The global COVID-19 crisis has transformed work for millions of Americans, forcing businesses to lock up their offices and adopt a remote structure.
And this may become the norm after social distancing ends and companies are allowed to work on-site again. A survey by Gartner found that 74 percent of CFOs and business leaders believe at least 5 percent of their employees will work from home on a permanent basis.
Fortunately, the proliferation of online tools enables workforces to stay connected to management, customers, and each other across the globe. Teams have had months to acclimate to them, and some will come to rely on them in the long run.
With this in mind, here are the 7 ways to adjust your workplace to a post-COVID-19 world and some tools that can help you achieve them:
1. Remote Collaboration
For remote collaboration, you might not need anything more than Quire. As a complete solution, Quire allows businesses to visualize workflows with user-friendly kanban boards, break large-scale projects down into manageable steps with nested lists, and share projects with clients via simple invitation links.
Quire includes an instant messaging feature for teams to discuss projects in real-time, and sort tasks via numerous filters (priority, assignee, etc.). Another strong element is the Quire API, which lets users create scripts and integrate preferred apps with Quire. Files may be uploaded from Google Drive for fast sharing.
2. Cloud-based Phone System
Zoom is nice, but it doesn’t actually replace the office phone system. When workers are doing their job from home, however, they still need the office phone. Hence Nextiva. This cloud-based phone system brings teams together no matter where they are, from almost any device.
Nextiva is compatible with smartphones, laptops, tablets, and office phones for maximum convenience. This flexibility is a major benefit when employees have limited quiet spaces in which to chat with colleagues or customers at home.
With Nextiva, businesses can set up an Auto Attendant for call routing, Virtual Voicemail, and can connect the phone system to their CRM for detailed caller ID. Transport Layer Security (TLS) can be used to encrypt all communications, for privacy of the highest standard.
3. Virtual Task Management
As a task management tool, MeisterTask is designed to help teams keep track of tasks from creation and assignment to completion. Its Kanban-style boards offer simple drag-and-drop functionality to organize tasks quickly and visually, and MeisterTask’s apps (Android and iOS) allow for task management on the move.
MeisterTask can be tailored to suit diverse business needs, incorporating features built for enterprise usage (automations, time tracking, etc.). The interface is streamlined and clutter-free, with extensive customization options. Statistics and reports offer detailed insights into team productivity, to identify improvement opportunities. MeisterTask is easy to use, an advantage when trying to onboard and get to work with an entire team of new users.
4. Managing a Global Team
One of the more complicated aspects of remote work is managing different time zones. Companies that depend on freelancers for creative work, for example, may hire people from all over the world. Scheduling meetings and deadlines can be a nightmare without a proper time management tool like World Time Buddy.
World Time Buddy includes a wealth of features, allowing teams to integrate it with Google Calendar to find available slots, create and share events, group locations into custom categories, activate daylight saving time warnings, and view times in different formats.
World Time Buddy has garnered praise from The Atlantic, TNW, and other respected publications. A free mobile app is available, with an optional paid upgrade.
5. Adopt Cloud-based Technology to Work Together
Forget Microsoft Word. For writing and editing documents, Google Docs (part of Google Drive) is a fantastic tool. It features plenty of formatting and presentation options to align documents with branding or house styles.
No downloads are required, and multiple employees can edit or comment on documents at the same time for simple collaboration. All changes are saved online automatically to avoid losing hours of hard work, and previous versions can be restored if required.
Google Docs works with different file types (.docx., pdf, .rtf, .html, and more) and sharing files with others is simple. Businesses of all sizes can leverage Google Docs for composing blog posts, pitches, reports, contracts, and any other type of document as they would on-site.
6. Secure Password Management
Dashlane is a password management tool designed to help businesses keep their passwords secure and accessible. It eliminates the need for employees to store passwords locally or in a vulnerable cloud-based spreadsheet.
With teams reliant on multiple tools while working remotely, keeping track of different passwords can be time-consuming and impact productivity: around 11 hours is lost each year due to resetting passwords.
Dashlane saves passwords and logins as users browse, with capacity to store an unlimited amount for universal access. Data syncs across devices, yet Dashlane takes security and privacy seriously: the tool is created so that Dashlane’s team is unable to see information stored within it. This keeps data as private and secure as possible.
Managers also will love that they can share passwords for online services without actually having to give away the password; Dashlane enables password sharing without actually having to share the passwords themselves.
7. Rewarding Employees
Businesses still need to recognize and reward employees even if they are working remotely. Enter Vantage Circle.
Research shows that productivity can increase by up to 13 percent when workers are happy, and Vantage Circle is designed to help boost employee satisfaction. But with so many companies working remotely, it’s harder for leaders to monitor employee satisfaction and issues with morale.
Fortunately, managers can use Vantage Circle to recognize employees’ work and achievements remotely, to inspire them to meet (or exceed) the same standards in the future. Employees have access to discounts on products from many top brands, offering incentives suited to personal interests.
It’s a white-label platform so businesses can customize it to reflect branding, and Vantage Pulse allows businesses to gather valuable feedback from employees. This enables leaders to gauge workforce satisfaction and discover ways to improve workers’ experience.
Each of these seven tools can help businesses adjust to remote work in a post-COVID-19 world. From small enterprises to medium-sized companies, this selection empowers all teams to stay connected, on target, and productive.
Together, they could help to make offices (and the overheads that come with them) a thing of the past for some businesses long after this pandemic ends.