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Companies had little time to shift from in-office work to remote work at the pandemic's start. Those that couldn't swiftly make the change shut down, some temporarily and others permanently. Organizations that implemented the right software and collaborative solutions adapted effectively. These tools remain an integral part of what makes the remote model possible.
When adequately equipped, remote work doesn't have to be an obstacle. Companies can set employees up with useful applications for virtual messaging, video calls, link sharing, and real-time document collaboration.
Let's dive into the top remote work tools employers are using.
Before determining which software to invest in, companies must choose the best-suited hardware. Physical assets such as laptops, monitors, mouses, and keyboards make working from home possible. A successful remote work model begins with selecting the right laptop.
Rather than joining the Apple versus Windows argument, we will analyze a top choice for both options. According to Forbes, the MacBook Pro and Lenovo ThinkPad are ranked among the top computers for remote work.
The MacBook Pro is a popular Apple product, with over 20 million units sold in 2020, the year of the pandemic. But what makes it so desired? It's simple; employees love the laptop's productivity. MacBook Pro's operating system has many application integration options, including Microsoft Office 365, Slack, and Google Docs.
MacBook Pros are especially great for engineers and content creators. Developers can efficiently run the Microsoft and Adobe applications they need to tackle their projects. And creatives get an all-in-one computer display, processor, graphics, storage, and memory. These laptops are very popular with marketing and communication teams.
On the other end, many companies favor the Lenovo ThinkPad. During the second quarter of 2020, when employers initially switched to remote work, the Lenovo ThinkPad had record-breaking sales. Those sales continued to grow more in the fourth quarter that year, solidifying employers' preference for the laptop.
The Lenovo ThinkPad offers uncompromised performance combined with innovation and style. The PC, similar to a MacBook Pro, is excellent for productivity and durability. The ThinkPad has reliable security to safeguard your data and privacy without hurting functionality.
Connecting with colleagues looks different today than pre-pandemic. With some employees in-office, and others hybrid or remote, employers require a communication method that offers virtual messaging and video calls. Particularly, collaboration software helps when managing a remote team.
Slack replaces email with something quicker and more organized. Companies download Slack because it allows for direct messages and different channels, giving separate teams a space to stay in sync, no matter their location. Think of Slack as a modern-day – upgraded – AIM (AOL instant messenger), but for the workplace. Messages get immediately sent, which is beneficial when confronting a project deadline.
Microsoft Teams is also a messaging software, but it's known for its impressive video conferencing. Slack even has the option to install MS Teams as a third-party calling app. Users can host video calls in MS Teams with up to 250 members. Additionally, members can share screens and record calls. Employees without access to their laptops can conveniently join a meeting – on the go – using their mobile device or tablet.
Real-time document collaboration is now as possible with remote workers as in the office. Link sharing tools keep everything in one place, allowing multiple employees to work together on a project simultaneously.
Microsoft OneDrive allows employees to store, share, protect, and collaborate on files from multiple devices and locations. It's a private cloud storage application that enables remote teams to access and partner on projects without delay. Members can edit and comment on files, tag teaming a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation as co-authors.
Box, much like OneDrive, simplifies the employee work experience. On top of offering seamless collaboration through link sharing, Box is reputable for its advanced security controls and integrated e-signatures. Perfect for the remote model, this bridges the gap between teams and customers to partners and vendors. As a result, your sensitive files – including sale contracts, offer letters, and vendor agreements – will be protected, and getting signatures is simpler than ever.
Streamlining communication and collaboration are not the only key components to managing a remote team. The work-from-home model also requires management to administer project workflows.
Basecamp is an organized way to manage projects, preventing tasks from slipping through the cracks. In Basecamp, you can see what everyone's working on and what stage they are in the process. The project management tool gives managers the big picture and the nitty gritty, requiring fewer meetings with their team.
Wrike is another excellent option for overseeing and coordinating internal projects. The remote work software is notable for helping employees deliver projects on time. It creates a timeline for each project, showcasing how tasks depend on one another, providing employees transparency, and improving workflows.
While remote work is widespread, hybrid work accounts for 53% of the workforce. The workplace is not the same as we left it in 2020. Employers are offering more flexible work arrangements, allowing employees to work remotely, in the office, or split their time between both.
To bridge the gap between in-office and remote workers, companies are using these tips to leverage remote work software:
Community chat. Create an open chat – through Slack or MS Teams – for both in-office and remote employees. Encourage the conversation to include both personal and professional content. Since coworkers are less likely to grab lunch together, this helps coworkers maintain and build relationships in a new way.
Calendar transparency. Shared calendars help teams be open about their schedule. The transparency gives insight into in-office and remote employees' availability. Microsoft Outlook and Teams offer this feature, encouraging coworkers to schedule time together when they are mutually available. The tool also gives employees a better understanding of one another's workloads, promoting a culture of respect.
Schedule virtual get-togethers. Happy Hour Fridays became very popular for remote workers amid the pandemic. While meeting weekly may not be feasible with workers' diverse schedules, reoccurring get-togethers – via Slack or MS Teams – are still beneficial. A time set aside to discuss employees' personal lives, not work. Not only does this bring teams together, but it discourages employee burnout.
Quarterly in-person meetings. Organizations should encourage departments to get together – in person – quarterly. While this will involve travel expenses, the payoff is worth it. Many employees have only met their coworkers virtually. iOffice + SpaceIQ software helps creates events by booking conference rooms, placing food orders, and inviting guests with just a few clicks of the button.
Managing a remote or hybrid team doesn’t have to be a challenge. iOffice + SpaceIQ solutions integrate with sought-after remote work software. Plan and educate your team on how these tools can streamline team communication, collaboration, and organization.
Lead remote and hybrid employees without sacrificing company culture and employee partnerships.
News, tips, and product updates.
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