Working from home is an appealing concept for some, but during the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020, many had no choice.
With access to the office limited, workforces had to adapt their practices to work remotely.
Many who assumed that doing their job remotely would be difficult or impossible, adapted more easily than expected. Businesses saw the benefits, too.
Away from the distractions of the office, employees were more productive, better focused, and self-motivated. The reduced travel also means a decrease in carbon emissions, good for the environment—not to mention PR!
Organizations saw an opportunity to reduce their overheads by decreasing their office space. A transition that was already in progress accelerated exponentially.
Are you one of the many who are adjusting to the process of remote working? Here are some of the solutions you can utilize to maximize productivity and reduce stress.
Frequently, decisions regarding tech options are made for you. You’ll use the same tools as your colleagues and clients, or the ones that are standard in your industry. However, you might be surprised at how many better tools you could find by spending some more time researching the tools that aren't predetermined.
Distractions can be an issue for remote workers. The laundry needs airing, the dishes need putting away, then an Amazon delivery arrives. Before you know it, it's lunchtime and you've done nothing more productive than make coffee. On the other hand, too, it can be easy to work long into the night if you're immersed in a project.
Managing your time and finances, setting goals, and prioritizing tasks from inception to completion with project management tools can be a godsend. Whether you're in management or a freelancer, you can also improve your workflow and productivity with business process management software.
Motivation is another obstacle for effective remote working. The best team management solutions enable managers to monitor the workflow and productivity of employees. They also allow for regular check-ins to boost morale and gauge wellbeing.
Whatever the size of your business, it can be challenging to keep track of correspondences and customer data. You can monitor your customer interactions across multiple channels with CRM tools. They help you automate your marketing, and provide tailored solutions that are more relevant to the needs of each customer.
The ability to collaborate on projects and documents is essential to most industries. Tools like Google Docs allow multiple users to create and edit documents in real-time. Adobe Acrobat is the standard tool in design and marketing, meanwhile. PDF files can be shared in the cloud where numerous users can comment, add notes, and highlight specific sections. Collaboration boosts efficiency and team cohesion.
A busy office environment can be inefficient. There are myriad distractions that can delay the simplest of tasks. Video conferencing is one of the key tools to improve efficiency for remote working.
You can speak to whoever you need to at the touch of a button, and interactions can be as long or short as required. Most platforms incorporate messaging and screen-sharing. Video conferencing equipment can improve functionality and quality.
Sometimes messaging is the quickest and easiest method of comms. You can send attachments, screenshots, and URLs in seconds.
Isolation can be one of the challenges presented by remote working. Messaging can function as a 'virtual watercooler', boosting morale with memes and friendly chat to keep in touch with colleagues. You may also wish to make free conference calls for coffee and a chat.
It's good to have separate accounts for work, and log out of your personal socials during office hours. This eliminates distractions that can be far too frequent.
As well as isolation, mental and physical health are huge concerns for those not in an office environment. Use a diary or calendar app to schedule regular meal times and exercise breaks.
Web design is no longer the monopoly of trained designers. Website builders such as Wix utilize drag-and-drop functionality to create sites that look professional and are easy to navigate.
Commerce and paywall functions can be added with ease. Most platforms offer templates for various purposes. You can easily make beautiful sites and confer with colleagues via screen sharing software to benefit from their specific expertise.
There are many services you can utilize to send promotional emails and newsletters, as well as internal messages. You can gather market research via surveys, and onboard customers via forms. Manage your databases and monitor analytics and open rates with user-friendly interfaces.
Remote working needn't necessarily mean working from home; it could be from the garden, the park, the library, or the coffee shop.
Therefore, it's useful to have a file sharing service installed across all your devices. You will then be able to access documents and share them with colleagues, whether you're on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Turn the whole world into your office space with a business phone app. Message and speak to colleagues and clients, and conduct meetings via conference call. Connect across multiple devices and record calls into videos or transcripts that you can refer to at a later date.
Record your thoughts and ideas wherever you are with digital note-taking services. Organize your notes into various folders, and label them with tags. Share notes and folders with colleagues, and enable editing or read-only.
Online writing services such as Grammarly and Hemingway, meanwhile, can tighten your wording and eliminate errors.
The above services can be used in conjunction. You might make a note in a note-taking service, then make a rough draft to edit with colleagues on Google Docs, which then becomes your next newsletter email. You can then track the clickthrough rates on an analytics or CRM platform.
All decisions relating to your tech stack will depend on your industry and your preferences. Most services offer free trials, so it's worth investing some time.
Research your options, then trial the two or three services which seem most appropriate. Frequently, there are considerations regarding plans and pricing structures. Again, it's worth doing some research to select the plan which is most beneficial to you.
Enjoy the journey of selecting your remote working tools. When they're all working efficiently together, don't forget to celebrate with colleagues and clients alike!
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.