zoom, there are some useful links below:
- You can download Zoom here: https://zoom.us/signup
- Instructions on how to use Zoom can be found in their Help Centre here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us
WHYPAY provides a free, no-frills conferencing service, using an 03 dial-in number that is free from both landlines and mobile phones. It’s free plan allows up to 50 people to join a call, making it a great alternative to video calling if you have members who don’t have access to a computer with a camera or a smartphone. For Shed leaders wanting to start using Zoom, just follow the instructions below:
- You can sign up for WHYPAY here: https://whypay.net/compare-plans/
- Instructions on how to use WHYPAY can be found using their Helpdesk here: https://helpdesk.whypay.net/en/collections/1444595-whypay
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that helps you stay connected and have conversations. Inside channels you can hold on-the-spot meetings, have conversations, and share files. It’s another tool that can be useful now and possibly after coronavirus has passed. For Shed leaders wanting to start a Microsoft Team channel, there are some useful links below: