With the world gripped in a pandemic and social distancing becoming the new normal, more businesses are starting to take another look at creating a workplace conducive to working remotely.
Re-opening the country is proving just as challenging, if not more so, than shutting down. Restrictions may have been relaxed in some areas, but the challenge to get everyone back to work in the original confined spaces of a pre-pandemic world involves solving many logistical and social obstacles. Rebooting the economy is essential, but so too is preventing further COVID-19 outbreaks.
Remote technology provides many of the answers for organizations looking for solutions in creating a productive workforce, while still recognizing the need for social distancing and keeping employees and their families safe.
Fortunately, the options are many, but the multitude of choices can make finding the right mix-and-match of software and hardware a challenging process. Here are some of the solutions available that we know will fit in with a variety of remote working scenarios.
One of the biggest challenges to developing a remote workforce is managing a team, especially if they are located all over the globe and work in different time-zones. Trello provides a birds-eye view of every time zone on the planet, as well as the ability to view only those zones where you have workers.
Each team member can be assigned a zone, so you know who is working, when, and where.
Slack has been around for a while now and has become a firm favorite for professionals to collaborate through a range of online mechanisms.
As an online communications portal, slack is fully featured and simplifies communication across offices, which can include remote workers stuck at home as well. Catch up with co-workers via text, or keep everyone up-to-date with voice and face-to-face video calls, all from the one interface.
When you need to share documents, but can't walk across the hall to the photocopier, you use Xtensio. This online documentation tool enables remote workers to collaborate on creative documents, even if they are on opposite sides of the globe, or separated by a few miles because of social restrictions.
An extensive library of pre-made templates makes setting up a lot easier than starting from scratch.
Hive is the tool that powers remote working teams at globe-spanning corporations like Google and Toyota. It can also be scaled to work with smaller groups who are keeping their distance. There isn't much Hive can't do; file sharing, meeting notes, email integration, projects, and action cards are all part of its feature set.
It's a virtual meeting place that effectively replaces the office conference room. Have someone take notes in California of a video conference happening in NYC, while the next phase of the project can then be assigned to someone in Texas.
Many organizations are keeping office staff numbers down by allowing some employees to work at home, while others can come into the office. TeamViewer's remote desktop access ensures workers have access to the same resources whether they are logging in remotely or sitting at their desk in the office.
Staff can also attend meetings and use TeamViewer's features to demonstrate the project's details to everyone else on the connection. A whiteboard and chat feature complete the virtual office.
While the transition to a remote workforce might seem intimidating at first, the reality is that the technology to collaborate and efficiently get work done at a distance has been with us for a while now.
While the pandemic has created a challenge for the global economy, the silver lining could be that many organizations are finding that a remote workforce may be a more profitable business model even after the crisis has passed.