As countries go into lockdown, teams are switching to remote working. For many teams, this will be an unfamiliar experience. They will need to adopt new remote working processes & software applications.
Many businesses will be experiencing diminishing sales and an uncertain future. They will need cost-effective remote working apps that are easy to use. This will help them maintain employee engagement and stay connected to their customers. Using remote software tools, companies can conduct meetings, conferences, and daily team activities.
There are many remote working tools available. So, we’ve chosen solutions that are easy to use, fun and budget-friendly. We review Video Conferencing, Task Management, Collaboration, Cloud Storage, CRM, and HR Software.
Video Conferencing Softwares
Video conferencing software facilitates you to meet online with audio and video conferencing capability. Video conferencing services usually offer more than just face-to-face interactions. Many video conferencing services let users share their screens, remotely access one another’s desktops, chat via text, exchange files, communicate via digital whiteboards, and even broadcast conferences to large groups of viewers. It’s important to make a list of the key features your business and team requires and then select the video conferencing software that is easiest to adopt, is scalable and sustainable from a budget perspective.
Zoom is a cloud-based service that offers meetings and webinars and provides content sharing and video conferencing features. You do not need a Zoom account to attend a Zoom meeting, only the host is required to have an account to enable the scheduling of meetings. Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or annotate on one another’s screens, all with one easy-to-use platform.
Skype is a well-established telecommunications application that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets & mobile devices over the Internet. You are also able to make a conference call for up to 25 people. Skype also provides instant messaging services, users may transmit text, video, audio and images to each other.
Google Hangouts is a unified communications service that enables text, voice, or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts is built into Google+, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Voice, plus there are Hangouts apps for iOS, Android, and the web. Your business will require a subscription of Google G-Suite services to access Google Hangouts. With Google G-Suite you’ll also be able to migrate your emails onto Gmail using your company’s domain.
2. Task Management Softwares
Task management is more than just creating and managing a to-do list. It’s an organized system for identifying, monitoring and managing the work you and your team do. Task Management Software helps with the estimation and scheduling, track dependencies, resources and milestones related to tasks and helps you make decisions when changes in priority are needed.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your tasks into projects and boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. Trello also provides a way to seamlessly share information across teams and make remote collaboration easier and even fun.
Quickly capture and retrieve your lists and tasks across devices to help you stay organized at work, home, or on the go. Microsoft To-Do is very simple to use and adopt. You can break tasks down into simple steps, add due dates, and set reminders to keep you on track. Also, tasks can be grouped into Folder for different business processes.
Asana allows colleagues within an organization’s workspace to track and manage the progress of projects. Teams of users can add tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates for completion, comment and share relevant documents. Notifications on the status of tasks and approaching deadlines are sent to a user’s inbox. Asana is very versatile and complex business processes and team arrangements can be mapped out for an optimized collaboration.
3. Collaboration Softwares
Collaboration software helps individuals work together on projects or joint tasks using a shared platform. In comparison to Task Management apps, it focuses primarily on real-time messaging to facilitate communication and allows users to share their ideas and comments in addition to files, recordings, and even videos so that everyone stays on the same page. It differs from video conference software as it’s designed to be used throughout the working day to facilitate team members to work together in real-time, primarily via messaging to carry out business tasks and projects.
Slack is essentially a chat room for your whole company, designed to replace email as your primary method of communication and sharing. It’s designed to support the way people naturally work together, so you can collaborate with people online as modeling face-to-face interactions. Its workspaces allow you to organize communications by channels for group discussions and allow for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place. It’s very easy to set up, with a low learning curve and is fun to use, especially in remote working environments.
Microsoft Teams facilitates real-time collaboration and allows people to come together to have casual conversations and create work plans. Microsoft Teams is a cross-platform app, available for desktop and mobile, for Android, iOS and Windows Phone that integrates Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It allows conversations to be separated into various channels and across teams. There can be both open group chats and direct messages, and Microsoft Teams supports the use of memes, GIFs, and emoji.
RocketChat is a free, open-source platform that lets you tailor its look and feel to your own requirements. This software also has useful features like real-time translation, live chat client, and E2E encryption, making it a Slack alternative that’s definitely worth a look. RocketChat is an open-source team chat that gives organizations the freedom to control and centralize their communication. The look and feel are fully customizable making it a more advanced alternative to Slack and Microsoft Teams.
4. Cloud Storage Softwares
Cloud Storage software provides a unified storage area accessible from any Internet-enabled device or location for keeping, syncing, and retrieving corporate files and objects. By maintaining your own documents and media files in the cloud, you can reap the same advantages of anywhere-access and sharing. Productivity gains and reduced local storage requirements are additional benefits.
Dropbox is a major player of the free cloud storage world, with a web interface that remains streamlined and easy-to-use. There’s a great collaborative working tool called Dropbox Paper that acts as a group workspace, and if you install the desktop app you can back up photos automatically. The File Requests feature also allows you to request another user to upload a file to your Dropbox account. Additionally, a feature called Dropbox Rewind lets you restore folders or your entire account to a specific point in time.
Google Drive enables you to store and synchronize your files for easy backup and access from multiple devices, such as your desktop computer, your smart-phone, and your tablet. You can also use Google Drive to collaborate with others, sharing documents and allowing others to edit them in real-time. Anyone can sign up for the free cloud storage, even if they don’t have a Gmail address, by creating a new Google account. With 15GB of space for new users, Google Drive is one of the more generous cloud offerings.
Save your files in OneDrive folders and you’ll be able to get to them from any PC, tablet, or phone. OneDrive is bundled free with Microsoft Windows so all you have to do is set it up. There’s neat integration with Outlook.com and it’s also integrated with non-Microsoft services. OneDrive also ties in nicely with Windows 10, and there is a selection of reasonable mobile apps to facilitate access on the move. You can create and work together on Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents using OneDrive.
5. CRM Softwares
Customer Relationship Management software gathers information from different parts of the company to give one, holistic view of each customer in real-time. This allows customer-facing employees for example in sales, marketing, and customer support to make quick and informed decisions on everything from up-selling, to improving the quality of customer communication, to directing the management of sales and marketing campaigns. This ability is now crucial given most businesses will be struggling to maintain their face to face customer interactions.
Insightly is a CRM focused on helping businesses build stronger customer relationships and deliver projects in a timely fashion. It provides native integration to Gmail, Office 365, MailChimp, and other popular applications. Businesses use Insightly to manage contacts at every stage of the sales process, track customer relationships, monitor their sales pipeline, and much more.
Zoho CRM offers a wide assortment of capabilities to help organizations improve their business functions. Core highlights include sales automation, marketing automation, pipeline management, multichannel management, and artificial intelligence. Zoho CRM can integrate with many additional business modules as part of the wider Zoho ERP system.
HubSpot is a free CRM solution with sales and leads nurturing abilities. Users can store as many as 1 million contacts and companies, and access to HubSpot is free forever. Features include contact management, email tracking, reporting dashboards, Facebook & Instagram leads, integration with Gmail & Outlook.
6. HR Softwares
Most modern businesses use Human Resources (HR) software to assist with managing employees. HR software simplifies and enhances human resources management in the current ever-evolving landscape. By selecting an up to date HR software solution that works well with your business operations, your company can best manage its talent, keeping employees happy and drive productivity. This has now become critical where employees will have a lack of contacts with management and will be working remotely.
Zoho People is a cloud-based, integrated human resources information system (HRIS) solution for businesses of any size. It enables users to manage employee attendance, time off, and timesheets from a centralized platform. The employee portal allows employees to apply for leave, track time, create timesheets, and collaborate with peers.
Breathe HR enables businesses to centralize everything to do with HR in a single, secure platform that automates all of the HR processes saving time and money. Key features include holiday booking, absence reporting, employee data, and document management, performance, training, and expenses.
BambooHR offers a built-in applicant tracking system and recruitment software, plus customized onboarding for new employees. You can gain quick, custom and precise HR insights with HR Reporting, track time off efficiently and even electronic signatures so that you can avoid the tedious task of getting paperwork signed and keeping paper copies. This will now be a value-add feature with remote working.
To sum up, it is important in these unprecedented times, with the new norm of remote working, that companies adopt a remote working model fast. They must leverage the above-mentioned technologies so that they can maintain the desired level of customer service, business operation, and employee engagement.
About the Author
Sohail Al Qureshi is the Co-founder at upskillable based in London, United Kingdom. upskillable provides a platform that assists companies to gain people insights into their current employees, retention strategy and new hires. Using upskillable companies can remotely screen candidates and determine their job fit per role, based on skills, cognitive and personality data.