Work in the Time of Corona. 7 Tools to Make Working From Home Efficient
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak has led to companies around the world asking employees to work from home. Professionals, who had never worked from home earlier have also moved on to working from their self-quarantined homes as work can’t stop. Undoubtedly, social distancing curtails the pandemic, however, not having the right tools can lead to loss of productivity, miscommunication, and lower business output.
Here is a list of some of the best tools that is helping people around the world to stay productive and work as a team while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zoom for Video Conferencing
Zoom was already a popular tool before the Corona outbreak, being a leader in 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions. Not surprisingly, it has now emerged as the go-to tool for WFH teams, educationists, governments and healthcare services. Effective communication is more than just hearing voices and following the presentation slides. Zoom checks all those boxes and provides an easy interface to have the team meetings and board room discussions. Zoom’s video chat application allows big team meetings that include lots of remote workers. The Pro, Business and Enterprise versions of Zoom can support large meetings with up to 500 participants.
Slack for Real-Time Communication
Employees send and receive close to a hundred emails daily; which can lead to lost communication. Slack is a widely used collaboration tool that reduces the number of internal emails in a company. Staff can direct-message team members or smaller groups. Employees can also set up channels by subject matter like tech, marketing, sales, or around departments, projects, employee fan clubs, etc. Channels ensure that only the relevant people see the message. Team members who do not need to be involved full time can still drop in the channel to see its status. Slack also integrates with Google Docs and DropBox. The bottom line is, Slack improves productivity even during normal circumstances and is now working brilliantly during the COVID-19 induced social distancing.
Trello for Project Management
Trello is a great tool for effective project management and has now become very popular since the COVID-19 outbreak. It is built around the concept of bulletin boards each of which represents a project. Managers can view a Trello board and get status updates and due dates on projects.
Various columns in the tool ease the project management process. Projects that are in the pipeline go under the ‘unassigned’ column; when a team is assigned to the project, it is moved to ‘assigned.’ Once the project team starts working, it goes under ‘drafting’ columns. After the completion of the project, it is moved out of the remaining three steps.
Each board allows teams to create lists, which they then populate with cards. These cards are then assigned to specific team members, labeled, given a deadline, and comments or attachments are added.
Basecamp for Project Management
In this time of coronavirus, professionals are also using Basecamp for project management which has some unique features. To record minute of the meetings, Basecamp has message boards. This comes handy for employees who need to step in and get things moving quickly. Additionally, the chat feature makes it easy for anyone to ask questions and get instant feedback.
Basecamp has an automatic check-in to keep project managers abreast of the latest in the project. The ‘To-do lists’ feature makes it clear who is responsible for what role and the responsibilities around it. All the team members access files from one place. File storage location also acts as a backup disk.
The central schedule keeps employees up to date on major milestones, vacation schedules, and any other upcoming events that impact the project deliverables.
Google Apps for Document Management
Remote working during CVOID-19 means access to your company LAN may not always be possible and that can impact document management. Google Drive offers unlimited storage of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and PDFs. Google online suite is a place where employees create, share, access, evaluate, edit, and provide feedback. With Goggle Drive, sharing and co-working between remote workers can be done in real-time. Employees just copy and paste a link and send it around on emails or chats, and everyone in the team can view it without downloading anything. Additionally, everyone can work on the same document online simultaneously. The best part is that everything is backed up. If a team member’s computer crashes, everything will still be saved on Google Drive. With Google Docs every employee can access the most recent version as well as the past versions online anytime anywhere.
Taggbox for Connectivity
Work from home creates chaos and complexity in communications. With everyone working remotely, it can be a cumbersome and time-consuming task to collect and curate all the necessary employee-generated content from various internal communication tools like the Workplace, Yammer, Slack, etc. Taggbox makes it a simple task to embed all this data on a website or display on independent digital screens like mobiles, laptops, Home Tv, etc. with just a URL for people working from home.
Employees can aggregate their communication content from Team groups, task ID’s, projects, knowledge-sharing from varied platforms into a feed via Taggbox. They can also share the live feed with their superiors, management, team leaders, and team members; which is all very important due to the uncertainty around COVID-19.
Teamviewer for Screen Sharing
File transfer, clipboard transfer, wake-on-LAN, and easy setup make Teamviewer a great option for screen sharing among professionals who need basic desktop access during the WFH imposed on account of coronavirus outbreak . To access Teamviewer, no port forwarding is necessary, and very little firewall futzing is required. The tool also supports two-step authentication. Team viewer also allows users to provide remote access to the system to another user. Users can organize, manage, and store the screen sharing sessions.
These are some of the best tools that are helping employees manage work from home without hampering their team’s productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Technology is playing a huge role in helping governments,
organizations and the common man around the world fight the current coronavirus pandemic. Who knows, maybe WFH might even become a norm after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, thanks to the tools technology is bringing us.Until then, find the tools most suitable for you and your team and get started. Stay Home, Stay Safe.