5 minute read |

5 Tools to Help Your Employees Work from Home

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Business VoIP Solutions

According to Stanford research, a staggering 42 percent of the United States labor force are now working from home full-time. Nowadays, most businesses are currently assessing remote working arrangements to create a more resilient business operation. Simultaneously, many are also considering how to manage hybrid and more complex operations effectively.

However, the drastic shift to work from home does not come without any challenges. For starters, working from home can mean more distractions, more social isolation, and fewer ways to interact face-to-face with fellow employees. Fortunately, there is no shortage of tools employees can use to ensure working from home is seamless and straightforward.

For instance, worksheet templates are considered powerful tools that can help make working from home quick and easy. Another tool that has made life easy for those who are working from home is VoIP or Voice-over-internet protocol. VoIP technology has also been known to make remote work management more effortless than ever before.

Below are five of the essential work from home tools every employee should never be without:

1. Tools for Collaboration, Organization, and File-Sharing

Organizing things is one of the most critical challenges remote employees face. That said, finding tools that make organization, collaboration, and file-sharing is vital. One of the best ways to promote collaboration and combat disorganization is to house documents in one ecosystem.

Dropbox is considered one of the pioneers in syncing and cloud-based storage. Google Drive has become wildly popular thanks to its desktop-to-desktop file syncing, overall file compatibility, and free storage.

As part of the Office 35 suite, Microsoft also offers OneDrive, which allows users to access files from any device. It also makes collaboration with colleagues in any of the Office apps possible.

2. Tools for Project Management

While many organizations have been using project management tools before remote work became popular, it is considered crucial to help remote workers stay on top of their tasks. One useful project management tool many people swear by is Trello.

Trello helps remote workers easily visualize their tasks through cards, columns, and digital boards. You can also load Trello cards with data, including hyperlinks and graphics. A card can be assigned to a specific member of the team with a deadline attached.

Other powerful project management platforms that are also considered great options include ClickUp and Asana.

3. Tools for Project and Team-Based Communication

While employees can no longer walk over to their teammates’ desk to ask for help or get some insights, it is reassuring to know there are various tools that allow instant messaging services that bypass the deluge of daily emails. Instant messaging is considered essential, especially for real-time communication.

One popular communication platform that’s channel-based is Slack. Once users become familiar with Slack’s organizational features and intuitive interface, they will find it to be a valuable replacement for ineffective emails. Slack also allows sharing of files, alert customization, and pulling up of full channel histories.

Slack also makes it possible for users to create workflows. Aside from Slack, other platforms that offer seamless integrations across collaborative suites include Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts.

4. Tools for Meetings

Whether you want to have a conference call with attendees from different corners of the world or you want to reach out to on-the-go employees, a VoIP service can be your all-in-one solution. A cloud VoIP solution offers many features (instant messaging, video conferencing, mobile applications, etc.) without purchasing different tools.

There are also other remote hosting platforms you can look into. If anything, it all comes down to preference. However, the main idea is to ensure your chosen remote meeting tool is accessible across different devices. This is essential to promote engagement from all employees and to prevent attendance rates from dropping.

5. Tools for Writing Support

Written communication is one of the critical components of remote working. One writing tool that can ensure remote workers won’t fall into writing habits that can impact professionalism and clarity is Grammarly.

However, since Grammarly is not really flawless, it would still help if you have another set of eyes proofread and go over valuable documents to ensure there are no grammatical issues or typos.

How to Help Your Remote Employees Stay Productive and Engaged

Aside from using different tools to make remote management and collaboration easy, below are some practical tips to help your employees stay focused, engaged, and productive while working from home.

Thinking Ahead

Encourage employees to conduct long-term and strategic planning by:

  • Regularly updating risk plans, budgets, timelines, and other planning documents
  • Establishing updated goals and metrics that to track progress
  • Brainstorming ways to improve inclusivity and diversity in the outward-facing initiatives

Thinking Deep

Deep dive into the systems you are currently using.

  • “Spring clean” email accounts and organize email folders
  • Document management systems and clean labels and data
  • Organize and clean up drives, folders, and other document storage
  • Creating and using consistent labeling conventions for emails and documents

Thinking Back

“Quiet” times can be the ideal time to examine and gather data on previous initiatives.

  • Review current data to check if projects are meeting objectives
  • Collect new data using survey tools
  • Encourage team members to examine recent efforts (Start by asking the following questions: What has worked in the past? What has not worked? Why?)

Thinking Across

Discover how your work can impact others.

  • Offer your administrative or specialty services to those whose work impacts yours
  • Brainstorm ways you can help others in your team
  • Stay informed and up-to-date with the latest trends and share valuable insights with others on the team

Thinking Growth

Use working from home as an opportunity for self-improvement.

  • Encourage engaging in personal and professional development through free resources like books, webinars, podcasts, TED Talks, etc.
  • Discuss development materials with your team (You can get the discussion rolling by asking the following questions: What did you learn? What piqued your curiosity? How can you relate it to work? What is it that you would like to try?)

Think Well-Being

Maintaining mental, emotional, and physical health is crucial when working at home.

  • Check with colleagues if you need any help
  • Offer help and assistance when you can
  • Find ways to have fun and maintain social interactions with everyone on the team
  • Set boundaries around times, devices, and work and non-work spaces
  • Find and share ways to stay focused even in a remote setting
  • Encourage the performance of certain levels of physical activity both at home and outdoors
  • Remind staff to keep in contact through email, phone, or videos

Think Now

Check critical tasks that need immediate attention.

  • Draft upcoming communications and announcements
  • Review website content and look for typos, outdated information, broken links, etc.
  • For remaining on-site employees: thorough cleaning and sanitation of equipment and workspaces

You can provide to remote workers to stay productive and get critical work done by:

Encouraging them to work in a comfortable dedicated to remote work

It would make a world of difference if employees have a dedicated space for working at home. Encourage employees to have a dedicated home office where they can close the door and keep distractions out during work hours.

Encouraging them to find a buddy

Social interactions, however brief, can surely help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. While unfortunate to note, the psychological effects of working remotely for long periods are often ignored or overlooked. However, it is a critical factor in any employee’s well-being.

The interaction also facilitates camaraderie and cooperation. In line with this, encouraging them to pick a buddy they can talk to even for brief periods or during break time would be a good idea.

Encouraging them to have a plan for the day

When working alone, having a more structured schedule is pivotal if you want to get things done. With remote work, people might find they lack the conventional day structure they are used to.

One of the things remote workers need to understand is time spent alone is better off structured. Ideally, your day should include having breaks where you can do non-related work like taking quick walks or playing with your dog.

Remember that everyone works differently

It is important to remember that not every employee is a fan of working from home. This drastic shift can be very stressful for some members of the team. As more employees are required to work from home because of the pandemic, communicating with team members as much as possible can help.

This can be very beneficial, especially for those who are finding it hard to adjust. Checking with employees on a routine basis can help ease the burden caused by this unprecedented change.

Conclusion

Nobody knows for sure when things will be back to “normal.” Until then, it is crucial to maintain honest and constant communication with the team. Also, equip your team with all the tools they need so they can continue to focus and remain productive even with the new set up.

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Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Start a free 30 day trial now, no credit card details are needed!

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