The recent spread of COVID-19 is inspiring more and more businesses to ask employees to work from home. But have they prepared their employees to do so? Modern offices are packed with technology and infrastructure that makes work possible, but most homes don’t have that kind of support. If your organization is hoping to maintain productivity levels with remote work, your team will need a few pieces of tech to assist.
For those not used to working from home, it might not be easy to know where to start. Here are five technologies for remote workers to consider in order to stay on top of their work:
1. Adaptive WiFi
While a car, bike, or public transportation might normally manage your commute, Wi-Fi allows you to efficiently and reliably commute to your digital workplace. To stay connected with your co-workers, you need an internet service that responds to your needs dynamically. Enter Adaptive WiFi.
Unlike the Wi-Fi of yesterday, Adaptive WiFi uses artificial intelligence to chart where and when your devices use Wi-Fi the most. It then allocates the appropriate bandwidth accordingly, it's essentially air traffic control for your connected home. This system guarantees that not only does everything in your house get the Wi-Fi it needs, but also that heavily used devices get the most powerful and secure service.
2. Video Conferencing
This quick switch to remote work across the country might as well be called “the Zoom boom.” Zoom, one of the world’s most popular video chat platforms, is poised to make big gains as workers head home. While Zoom has been experiencing some security issues, similar tools like CallTower's CT Cloud Meeting do not have the same issues.
Face-to-face meetings are the backbone of many businesses; removing them altogether isn’t an option. Video Conferencing tools make it easy to stay in touch with co-workers or clients across distances. While video chats might not have the same feel as in-person meetings, they provide an effective substitute and offer a more human interaction than a phone call.
3. Instant Communication Tools
As helpful as video chats are, not every problem requires face-to-face resolution. Working from home, you’ll need to textually communicate with your co-workers. While email may be the go-to, constantly refreshing your inbox and formatting your messages can be a tedious time drain.Twenty-eight percent of the average workday is spent on email alone.
Instant chat tools, like the chat feature in Microsoft Teams, let you simulate the ease of in-office communication over the web. With the ability to communicate privately or in groups, you can ensure that whoever needs to see your message will do so instantaneously.
4. Project Management
Most businesses use some kind of project management platform. These, however, take on new levels of importance as workers head home. Without the ability to check in regularly in-person, staying on top of different plans and products can quickly become unwieldy. While these challenges aren’t easily overcome, consolidating your company in one platform is a good place to start.
Whichever project management solution your organization uses, make sure everything you’re working on is clearly demarcated on your chosen platform. It's crucial to formulate a project management plan for your work early on in order to ensure that projects don’t deteriorate. Regularly provide updates on how your projects are coming along, and encourage your co-workers to do the same — this can help cut down on unnecessary meetings.
5. Digital Assistants
The market for digital assistant products grows every year, so there’s a good chance there’s already one in your home. Whether it’s an Amazon Echo, a Google Assistant, or a Siri-enabled Apple product, most workers are already somewhat familiar with digital assistants. But few are currently using them to their full potential on the job.
Digital assistants can make calls, send emails, take notes, and do so much more. While using one in the office might be disruptive, using one at home can allow you to continue to work as you cook, clean, or perform other important household duties. Some digital assistants can also enable you to hold conference calls without the difficult coordination they typically require.
As working from home becomes a necessary reality for more and more workers, some may struggle to adapt to the new environment. While the transition can be far from easy, using technology to your advantage can make settling in a bit smoother.