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After COVID-19 made it mandatory for companies all over the world to send their employees home to work online, remote work became a major deal.
Yes, the rush to supply employees with all of the tools they'd need to work from home took many businesses off surprise. After everyone had settled in, many office-based teams quickly realized that employees could be just as productive and focused when they weren't in the office, if not more so. Remote employment has become a viable alternative for employers all around the world.
The facts of remote work show that it can lead to greater company outcomes and performance. Telecommuting has been demonstrated to boost productivity by allowing for more focused work and fewer distractions. It allows employees to have more control over their workspace and their time. It also allows for a better work-life balance and childcare arrangements by reducing the commute.
Workers are more engaged when they have that kind of flexibility, and that's what drives performance. Furthermore, when asked why remote workers are happier than on-site employees, 29% said it's because they're more productive and have less stress.
Many remote jobs provide flexible working hours, enabling individuals to start and finish their days whenever they like, as long as their work is done and delivers favorable outcomes. Having control over your work schedule may be really advantageous when it comes to conforming to the necessities of your personal life which helps you in achieving better work life balance. Dropping kids off at school, doing errands, attending an online fitness class in the morning, or working as a contractor from home are all duties that are easier to handle when you work from home.
One of the numerous benefits of telecommuting is that you have access to a broader range of employment alternatives that aren't limited by geography. This is particularly useful for job searchers in rural regions and small towns where local employment may be limited. Prior to the pandemic, entirely remote employees may travel and live as digital nomads while keeping a meaningful profession because to the lack of a set working location. Though a full-fledged nomad lifestyle is currently on hold until borders open up, it is still a tempting alternative.
People who move frequently, such as military spouses, can benefit from having a remote work that they can do from anywhere rather than having to start from the ground up with a new company. Furthermore, remote employment is a great way to get away from high-rent and high-mortgage areas, especially for vocations (like technology) that formerly required a high-cost-of-living metropolis. You no longer need to reside near a major metropolitan region to have a fulfilling profession.
The flexibility to set up a cozy home office is a huge benefit of remote work. Whether you just want a nicer ergonomic chair or have health issues that require specialized office equipment, you can set up your home office and make it anything you want.
Telecommuting typically results in fewer interruptions, less office politics, lower noise levels, and fewer (or more productive) meetings. When you consider that remote employees don't have to commute, they have more time and fewer distractions, resulting in increased productivity—a key benefit of working from home for both individuals and businesses. Remote work, when done right, allows people and organizations to concentrate on what matters most: outcomes. The workplace, however, can produce "false positives," resulting in prejudice and partiality. After all, while arriving early and leaving late may appear to be more work, actual performance predicts productivity significantly better.
When it comes to hiring talent, a company that hires remote staff can cast a wider net. They can hire someone from another city, or even another country, without having to persuade (or pay) them to relocate. When recruiting for a particular skill set, such as an information security analyst, this is a significant advantage. Hiring a remote employee allows you to select the best candidate regardless of their location.
You can also hire people who you might not have considered for a regular office job. Some people prefer to work from home because they are responsible for children or elderly relatives. They can manage these responsibilities by working from home, such as picking up their children from school or taking a relative to a medical appointment, while working a job.
(Click here for tips for hiring remote developers)
Employers are understandably concerned about the security risks posed by remote work. Giving an employee a laptop entails entrusting them with a significant amount of intellectual property. Employers want to make sure it's adequately secured. An employee, for example, may connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop. A hacker can simply gain access to a user's device and harvest data, whether it's trade secrets or sensitive customer data. Ensure that all technology provided to employees is equipped with appropriate endpoint protection, such as firewalls and virtual private network (VPN) software.
One issue that firms may overlook is their remote staff working excessively long hours. However, when the work day does not have the clear boundaries of arriving at an office every morning and leaving for home every night, burnout becomes a serious worry. The home is the office for remote workers. It's possible that their laptop is in their line of sight, encouraging them to log in and work when it would be healthier for them to relax.
These remote employees may be attempting to show that they aren't slackers, but working too much leads to burnout, which makes them less productive. Encourage your staff to set boundaries, disengage, and return refreshed and focused the next day.
Face-to-face encounters are tough to duplicate. Humans emit tiny indications in their tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions that you can only detect if you're near to them. Misunderstandings are more likely in the absence of certain cues. Furthermore, having personnel in different locations makes it difficult to foster a positive business culture and avoid organizational silos.
Working from home, especially for new employees, can make it difficult to get answers to queries or locate crucial information promptly. Employees are frequently frustrated by the length of time it takes to get simple questions answered. Consider an employee who wants to know where on the shared drive to save an important document. Rather than just asking their neighbor where the document is saved, they must message someone or browse the file structure themselves.
