In a fortnight, Coronavirus (COVID-19) has gone on to become a pandemic disrupting normalcy in many parts of the world sparing no place in the global economy immune to its spread.
Whether it is a restriction on travel to contain the infection or important conferences/events called off or companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Ford, CNN, Citigroup and Twitter adapting to make work more feasible and safe for their employees, by resorting to remote working, working from home option is suddenly on the map.
Remote working is a very lucrative option considering the health concerns abound and the flexibility it offers.
Let’s take a quick look at several other advantages remote working can bring to the table:
- Increased employee pool – There is no geographical restriction, increasing the likeliness of sourcing quality workers who are a good fit for the company and vice versa.
- Improved productivity – Improved productivity levels among employees, is often linked to a relaxed atmosphere which translates to work done at the comfort of their home.
- Saves time – Lower commute time equals decreased levels of stress and more time for work resulting in productivity and work-life balance.
- Saves cost – The cost associated with travel is zero. Concerns of fair pay when employing people outside of specific geography is greatly reduced.
Cisco’s Internet Business Services Group reported an annual savings of $277 million in productivity because of remote work.
However, remote working employees sure could have overlooked certain challenges. For one, it requires a lot of forward-planning, discipline and motivation.
There are also employees working from home who are facing issues relating to communication (both internal and external), collaboration, file sharing/cloud storage and also, most importantly, data protection. Here is a curated list of useful tech tools that can be extremely resourceful and boost productivity.
“According to a survey done at AND Co – 44% of respondents claimed real-time communication tools are most vital for helping them stay connected”
A light-weight communication tool that cuts the need for emails, helping you communicate with your clients and your colleagues alike. It lets you create separate channels for departments around your workplace to share ideas, comment and post opinions.
Besides, it allows you to collaborate by sharing images and documents and helps you be in touch with your social platform by integrating with other tools or platforms you already use. You can send a message to small groups, or you can DM individuals.
It makes your communication contextual, transparent, and efficient. And It is one of the smartest remote collaboration tools available, which works seamlessly for iOS and Android. It is a free tool with limited features and allows you to upgrade.
Neal Taparia, who runs the gaming company Solitaired, explains why Slack is critical to his remote team. “We’re in many different time zones, and our engineers are working on our solitaire games at different times. Slack allows us to effectively communicate asynchronously. For example, we have a Slack standup where everyone is supposed to give their update within a two hour period, allowing us to be on the same page while accommodating to the schedules of our remote team.”
30% of respondents said a lack of community challenges their remote happiness most.
A video conferencing or communication tool that can be used to collaborate with team members for hosting meetings, conferences. It is easy to use cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars and also allows sharing content. It can be extremely handy if you want many people together virtually. And what is best? It offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings.
Hippo Video is the leading video engagement platform for B2B sales teams. It lets you record a video and send it to your prospects. In a technology-driven world, recording videos of the sales reps offer a customized, in-person experience inside of an email.
By sending a video of yourself, on your desktop or mobile, you can capitalize on the deficiency of a text-only communication that lacks the personal touch and humazine your communication.
It is particularly useful for people that are in sales, marketing and support as it helps them record, send new videos and stock videos also letting them track videos engagement for faster deal closure.
In the place where there is a need for explaining products or detailing proposals with back and forth email conversation, videos emails can be a boon that accurately delivers the message without ambiguity with a personal touch. In addition, it easily integrates with other tools like slack, trello, G-suite and more.
It is a project organization and collaboration tool which is incredibly easy to use project management and task management. The visual Kanban boards are flexible, shareable, and empowers you to share up-to-date files, documents, adding meetings to their calendars and more. You can also customize your employees home page according to their taste.
The all-in-one enterprise social intranet, knowledgebase, productivity platform, internal Communications tool and people directory seamlessly integrated with Google Suite.
Any business involves regularly sharing documents and tons of data, and that shouldn’t be cumbersome when you are operating remotely. Box lets you securely share information with your team by using hassle-free yet strict data security, unparalleled sharing experience that allows anyone with authority comment, approve and edit information. It also has set workflows in place to detect and automate repeated tasks that involve sharing information—a must-have solution for any WFH employee.
An easy-to-use project management and collaboration software, ProofHub, lets you assign tasks, set custom roles, share, proof and approve files, communicate with teams, and do a lot more. Kanban boards add flexibility to the tool. You can even set the parameters of your choice in reports and visualize the overall project progress to plan and manage projects ahead – a great feature to remain in ultimate control when working with remote teams.
The go-to app for a reactive employee who is constantly battling to get his/her work done or is easily distracted by social pings and too many short tasks. It lets you do two things.
- Set a goal and break them down into smaller chunks to achieve it throughout the day. It provides breaks and follow-up to check if a goal is achieved.
- Shuts all distractions by blocking apps or website that diverts you from regular work and by silencing your phone.
a. Set goals for each day
b. Keep working to achieve your goals and keep distractions at bay
When you work remotely, sharing confidential passwords for the tools and other applications used by the team can be tricky. This tool helps you easily maintain it without worrying much. It lets you have a centralized password manager that remembers passwords, let you share vaults and can be used as a digital wallet.
The biggest problem when sharing information online is the risk of someone impersonating your colleague or boss to acquire sensitive information. How can you prevent this from happening and how do you know that the information you are sharing is safe? Worry not. Boxcryptor provides end to end encryption and data security. It can be integrated with google drive, dropbox and some major players on the platform—an easy way to secure your files on the cloud.
Take advantage of these tools to breeze through any challenges you think may hinder your productivity when working remotely. Also do let us know your thoughts on these tools and any other tools that might come in handy when you think of working from home.