Essential tools for remote work

Given the situation prompted by the pandemic, where health officials recommended social distancing measures as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies around the world started the transition from their traditional way of working to remote work. And while years ago, this was a mere option certain companies offered their employees, in 2020 it has become a way to survive for businesses across all sectors.

With the acceleration of the requirement for millions of people, technology has come to the rescue, allowing almost everyone, except for maybe essential workers, to get the same job done regardless of their location. No doubt working from home (or remotely) has become a popular trend because of the COVID pandemic, but it is definitely here to stay. That is why you must learn about the most used pieces of software, which can help companies keep their employees safe, while also seeing positive outcomes in terms of productivity and satisfaction levels.

Implementing the right tools for remote workers can be a game-changer for your business, and choosing the best solutions has never been easier since the software development market has grown a lot since the beginning of 2020. However, you must keep in mind that teams have become more agile, and their work requires more flexibility than ever before.

Designed to help with everything, from communication to project management, data sharing and workflow management, here are some of the most relevant categories of apps you must use to improve your remote working effectiveness.

Video conferencing tools

Probably the most popular tool that you need to have when working remotely is a video conferencing solution. This type of software, based on the RTC (real-time communication) technology, has made it easier for everyone, regardless of their field of activity, to replace traditional in-person interactions, be it on a professional or personal level, during the pandemic. Having the possibility to go virtual has been a real-life saver once authorities recommended limited face-to-face interactions, to prevent the spread of the virus.

Most meetings, company events, and even business networking events moved online. And since company culture is often built based on in-person interactions and activities, video conferencing tools were even used for team buildings or happy hour catch-ups. On a professional level, besides allowing team members to join from any device and location, video conferencing tools prevent miscommunication, increase engagement, providing a more personal approach as compared to business emails.

As a result, RTC software has been of crucial importance. Not only do the apps strengthen connections within people, but they also make business meetings more efficient. According to a recent study, the global market for video conferencing was worth $3.85 billion in 2019. By 2027, the value of video conferencing will grow at a rate of 9.9%, which is an opportunity both for software development companies and end users (businesses and individuals).

Project management tools

Productivity and project management tools are a “must” for companies whose employees work remotely, even though statistics show this new paradigm has led to an increase in productivity. Team leaders must not take this for granted and make sure they have everything under control, to prevent bottlenecks in project development.

Managers should be aware of the fact that working from home comes with a series of challenges and distractions. Of course, micro-management is never a good idea, but it is important to keep track of each team member’s activity, which is why project management tools are essential. They help you build a timeline for each project, set up and coordinate complex workflows, assign roles and tasks to each person, or even chat on certain topics.

Chat applications

Online chat apps have brought added value to collaborations standards in companies across all sectors. Often viewed as in-house emails, they facilitate the interaction between people working in the same company, teams, or projects. Internal communication has been streamlined once chat tools became popular, giving anyone quick access to information from colleagues, on topics that do not necessarily require the effort of a virtual or in-person meeting.

With employees working from home, these apps have come in quite handy. People can talk to each other in real-time, get the support they need from colleagues to proceed with their tasks, while also having the feeling that they are part of an entity and not solo workers. Besides employees working from home, chat apps are also a great choice for teams whose tasks involve field activities, such as salespeople or service support teams, whose job means visiting multiple locations in one day –they keep the teams connected and informed.

But chat apps are not ideal just for remote teams, they are essential in the office too, especially for larger companies. Imagine having to get up your desk, climb a few floors and reach a colleague from a different department, just to ask them a basic question! Internal chats will save you time and also prevent frequent interruptions that affect daily productivity.

File storage tools

When investing in the infrastructure able to support remote work, make sure you keep in mind that storage is probably the most critical area, so the tools you pick must live up to your company’s expectations.

It is important for employees to have access to the same data, have a place where they know they can find any information they need, and also be able to share it with colleagues, in a timely and secure manner. That is why security is the first test storage apps must pass, especially since cyber attacks on businesses have become more frequent since the pandemic started. Besides that, other relevant characteristics are speed, storage size, and flexibility – Cloud solutions seem to be the ideal choice.

Implementing a framework for remote workers and setting up a performing infrastructure to support the activity can be tough for organizations. However, there are tools that are easy to use and do not require software or hardware investments, so why not give them a try? Pick the solutions that allow you to subscribe for a free trial version, test for a while, then decide on the software that best suits your company’s needs.