Nothing since the advent of the personal computer has affected the business landscape quite as much as the introduction of a tiny virus in the last months of 2019. What started as a regional outbreak in the waning days of that year had blossomed into a full-fledged, worldwide health emergency by March 2020. Suddenly, the simple act of getting up and going to work in the morning could be hazardous if an employee brought the coronavirus with them into the workplace.
With incredible speed, hundreds of thousands of employers both here and abroad shifted a substantial portion of their workforce to remote work, allowing productivity to continue while workers stayed safely at home and isolated from the spreading contagion.
Now that the lockdowns, isolation orders, and mandatory social distancing measures have been relaxed and life has, to most appearances, returned to its normal, pre-COVID state, a considerable number of employees continue to work from home, relying on a home internet connection to keep in touch with the workplace.
Here are some software options companies with remote employees can use to maintain operational effectiveness without a physical presence.
Videoconferencing for Remote Work
If there’s one enduring image from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a computer screen displaying a team of coworkers, each securely tucked away in their home office, living room, or even a comfortable spot in the backyard, taking care of business while being miles apart.
Maybe more than any other technology, videoconferencing has allowed remote work to remain a viable option for many companies. Through online meetings, employees retain some of the interaction they had before they worked from home, and meetings keep some of the positive benefits of face-to-face communication.
There are hundreds of options for videoconferencing, but the two most popular since 2020 have been Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Both these two market leaders and the countless other competitors offer their unique advantages, but most offer at least these features:
- One-on-one and meeting-style conferences
- Text chat alongside the video meeting
- Screen sharing functionality
- The ability to record sessions for future reference
Regardless of which platform you choose, the experience is better when everyone on the line connects via a fast and reliable broadband connection, such as fiber.
Project Management for Remote Work
One of the benefits of in-person work that gets lost in a work-from-home environment is the ability for employees and managers to see first-hand the status of projects, to have quick and impromptu conversations about decisions and next steps, and to complete a hundred other small project management tasks that help shepherd work from point A to point Z.
With tools like Trello and Basecamp, managers and employees can keep track of where each project is and what tasks are still needed to complete a job. With dozens of different platforms, teams can choose one with the features they need without any unnecessary complications.
Some of the features found in typical project management platforms include:
- Setting and assigning specific tasks and deadlines
- Messaging and file-sharing options
- The ability to view Kanban, waterfall, and other visualizations of project status
- Automated reminders of upcoming or overdue tasks
Communication and Collaboration Tools for Remote Teams
Without the ability to pop into the next office for a chat, gather around a table for a brainstorming session, or throw ideas onto a whiteboard, collaboration on creative and other projects becomes more complicated in a work-from-home environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools for employees to connect on a less formal level and collaborate.
Slack is the market leader in this area, with strong competition from several other platforms. Some are geared more towards creative collaboration, some towards more technical teams, and others towards financial, professional, or other services. In almost all cases, these platforms include features like:
- Message and chat boards that can be designed for teamwork or casual conversation
- Shared document tools that allow multiple people to work on a document simultaneously
- Management tools that enable files to be proofed, versioned, and approved online
- Virtual whiteboard or similar functions that facilitate brainstorming and problem-solving sessions.
Employee Engagement Tools for Remote Work
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – and an unengaged employee. The camaraderie and off-topic conversations in any office or workplace may not directly contribute to productivity, but they help with employee engagement. And as research has shown dozens of times, engaged employees are effective employees.
While working from home does away with some of the impromptu interactions that make workplaces enjoyable, employees can find engagement with their colleagues through many different online platforms. There are far too many options like this to list here, but they include a huge variety of possibilities, including things like:
- Recognition and reward platforms that allow managers and employees to recognize and applaud outstanding work from their reports or their colleagues.
- Online game platforms such as trivia quizzes and word puzzles that allow employees to get some friendly competition and earn online rewards.
- Social platforms that serve as a “virtual water cooler,” where employees can gather, chat, and share content that may not be directly related to work.
- Online gatherings via videoconferencing or other technologies, where employees working from home can gather virtually for some off-the-clock relaxation.
Stay Productive With Lightning-Fast Fiber Internet From Public Service.
Your employer is counting on you to use these and other online tools effectively while working from home. That means you need the speed and reliability of Public Service’s fiber internet service. Call us today to get connected – 478-887-4267
Public Service has provided exceptional communications service to Middle and South Georgia since 1910. Public Service is in the 4th generation of family ownership and remains one of the oldest privately owned communication companies in the United States. Our mission is to bring the latest technology to rural and city customers, offering affordable prices and exceptional customer service.
Public Service offers service to customers in and around these South and Middle Georgia communities:
- Box Springs