Technology is the answer to these issues. We can overcome the difficulties of remote working by utilizing the appropriate software tool. We've listed the types of software available for remote working, as well as the tools available in those categories, to help you discover the right software.
People working remotely, regardless of location, can benefit from remote working software. Communication and networking systems, such as video chat applications or messaging tools, cloud storage, task and project management systems, and remote team management apps, are all examples of remote working software. To support remote collaboration, it is critical that the remote working software provides a wide range of connectors with other applications and is simple to use for other team members. With effective remote working software, new employee onboarding should be a breeze.
Video conferencing: Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco webex
Collaboration: Slack, Google Hangouts, File Stage
Time management: Scoro, Active Collab, Time camp
Project management: Trello, Asana, Zoho Projects
Remote desktop: Any Desk, Remote PC, Chrome Remote Desktop
Cloud storage and document management: Rackware, OneDrive, DropBox
Note taking: Microsoft OneNote, Notion, WhiteBoard
VPN: Express VPN, Nord VPN
Without a doubt, video calls are critical to the success of distributed teams. Face-to-face communication is not only beneficial to keeping employees informed, but it is also necessary for successful employee retention. Regular video-on-demand conversations help to create the illusion of face-to-face interactions, so reducing the risk of isolation and loneliness.
Skype was one of the first and most popular video calling software on the market, and because it comes pre-installed on most Windows PCs, it's still the easiest option to make a call for most Windows users. By installing a browser plugin, you may make free group calls to up to 25 people and even allow individuals to join the call directly from the web.
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration solution with document sharing, online meetings, and a boatload of other useful features for businesses. What really sets Microsoft Teams apart is the new 'Together mode,' which is currently being rolled out. This feature allows teams to collaborate and work together even when they are working from home.
During a continuing pandemic, Zoom has quickly become a new choice of individuals for personal and business video chats. The technology allows users to make free video calls with up to 50 individuals for a total of 40 minutes. Paid users can join a video call with up to 500 people. Users can record full-length movies, chat while on a video call, share the screen, draw on a whiteboard, and book calls in advance using Zoom.
Because of its stability and security, Cisco Webex is an enterprise-grade video conferencing platform that is utilized by many top corporations and even governments throughout the world. You may also collaborate on a whiteboard and annotate on the screen with Webex. It can also be used for larger gatherings, with up to 3000 people being able to watch videos.
It's impossible to discuss remote working without considering communication and collaboration. Employees can't properly collaborate if they can't communicate with one another. If teams are working remotely, effective communication solutions with capabilities like instant messaging and video/voice chat can make it easier for them to interact.
Slack is a feature-rich team chat platform with a variety of customization possibilities. It enables teams to create unique workspaces and channels, schedule message reminders, track documents, and discover prior conversations easily. Its widespread use is due to its tight integration with third-party technologies.
Google Hangouts allows you to chat with other Google users or make voice/video calls. You can use Hangouts on the web or through its mobile apps. Hangouts may be accessed immediately from the bottom left corner of Gmail's home page.
Filestage helps managing the content review process as simple as possible for teams. Using the project management software and platform, internal and external stakeholders may simply submit in-context comments on videos, photographs, PDFs, and other materials. The program also generates to-do lists based on the comments, ensuring that no crucial input is missed by your team. Filestage allows you to review and approve files in real time, and other partners and clients can remark on them without having to register. Version control makes project management easier, because it's straightforward to see which stakeholders have signed off on a file.
Employees may measure the time they spend working, department bosses can monitor employees, and clients can be billed directly based on the total number of hours spent on the project using a time management application.
Scoro includes all of the time management features you'll need, including time tracking, billing, job reporting, and project and task management. Scoro combines time tracking, project management, and CRM, allowing you to manage all of your business activities in one location and boosting cooperation.
Time billing and project management are combined in ActiveCollab, making it easier to plan and track creative endeavors. This program also includes team collaboration and real-time communication functions. Active Collab promotes team collaboration while also making it more enjoyable. For easy customizing, each user can create a custom theme for their platform.
Time tracking is used by Timecamp to bill clients, measure project profitability, and pay staff at the end of the month. Timecamp makes it simple to compute money based on time worked in addition to billing clients.
For remote teams to streamline their impending work and duties while retaining transparency, they'll need a powerful project management solution. It cuts down on back-and-forth emails and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Trello is a popular online project management tool with built-in collaborative capabilities for teamwork. It's simple to put up, lightweight, and straightforward to operate. It creates and keeps track of tasks using boards, lists, and cards. Users may collaborate, share files, and leave comments on the cards.
Asana is a project management software as a service that allows people to collaborate on projects (SaaS). Workflows are useful for automating repetitive operations. With a choice of task displays and the option to add custom fields and forms, it's easy to use. You may also invite as many people as you like. Custom rules and approval procedures can also be created. While Asana has a lot to offer in terms of efficiency and collaboration, many of the fundamental project management features are handled through integrations, which may be inconvenient for certain users.
