Over the past several years, many companies have decided to implement work-from-home policies for their employees. These policies vary from company to company; Some allow their employees to work remotely certain days of the week, others, full weeks at a time. Now, with COVID-19 virus cases appearing nationwide, many employers have asked their employees to work from home for the next month, or longer, to prevent the spread of the virus.
Much like the common cold, evidence so far indicates that the novel coronavirus is spread in respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing; however, unlike the common cold, it can spread quickly, be present without symptoms for multiple days, and it’s new—meaning that no one has natural immunity to it. Employees may become infected with the COVID-19 virus without realizing it, continue coming into the office, and unknowingly infect other team members before being officially diagnosed with the virus. A busy workplace is coronavirus’s playground.
If protocols are already in place for employees to work remotely, it’s easy for a company to implement a work-from-home policy during the current pandemic. On the other hand, for companies whose employees have never worked remotely before, it can be a bit more difficult. How do you manage a remote team? How does everyone stay on the same page? How can employers even be sure that their employees are working, instead of sleeping in? Fortunately, there are a multitude of tools employers can use to manage remote employees.
It’s easy for emails to get lost in the shuffle, especially if they’re replacing in-person communication throughout the day. Multiple remote teams use Slack, a communication app that helps teams communicate about different projects, both in groups and one-on-one. Create different work channels for each project team, as well as larger channels for the whole office. This keeps all communications in an easy-to-access, organized thread. Better yet, Slack is searchable (so you can find the message you’re looking for without much hassle) and sends notifications to team members when they’re tagged in a message.
Slack’s FREE version allows multiple users to join the ‘workspace’, the ability to create multiple work channels and access to 10k searchable messages.
This project management tool is a great way to track remote team progress on big and small assignments. You can create different “projects” for each big goal your team is working toward, then create tasks within each project that you can assign to different team members, set deadlines for, mark with certain tags, and more. It’s also easy to upload files to any individual task or project, so all of your team’s work towards a certain goal can stay in the same place. These tasks and projects even have a comment section, so conversations about the files, project status, etc., can be streamlined. Asana helps teams to stay in the loop and on task, even when they’re working remotely.
Asana’s FREE version is perfect for small businesses. It allows up to 15 teammates to join a ‘workspace’, access to different project views (calendar, board or list), and the ability to assign tasks and set deadlines for each project or task created.
Google Drive Enterprise
Although Asana allows teams to share documents and files, it requires a lot of downloads and uploads, and teams can’t see changes in real time. Google Drive Enterprise, on the other hand, allows multiple team members to view (and edit) a document together in real time. It’s a secure cloud-based platform that’s compatible with more than 100 file types (including Microsoft Office), so there’s no need to worry about data breaches or incompatible files.
Drive Enterprise costs $9 per active user per month (with 25 GB per user), but there’s another pricing option that grants the team access to 1 TB of pooled storage for $12 per month. It all depends on what you need.
Curious how your team is spending their time while working from home? LogMyHours is the perfect tool for tracking employee’s hours during this time away from the office. One of its best features is access to a team page, which shows what the team is working on and how much time each team member is spending on it. Better yet, this tool has timesheet approval, so employees can submit their timesheet at the end of the week for review. Team members can include what project they were working on in the timesheet report, as well as a more detailed explanation of what they accomplished during their time working on it.
Although LogMyHours offers a free version for individuals, access to the team page and timesheet approval is only included in their Business plan ($10 per user / per month).
In need of face-to-face contact? Zoom is a great tool for video conferencing and screen-sharing, whether it’s a one-on-one conversation or a chat between the whole team. Think of it as a replacement for weekly meetings around the conference table with a projector screen. With Zoom, team members can share their screen with the flip of a switch (if approved, of course), and walk the team through the current state of a project in real time. Still not convinced? Team members can access the call through their computer, tablet, or cell phone, so the team can chat anytime, anywhere.
Zoom’s FREE version works well for even large teams: It allows the host account to invite up to 100 individuals to join a Zoom meeting (limited to 40 minutes), includes unlimited 1 to 1 meetings, and more.
INTELLIGENT VOICE/VIDEO IT SERVICES
What do you do when you’re away from the office, but customers are still calling your office number? VoIP services from IntelligentIT allows you to direct your office phone calls directly to a cell phone, so CEOs, employees and administrative assistants can continue managing business as usual. Better yet, IntelligentIT’s partnership with Cisco video conferencing gives you access to high quality video-conferencing that lets you share screens while simultaneously viewing the presenter, and gets rid of lagging headaches. With automatic Downspeeding and IPLR, you won’t have to worry about network interruptions in one-on-one and multi-line calls.
Working remotely to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right tools for remote team management and little learning curve, your team will be successfully working from home in no time. Interested in implementing a remote-work policy for your company?
These six tools are just a glimpse into the many productive work-from-home solutions that IntelligentIT can assist with. Contact IntelligentIT to learn more about which remote team management tools are best for you and how you can seamlessly make this change in your office!
Contact us today: info@intelligentIT.pro