The world learned to telecommute on a whole new level in 2020, when many desk jobs moved to home offices. Although the number of people working remotely exploded, many did not have the tools needed to perform their jobs as easily or efficiently as they did at the workplace. Employees who telecommute require the same tools they would need in an office setting, but not all businesses ensure that their work-from-home employees are properly equipped.
What Resources Are Needed to Work Remotely?
A remote workforce requires broadband; email; a phone line; software for videoconferencing, chat, project management, and time tracking; and cloud storage to stay properly connected. Each resource gives telecommuters the tools they need to continue performing as if they are right there in the office with the rest of their team.
Broadband internet is arguably the most important tech tool needed to telecommute successfully. The fast internet connection broadband provides ensures clear videoconference connections and allows businesses handling large files to upload and download them quickly. But speed is not the only factor when it comes to internet for telecommuters: A properly secured broadband connection ensures a business is protected from hacking and other internet threats.
Access to Email
A widely accessible and efficient way to send work-related files, email is another tech tool essential for remote work. Most businesses supporting remote work should ensure their email platform offers a higher-end limit on the size of files so it will support emailing large attachments.
The phone line might be the oldest of the tech tools on this list, but it is still a vital component of effective remote work. Whether provided via a landline, wireless plan, or a business VoIP connection, phone service gives team members a reliable way to reach one another when employees are away from their computers or when technical difficulties such as power outages arise. Most wireless plans also offer hotspot service, which can allow telecommuters to send and receive digital files and communications even when internet service is unavailable.
In today’s increasingly online business world, videoconference is bringing workers together for virtual collaboration and idea-sharing from wherever they might be, no matter how far apart. Typical videoconferencing platforms allow attendees to see and hear one another, making remote workers feel more like they are part of the on-site team. Some of the most popular videoconferencing platforms for business include Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.
Chat and Messaging Software
Always-on instant messaging software can often offer much quicker response times than a call or an email. These apps come in handy when team members need quick answers to work-related questions or want to quickly shoot comments or check-in messages to one or more colleagues. Popular business-focused options for this collaboration-enhancing tool include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Chat, Salesforce Chatter and Chatwork.
Project Management Software
Project management software can be a huge help when it comes to ensuring team members know the tasks on their to-do lists and to help them find all the resources they need to complete them. Software like monday.com, Workzone, Smartsheet, Hive and Celoxis are especially effective when the team includes remote workers. Typically, these tools also provide ways to track the progress and completion of assigned tasks, methods for providing feedback and instructions related to the tasks, convenient ways to organize workloads and needed files, and often even time-tracking tools.
When not already covered by a business’s project-management software, time-tracking software can provide assistance to keep track of how much time employees are spending on each of their tasks (and to determine whether future tasks along similar lines might require more or less time). A few leading options in this category include Hubstaff, Harvest Forecast, Paymo and QuickBooks Time.
Cloud storage platforms ensure that critical work- and project-related files are accessible to all team members no matter where they are located. These tools also allow for simplified collaboration, as team members can update files in the cloud and let colleagues know the revisions are ready for the next employee’s attention. Popular cloud storage options include Dropbox Business, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, Google Drive, IDrive Team and Box.
FTC Business provides all the business-communication services needed to support a successful telecommute, including Internet, Wireless and Voice. Visit ftc.net/business to explore all these services and more. And to get local, expert IT help for your business in several tech-related areas, including Managed IT, Cybersecurity, Hosted Services and more, visit FTC IT Solutions today.