Zoho Projects is a popular Zoho tool that helps organizations manage projects, communicate, track issues, and create simple reports. The online project management program includes features such as Gantt charts and the ability to billable hours on many projects at the same time. Zoho Projects has a comprehensive set of communication tools, including real-time chat and discussion boards.
You can practically access your desktop from anywhere using a remote desktop tool, as long as you have an internet connection. This is especially useful for employees who use PCs at work and may need to access information outside of the workplace.
AnyDesk is a free remote access program that operates in portable mode by default, meaning you may install it on your laptop like any other program. It enables for unattended access as well as file transfers. The tool can adjust your connection automatically to provide the highest possible speed and video quality.
You may use Remote PC to manage and access several remote PCs in real time, as well as record sessions. You can transfer files, view all of the remote computer screens at the same time, and play music from afar. It can be viewed via the web, a desktop computer, or a mobile app.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a Google product that may be used on the web, iOS, and Android. While the program is simple to set up and use, the free edition offers limited functionality. Furthermore, you'll need a Chrome browser to utilize it, and the mobile app doesn't have all of the same features as the desktop version.
When selecting a cloud storage platform, look for one that is cost-effective, safe, and dependable. It should also adhere to all legal requirements while allowing employees to access critical company information from any device or location.
RackWare is a leading cloud management platform. It provides a hybrid cloud management platform that gives IT users from various businesses freedom. RackWare's two key features are mobility and elasticity. RackWare's architecture is specifically built to manage complex application workloads and automate motions. It is effective in lowering the cost of IT solutions as well as lowering cloud spending.
Microsoft's OneDrive allows users to upload and sync material online and view it from any location. Because of its close interaction with Office 365, OneDrive, like Google Drive, allows users to edit files online. It also allows you to view files offline, share files and folders with other users, scan documents, and sync offline PC folders to the cloud.
Dropbox was one of the first standalone cloud storage apps to hit the market, allowing users to share files and folders with ease. It has become a cult favorite due to its simple layout, extensive file sharing features, and collaboration opportunities. Dropbox also provides a Paper app that allows you to edit Word files without having to download anything, though you won't be able to edit any other file formats.
Note-taking tools can help remote employees remain on top of their work by recording key customer conversations or rapidly clipping an article from the web. These useful apps allow you to keep track of everything, including text messages, voice memos, and photos.
Microsoft OneNote is included in the Office 365 package and makes taking notes simple, especially if you're using a touch screen device and want to integrate handwritten text, typed information, and drawings in your notes. OneNote allows users to create many portions on a single note page, which may then be moved around. Although the PC version appears to be outdated, the mobile app is both user-friendly and powerful.
Notion is a relatively new method of taking notes, yet it has swiftly gained popularity. It features a customizable interface that lets you capture notes and make to-do lists, then organize them into lists, kanban boards, calendars, and tables. It supports a wide range of content formats and comes with a number of templates to help you get started with Notion.
Whiteboarding apps can let teams brainstorm ideas even while they are working from home by replacing actual whiteboards in meeting spaces. Choose a whiteboard software that allows you to draw with your free hand while also allowing you to add shapes, lines, and sticky notes in real time.
A virtual private network, or VPN, turns a public internet connection into a private network, offering you online privacy and anonymity. A VPN hides your internet protocol (IP) address, making your online actions almost untraceable. VPN services, in particular, allow private and encrypted connections, which give more anonymity than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Express VPN is a user-friendly, lightning-fast, and highly secure virtual private network (VPN) that can be set up on any device, including Macs, Android devices, iOS devices, Windows devices, and routers. It has advanced capabilities that allow you to view in HD or download everything you want with no restrictions and no retention logs, all while maintaining security.
Consider NordVPN to be a high-end jack-of-all-trades VPN. It does everything well, and while some competitors may perform better in some areas, if you want everything done properly – and, above all, a constant service – NordVPN will not let you down.
Create a policy for
for each remote team member's role.
Each assignment you assign to an employee should include a set of milestones.
To keep track of work and generate visibility, use task or project management software.
Keep track of how much time your employees spend at work.
Calculate the time it will take to accomplish each activity.
Companies may wish to allow more remote work even after stay-at-home directives are revoked to save on office costs and overhead. When employees work remotely, they can achieve the same, if not higher, levels of productivity, and many people associate this benefit with job happiness.
Companies must set policies and processes to provide guidance to employees in order for a remote work program to be successful in the long run. They'll have to think about what it means to be a remote worker and how to effectively manage from afar. Learn how to communicate and the tools you'll need to work effectively and stay productive. This type of planning will enable you to continue working remotely in the aftermath of a pandemic.
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