It used to be that if you wanted to work from home, you needed a fax machine, a copier, and a landline telephone. Maybe even a dedicated phone line just for business calls. And if you wanted to take work home with you on the weekends, you had to haul around your laptop and all of your paperwork. How times have changed! With the advent of the internet, it’s now possible for employees to work from anywhere in the world. All they need is an internet connection and a device that can connect to the internet, right? Well, sort of.
Remote workers must also have the right digital tools at their disposal so they can stay productive, meet deadlines and provide their best work. Otherwise, employers risk communication breakdowns, bottlenecks in production, and meager results on major projects. Here, we discuss ways to support your remote workforce so they have what they need to get the job done.
The Remote Work Surge
The traditional workforce has changed. Many people are requesting to work remotely because they value flexibility and want the freedom to balance their work and personal lives. Some people also prefer the quiet environment of their home office, or they may have children at home that they need to care for. Other people want the opportunity to work from anywhere, particularly in burgeoning cities that are favorable to digital nomads.
There are a few challenges that come with managing a remote workforce, but with the right technology in place, these challenges can be overcome. Employers who allow their staff to work remotely must provide them with the necessary tools to be successful. This includes reliable devices, and the appropriate software and applications, as well as appropriate training to ensure that everyone in your organization understands how to use this technology.
With so many remote workers now spread out all over the globe, it’s more important than ever to have quality video conferencing software in place. This way, employees can still see and interact with one another as if they were in the same room. Meetings can take place as scheduled, and everyone can feel like they’re a part of the team.
There are a number of great video conferencing software options on the market, but some are definitely better than others. For example, Skype is a popular choice, but it can be unreliable at times and can’t always handle large groups very well. WebEx is a more reliable option, but it can be expensive for smaller businesses.
Fortunately, there are a few cost-effective video conferencing solutions that are both reliable and easy to use. Google Workspace is one of them, and it’s free and has a user-friendly interface that even the most tech-challenged folks can figure out. Another great option is Zoom, which offers both free and paid plans depending on your needs. It’s perfect for small businesses or groups, and it has some great features like screen sharing and recording.
Digital Document Sharing and Editing
When it comes to working remotely, it’s also crucial to have a good digital document-sharing and editing system. This way, employees can easily share files with one another, and they can all work on documents together in real-time. There are a number of great options out there, but two of the best are Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
Google Drive is a great option because it’s free for up to 15GB of storage, and it has a user-friendly interface that most people are familiar with. It also integrates well with other Google applications, like Gmail and Google Docs. Microsoft OneDrive is a good choice too, especially if you’re already using Microsoft Office products. It offers a lot of storage space (up to 1TB) and has a wide variety of features that users will find useful.
Another great add-on is Adobe Acrobat, which allows users to create and view PDF (portable document format) files. PDFs are often used for sharing documents because they can be viewed on any type of device and they maintain the original formatting of the document. Adobe Acrobat also allows users to add comments and annotations to PDFs, which can be useful for collaborating on projects with colleagues.
Collaborating on projects with colleagues can be a challenge, especially when everyone is located in different parts of the world. But with the right idea-sharing platform in place, this process can be a lot easier.
There are a number of different platforms out there that allow users to share and collaborate on ideas. Some of the most popular ones are Google Workspace, Trello, and Evernote.
Again, Google Workspace is a great option because it’s free and it has a user-friendly interface that most people are familiar with. Trello is also a good option, especially if you’re already using the Kanban method for project management. It’s free for up to 10 users, and it has a variety of features that users will find useful. Evernote is another great option, especially if you’re looking for a platform that can be used for both note-taking and project management.
Scheduling and Calendars
Scheduling and calendar sharing are two important aspects of remote work. When everyone is working remotely, it’s crucial to have a system in place for scheduling meetings and appointments. This way, everyone can stay on track and avoid overlap.
There are a number of different online scheduling systems available, but two of the most popular ones are Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. Another great option for calendar sharing is Calendly. It’s free for up to 20 participants, and it has a user-friendly interface that makes scheduling appointments easy. It also integrates well with other applications, like Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.
Time-tracking software is another important tool for remote workers. When everyone is working remotely, you need a system in place for tracking the amount of time spent on each task. This way, employers can ensure that employees are staying on track and meeting deadlines.
There are a number of different time-tracking software options available, but two of the most popular ones are QuickBooks Time and Toggl. QuickBooks Time is a great option because it’s easy to use and it integrates well with other QuickBooks applications. Toggl is also a good option, especially if you’re looking for a time-tracking system that is simple and easy to use.
There are a number of different online tools and applications that can make remote work easier. In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular ones. These tools include collaborative platforms, scheduling and calendar-sharing tools, time-tracking software, and PDF creation and annotation software. If you’re looking for ways to improve your staff’s remote work experience, these tools are a good place to start.