The Covid 19 pandemic has affected just about every industry in some capacity, causing many businesses to shut down entirely. For those businesses fortunate enough to stay open, a large portion has come to realize that requiring employees to work together in an office is no longer a wise option. These businesses have had to figure out how to work remotely while still continuing operations and making a profit.
Having employees work remotely is a foreign concept for businesses that have never even had a reason to do so. Before the explosion of computer and communication technology, remote employment would have been impossible in most industries. But now, there are countless methods of communication, delivery, and scheduling that have changed the way businesses operate, allowing employees to be located practically anywhere. Here’s a look at tools to help your business operate more efficiently during the pandemic.
Project Management Tools
The name says it all. Project management tools allow owners, bosses, management, or anyone in charge to manage projects, tasks, individuals, and teams to effectively work together in an efficient and organized manner. These tools help with planning and scheduling, documentation, collaboration, evaluation, reporting, timesheets, assignments, and more. A manager can do almost anything through a project management tool. They can be tailored to an industry such as construction or marketing, or they can be focused on a broader category such as “startups”. Project management software makes information available to employees that they can access directly instead of having to request it or look for it. Again, these tools are essential for employees who work remotely.
Time trackers simply keep track of hours worked by employees. It allows a manager to monitor when someone starts work, how much time is being devoted to a specific project, manage overtime, measure the productivity of an employee, and prepare payroll. Some time trackers will allow an employee or employer to attach a document along with related comments and messages. And thanks to time trackers, timesheets are no longer necessary, and hours can be categorized by employee, client, project, or task. Some brands will take random screenshots at random intervals as evidence that a remote employee is actually doing the work they’re supposed to.
Video Conferencing Software
There are times in business where texts and phone calls aren’t personal enough, and it becomes necessary to actually see the person you are communicating with. That’s where videoconferencing software comes in handy. Someone in the US can converse with someone in China in real-time, and they can actually see each other. Especially when there is a matter of utmost importance, it can be imperative that a manager is able to see an employee and effectively convey the importance or urgency of an issue. Another benefit of videoconferencing during this pandemic is the obvious social distancing between two or more people.
This software helps groups of people meet and share information. People from all over the world can have access to each other and share relative documents and information with each other in real-time. Teleconferencing can be through cell phones, laptops, conference phones, and can be video or audio conferences. This sort of group setting is conducive to brainstorming and discussions, or even as a method to vote on something such as an idea, a promotion, or a company policy. This software is perfect for someone wanting to work remotely and complying with social distancing guidelines.
Use the Cloud
What is cloud computing? It is a system of computer services and resources that include analytics, databases, intelligence, servers, software, storage, and computing power over the Internet. It allows anything on your computer such as files, photos, movies, music, information, etc. to be immediately available anytime, anywhere. For example, if you have a file containing 100 pictures and you want to send all those pictures to a friend, that might take a while using email. With the cloud, you simply place the file in the cloud and those pictures are immediately available to your friend. While that example is fairly simple, the cloud does offer many benefits including low-cost, fast speeds, unlimited storage, reliability, efficient collaboration, scalability, and security. Cloud computing is a must-have for remote workers.
How important is Internet connection to a business? Considering most businesses now use the Internet for at least some of their operations, the importance of high-speed Internet cannot be overstated. If you run your business with a slow or unreliable Internet connection, you might be jeopardizing your business by missing out on opportunities, losing business, and ultimately losing money. The last thing you want is for a customer to be on the phone with you, impatiently waiting for some kind of information while your computer buffers. Currently, fiber optic offers the fastest connection with the most bandwidth, though it is the most expensive and is not available everywhere.
There is no doubt the Covid 19 pandemic has shifted the way the world does business. More people are working remotely than ever before, and as a result, there will likely be more remote workers after the pandemic. Before we had the expensive technology we have now, working remotely was not always possible. But with all the tools available to businesses now, working remotely might just be a lasting trend into the future. You may have to take out a small loan to equip your employees with some of these tools, but that will be a small price to pay to stay in business.