What is Remote Work?
We’ve already discovered the environmental impact of working from home as starry night skies emerge, clearer waterways flow, and less usage of greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels have plummeted while corporate offices go dark and vehicles remain parked. It’s becoming more evident that returning to a ‘pre-pandemic work environment’ will not happen as quickly as businesses and governments across the nation would have expected.
Now that employees have gotten better at balancing their work/life schedules, managers see an increase in their performance. Even households have come to appreciate the flexibility in work hours, and everyone seems to enjoy dissing the daily commute.
Remote work was previously referred to as telecommuting. It referred to any employee who did not have to travel or commute to a specific location to perform their daily work duties. But, working from home was always considered a ‘thing of the future.’ No one could have envisioned that the miniaturization of computers, the world-wide-web, cloud storage, document processing, and the widespread use of business software and remote work tools would be the saving grace of what could have been a second Great Depression.
With the right remote work tools, both employee productivity and corporate goals can be met. Supervisory oversight, team communication, and client interactions are still mandatory, even when the traditional office has become a home office.
What are Some Essential Remote Work Tools?
While there are many benefits to having a remote workforce, without communication, those benefits become minimal. Distributed offices still need to be creative, collaborative, and productive. The following remote work tools can help businesses accomplish these goals for a permanent switch to telework, or during a staggered return to office work that may happen in waves.
Remote Desktop Software
When your home-based employees need seamless interaction between their desktops and corporate or client devices, remote desktop software can bridge the gap. Screen sharing software allows employees to access other connected devices while traveling or from home directly. This means your IT help desk can log-on to a problematic computer, take over operations, troubleshoot, and fix the issue. Some examples are Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDC) and Splashtop.
Collaboration Hub Software
When teams need to work together seamlessly, collaboration hub applications such as Slack or Zoom can keep everyone connected and collaborating. These platforms take the place of face-to-face interactions with real-time video and chat for group conversations. They can be set to private for managerial meetings or public for staff or team agendas. Some of these applications even allow for connection to other desktop tools such as Gmail and Google Calendar for seamless operations.
Web-based Office Suite
While you may already be familiar with popular office suites such as Microsoft Office or G Suite, you may need to transition to a web-based version such as Office Online. This version of Microsoft Office is a comprehensive web-based program aimed at home users. You can work with any of Microsoft’s default document formats on any computer and at any location. What you get is the browser-based versions of Calendar, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, etc.
Sharing office documents and client information will demand storage space that cannot be accessed directly. Cloud storage excels because remote work tools require the replacement of a physical storage device with multiple servers that can be accessed by users over the internet. Off-site saving of data allows all your remote workers to access information through a dedicated, secure, and private connection. IBM Cloud and Dropbox are just two examples of cloud services.
How the Right Remote Work Tools Set Your Team Up for Success
There are many remote work tools available to keep your team in communication, conduct professional business meetings, and to stay organized so that your daily business processes are maintained as they would be in the office.
Tools for Team Communication
No matter where you work, communication is essential. Remote work means you won’t pass your coworkers in the hallway, and you can’t drop by someone’s desk for a quick chat, so you need to find another way to stay in touch day-to-day.
Tools for Meetings and Presentations
When you think about remote work, you probably think of video calls, virtual meetings, and remote presentations. These are a big part of working online, especially with teams and customers. Having a reliable and robust tool for video calls is a sure way to make teleworking simpler and your “face time” efficient.
Tools for Project Management
Staying on top of your to-do list is challenging! Managing your team’s tasks and coordinating responsibilities remotely can be even more complicated. Remote work tools for productivity will keep you and your team on track no matter where you work. There are many options for different industries, working styles, and team sizes.
Tools for Time Management
Some people might think that working remotely means not having to watch the clock, but that’s not true. Time management is even more critical when you’re away from a traditional office setting. Whether you need a project timer to track hours for client projects or a tool to track your status updates, time management tools will keep you productive and on task both on your own and as a team.