With about 20% of people around the world in some sort of lock-down, remote working is the new normal for most. One of the biggest issues people find when working from home is maintaining company culture, and strong co-worker relationships.
There is a lot of research out there educating people on how to stay productive and efficient when working from home, but how do you ensure company culture and relationships are not sacrificed?
In this article I've summarised some of the best tools that, not only help with remote working efficiency, but also help maintain relationships, and company culture from outside the office.
Unsurprising to most, Zoom is one of our most recommended tools to aid remote working. Zoom is a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat and webinars and can be used across a range of devices. Zoom helps you maintain a collaborative team culture by hosting meetings with multiple people. The best part about Zoom is that it’s super easy to use, meaning that you won’t have to waste significant time teaching each employee how it works. Another bonus of Zoom is that it is free to use! You can try Zoom out for free under their Basic Plan, and if you like it move into a plan more suited to your business. Zoom has also launched a support page for the COVID-19 pandemic with a range of resources on how to optimise the platform and remote working!
However, It is important to note that Zoom has gained media attention lately due to security concerns. This article provides a summary of all the issues of Zoom to note.
Slack is an instant messaging and collaboration platform.
Slack is awesome for when you need quick responses where an email is not necessary. A great feature of slack is the ability to differentiate channels. For example, you can create channels for the marketing team, where only relevant employees have access.
Additionally, users have the ability to mute chats when they do not want to be disturbed and “pin posts” which involves selecting important messages so that they are not lost in the chat.
Houseparty is a viral social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Houseparty’s popularity has surged during the coronavirus outbreak with reports that downloads increased by 2,000%! Houseparty is a really great way of creating an informal setting for employees to catch-up. Think of Houseparty as a virtual place to have your Friday afternoon staff drinks or Tuesday quiz night. With the ability to play games, chat, and video call, Houseparty is a great app to help you stay connected with your coworkers.
You may have heard concerns surrounding Houseparty's security over the last few weeks. Apparently, we shouldn't be too concerned as official reports suggest the security issues are unsubstantiated. The founder of Houseparty himself is offering one million dollars to anyone that has evidence of a smear campaign!
Working from home can often blur the line between work and ordinary life. When you don’t have structured time off it’s a lot easier to find yourself forgetting to take the time to properly switch off and relax. Take a break please is an app for your computer that encourages you to take a break. When a scheduled break begins, the app dims your screen and prompts you to take a short break to stand up, stretch, take a walk, or get yourself a coffee.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organises business projects into boards. Trello is great to use if you’re a visual planner, think of it as a virtual corkboard. Trello lets you make lists and tasks and shows you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and what stage each task is at. You can assign tasks, deadlines and projects to individual members of the team, keeping everyone accountable, plus you can upload files from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box.
Last but not least, Vxt. Working remotely means more video meetings and just as many opportunities to miss important phone calls. Vxt helps you manage your missed calls by converting your voicemail to text, forwarding them to email, detecting urgent messages and more. Vxt gives you the opportunity to respond to customers and co-workers faster. Full disclosure, this one was made by our awesome team here in Christchurch. We’re especially aware of how important it is to save time to chill out in the current climate where we’re constantly bombarded with dreadful news and Vxt can help with that.
With so many organisations being introduced to remote work without the opportunity to prepare and practice these tools will help your team stay efficient and connected while working separately.