working remotely 101

With the current state of COVID-19, more and more businesses are closing their offices to the public and working from home. Although this concept is not a novel one, it is something that presents many different challenges for productivity and open communication.

Whether employees are working remotely for a temporary period of time or if is a full-time job, there are many difficulties and roadblocks that typically aren’t present in an office setting. There are plenty of tools and resources for employees to maintain their productivity.

Before jumping into the various applications listed below, employees should make sure that they have an efficient work space. A comprehensive full-time home-office kit can be found here. Having all the necessary tools will make the transition into remote work much more feasible.

Microsoft Teams is an integrated Office 365 tool that creates an environment for employees to stay in touch at all times. Teams allows for virtual chat rooms, video conferencing, and app integration. The platform also has file storage and sharing that integrates with Microsoft’s cloud storage, OneDrive. This tool can integrate with Zoom, RingCentral, Google Translate, Cisco Webex, and many more applications.

Teams is compatible with iOS and Android applications so it’s accessible on the go or at home.

Google drive is a cloud-based hard drive designed to share documents seamlessly. Google Drive integrates with the Google Suite (Sheets, Docs, Slides) for simple sharing and collaboration. Videos, documents, pictures and more can be stored and shared in a secure and safe environment.

The Google Suite provides the ability to work on documents simultaneously with an open chat window to collaborate with other staff members. All Google Drive files can be downloaded and accessed from anywhere at anytime.

Zoom is a remote video conferencing application that has the capability for meetings, webinars, conference rooms, phone calls, and instant messaging. This is a free application with the capability of hosting up to 100 people for 40 minutes, but has enterprise options that can allow up to 1,000 participants in a single conference.

Links can be shared with people outside the employee network and they can join without downloading anything. It is currently the leading application for video conferencing with it’s constant updates and improved features.

With Slack, messaging has never been easier. Employees can organize their conversations into different ‘channels’ based on topic, project team, or whatever makes sense. Slack has application integration with some leading office software such as Zoom, Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce, and more.

All messages are searchable and public for easy access to keep employees up to date and in contact, regardless of location. Slack can also be accessible on iOS an Android devices.

Trello is a web-based application that categorizes tasks into boards. These boards help organize information and tasks to see what is being completed. These can be broken out into lists based on steps in workflow, daily tasks, or whatever is necessary to track.

Team members can add details, checklists, due dates, files, etc. to each item on the list and share them with co-workers. Tasks are easy to track based on who is responsible for what since it is public within the shared network.

Trello is integrated with over 100 other professional applications and has professional capabilities for more restrictive permissions and tracking.

There are so many tools and resources available for employees working remotely to maintain their level of productivity and communication. Consider some of the options above to ease the transition from working in an office to working at home.