Cloud computing has certainly made it easier to work from anywhere, but remote work still comes with a unique set of challenges.
Some employees find it difficult to communicate with colleagues and clients online, while others struggle to be productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Privacy and security are major concerns, too, as employees may be accessing company systems using unsecured home networks and personal devices.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help you tackle these challenges and make remote work easier and safer. Here are some key technologies you and your teams need to effectively work from home.
There are thousands of software that simplify remote collaboration — from instant messaging and video conferencing apps that facilitate discussions to documentation and presentation programs that enable users to create and share content easily. A cloud productivity suite such as Microsoft 365 offers different software and other features that help streamline workflows and processes, as well as encourage team collaboration.
SharePoint, in particular, is a collaboration and document management system in which users can securely store, organize, share, and access content within a company’s network. What’s great is that SharePoint syncs across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, allowing simple sharing and seamless collaboration with colleagues inside and outside an organization.
Another industry-leading collaboration solution is Google Workspace. Formerly G Suite, it’s a collection of collaboration and productivity apps, which include Gmail, Drive, Docs, Meet, and more. It has a single interface for email, chat, video, voice, and content management, so users won’t have to switch among several applications, ultimately saving time for more valuable tasks.
If you deal with time-sensitive, multistep projects that involve several team members, consider using a project management tool.
Asana is a powerful app that can simplify the management of even the largest and most complex projects. Its main features include the ability to create a comprehensive list of tasks, set deadlines, automate manual processes (e.g., assigning tasks), and set task milestones to mark progress.
Similarly, Trello is a terrific tool for planning activities and projects. It’s essentially a digital board where users can create, organize, coordinate, and track tasks using lists and cards, to which users can also add comments, tag members, and attach documents. With all of the relevant information kept in a single location, it’s easy to get an overview of a project from start to completion.
Not being in the same room as your team members or clients makes it harder to exchange information with them. Communication platforms can enable your remote teams to stay in touch on the regular.
If you’re using Microsoft 365, it's hard to do better than the Teams app. Teams lets users chat, meet, call, and collaborate on a single platform. It touts audio and video call functions, content collaboration on Microsoft productivity apps (like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), and integrates with other enterprise software.
If you're not using Microsoft 365, Slack and Zoom are functional alternatives. Slack allows users to create dedicated channels and group chats, where users can share files, create polls, and utilize automated chatbots. What’s more, it enables businesses to engage with their customers directly from the app.
Zoom, on the other hand, is a popular video conferencing platform that’s known for its free service and high-quality video streaming capabilities. It is widely used to conduct one-on-one meetings, video and audio conferences, and webinars. While Zoom was initially criticized for its security issues and vulnerabilities, its developers have since launched several updates to address these problems. All Zoom meetings now come with default passwords and improved encryption.
With remote work arrangements, it’s crucial for business leaders to understand how they can better support employees from a distance and make sure everyone stays aligned with company goals. If you need quick feedback or want to simply check in with your employees, there are several apps that can help you do so.
OfficeVibe is a great tool for monitoring team satisfaction and happiness. The app sends out pulse surveys with questions about an employee’s overall mood, feelings toward the team, and the like. Their answers are then sent anonymously to their team leader, to HR, or to whoever is in charge so they can make informed business decisions to improve employee experiences.
Meanwhile, 15Five is a continuous feedback platform that lets employees create a progress report that takes no more than 15 minutes to fill out and no more than five minutes for leaders to read. Not only does regular feedback allow both employees and leaders to stay engaged, but it also provides opportunities to address potential problems and concerns.
Robust safeguards are necessary to defend against cyberattacks and other risks inherent to remote work environments. Here's a quick rundown of the most important security tools your remote employees should have.
- Virtual private network (VPN) – This tool allows users to establish a secure connection to a network and makes sure their online activities are hidden. Ultimately, using a VPN helps prevent cybercriminals from intercepting sensitive business data.
- Multifactor authentication (MFA) – This authentication method provides an added layer of security by requiring users to provide at least two credentials to verify their identity and gain network access. This could be a combination of a password, a fingerprint scan, or any of these authentication factors.
- Password manager – This a security application that lets employees generate, store, and retrieve unique passwords from an encrypted database. They simply have to create and remember one master password, and the password manager logs them in to all of their corporate accounts automatically.
We at Data Cube Systems can help your Orlando business explore and set up advanced and affordable technologies to support your distributed workforce. Call us today to learn more.