Digital Tools for Effective Remote Working
Every organization needs to maintain communication and collaboration between members in order to pursue and achieve their collective goals. When transitioning to remote working, companies must ensure that employees have all the right tools they need. Remote working can be very frustrating and challenging when the right tools are lacking. There are a ton of tools available however knowing what your company needs to get the job done is most crucial.
Depending on what you want to achieve per time, some of the tools we will be discussing will proof helpful.
Wisdom requires that company executives consider a few of these preparatory steps before deciding on what tools to go for.
- Hardware: Since your team will operate from home, they would not have access to the quality of hardware available to them at the office. It is important to help your employees where necessary with the hardware needed to function effectively and efficiently from their home office. You can decide to provide additional funding for employees to get basic things like a good laptop, better internet or a nice table lamp.
- Offer proper training: most companies transitioning to remote work did not prepare for it. The pandemic necessitated their move. As a result, the majority of their employees are unprepared for remote work, therefore, the need for upskilling and training. It is best to train employees on the new tools needed for remote work and offer them guidelines on usage. Show them exactly how things should be done.
- Collaborate: consult with your team in deciding on which software to get. Avoid making any tool purchase decision in isolation. When you have come up with a list of tools you think would be good for your business operations, ask your employees if anyone has used it or has an opinion on its value. Involving your people will help make the transition a smooth one.
Alright, we believe you are on the right track when you take these precautionary measures. Here are some essential tools you will need when transitioning to remote working.
1. Connectivity Tools
Because employees will need to work from their individual locations, companies must provide good connectivity options for them. It is important to choose a reliable internet access provider. One major frustration to remote working is poor connectivity. Africans pay some of the highest internet access prices globally and so it would be wise to support staff with stipends in regards to this. Another important connectivity consideration is file sharing and storage. Your employees need a secure tool for this. Some options include:
DROPBOX: This cloud-based storage platform allows you to drag and drop files and other documents. You can also auto-sync your files from your device. Dropbox offers a “Paper” feature that allows for your employees to share, edit, and comment on a single document from one place.
2. Project Management Tools
Your employees will need to maintain organization while they work remotely so you need to provide them with tools that can help them achieve this. Cloud-based project management tools are a great option. They allow team members to organize projects between different departments, set deadline reminders, and access files and information they need at any time irrespective of their location. Software tools in this category include:
BASECAMP: This project management software helps remote teams work alongside external clients. It is particularly valuable when it comes to helping everyone get on the same page and be able to access shared information. It also gives the option to archive documents not in use. Some of its other futures include creating to-do lists, scheduling events or tasks, and a flexible message board.
ASANA: If you are looking for a work management tool that will help your team stay aligned and organized, then you can opt for Asana. This software offers customization based on your team size and needs. It also offers built-in transparency.
TRELLO: Trello is a leading project management tool favored for its simplicity. Trello allows its users to create public boards that allow clients to track your work progress asynchronously.
Other options include: SMARTSHEET, MICROSOFT PLANNER, JIRA
3. Communication Tools
When working remotely, you will need to maintain communication with both your team and clients. It won’t be possible to head over to a colleague’s office across the hall when you need to get clarity on a matter. Now your team members are all spread across different locations. There are lots of software that offer multiple channels of communication ranging from direct messaging to large chatrooms with hundreds of individuals. You can leverage video conferencing options to achieve face to face feelings while chatting with clients. Some software options in this category include:
SLACK: Slack is the established leader in channel-based communication. It allows users to create channels for teams, projects, interests, and more. Through direct messaging and tagging, you can pull individuals into specific conversations. you can also mute channels and block notifications so you don’t get distracted. Slack allows companies to organize their internal business communications with ease.
MICROSOFT TEAMS: this software offers a similar communication functionality with slack, however, its advantage lies in the fact that it incorporates elements of the Microsoft office suite which makes it a great option for companies already using Microsoft office tools like Excel, Word, or PowerPoint.
Other options include: WECHAT BUSINESS, GOOGLE HANGOUTS, DINGTALK
4. Meeting Tools
While working remotely, companies still need to hold regular meetings, organize workshops, and training for staff or participate in joint problem-solving activities. There are various video conferencing software that offers unique features. Some include:
ZOOM: is a popular tool that has become synonymous with remote work. It allows users to hold large conference calls without sacrificing on quality while including a built-in chat option. With Zoom, you can record calls and reuse them after the meeting. It also offers integration with other remote work tools like Hubspot, Slack, or Google calendar.
FELLOW: This tool is mainly used by managers. It provides several features that simplify the interactions managers have with reports like logging specific action items, offering suggestions for 1on1 conversations as well as collaborative agenda planning. Fellow allows managers to check in on their team members and maintain working relationships.
Other options include: MICROSOFT TEAMS, WEBEX and DING TALK
5. Time Management & Productivity Tools
Monitoring productivity can be a major hassle when it comes to remote work. Now that your employees are at home by themselves with their laptops, how can you ensure they meet up with deadlines and deliver on tasks? There are time management tools that can help your company monitor tasks completed by employees and the length of time it took. Some of them include:
TIMELY: This software helps users to track hours spent on a project. It allows managers to coordinate team resources and ensure that everyone has a manageable workload. Timely provides you an overview of how well you spend your work time and energy.
TICK: This time tracking software allows you to break down your work hours by projects, clients, and tasks helping you identify what’s making you money or eating up your time. It also offers an option to export your productivity report. Tick offers integration with BASECAMP.
Other options include TOGGLE and TIMESHEETS
6. Security Tools
It is quite important to ensure that your company has an information security policy in place before transitioning to remote work. Fundamentally, employees should be mandated to create secure passwords and update them frequently. Also, secure information should be stored in a secure cloud storage platform and a good Virtual private network(VPN) should be provided for all employees. Some tools to consider include
LASTPASS: This tool allows you to share password access with all your employees and also remove that access whenever you need to. It eliminates the option of sharing passwords vie emails of chat apps.
Other options include VyprVPN, 1PASSWORD.
While having the best technology will help your company navigate safely through its transition to a remote work setting, it is important to note that due to the current circumstance that necessitated the transition, most of your employees will need some time to catch up with the functionality of these tools and so it’s very paramount to ensure that they get all the support and empathy needed so as to avoid any feeling of isolation or demotivation which will affect their productivity.
We at Kedrus Consulting offer a complete Digital Transformation that includes everything needed for a professional remote work setting