After much of the world was told to work from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many people have decided not to return to the office. From continued uncertainty surrounding the public health crisis to the realization that it’s possible for nearly any company to remain productive without having to go into the office, remote work policies have quickly become an acceptable and normal part of how modern work gets done.
With the sheer influx of work-from-home employees, businesses need to learn what tech they need to be successful. Fortunately, over the past 5 years, IT improvements for remote workers have not only made it safer, but easier to work from home and the options seem to be endless. Giving employees access to the right pieces of technology can ensure they remain just as productive, in communication, and able to carry out their jobs from a distance as they would be from the office.
Five Key Technologies to Help Remote Workers be Successful:
Instant messaging solutions are nothing new to the modern workplace, but in the era of remote work, they take on an increased level of importance to keep employees connected. Allowing employees to stay in contact throughout the day, chat interfaces let teams collaborate and accomplish everyday tasks without having to rely on email for basic communication.
Available on computers, mobile devices, and in web browsers, popular options like Slack and Microsoft Teams let users communicate one-on-one, in small groups, and in specific channels dedicated to a particular topic or project. Modern chat solutions also offer comprehensive integrations with apps like Google Docs and Dropbox for effortless file sharing and collaboration.
While no tool can fully replace face-to-face communication, teleconferencing offers remote workers the next best thing. From conducting job interviews to holding company-wide meetings, audio and video conferencing tools are essential to maintaining regular remote communication.
Solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex offer the ability to connect over a computer webcam, smartphone camera, or dial in from any device, allowing users to connect regardless of device or location. Business-grade teleconferencing software can also include end-to-end encryption, ensuring communications are kept safe and secure, as well as enhanced functionality to throw full-scale virtual events at any scale.
Remote workers can be surprisingly productive using standard personal computing devices, such as an iPad or a Chromebook, but many businesses still depend upon custom technology solutions that have specific computing needs. Virtualization software makes it possible to run custom-written, platform-specific, and mission-critical applications in a remote environment that can be accessed from any device.
Platforms such as Microsoft Remote Desktop and Microsoft Virtual Desktops make it possible to run entire virtual desktops or individual applications in a secure, high-performance remote environment, enabling workers to use important apps without physical access to an office workstation.
File sharing and document collaboration apps
Seamless document collaboration is another key aspect of successful remote work. For documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 allow for easy document creation and sharing, as well as collaboration tools that make it simple to annotate content simultaneously with colleagues.
File sharing technologies such as Dropbox allow remote workers to stay organized through cloud-based storage that makes it easy to send and retrieve files from any device. And for contracts, agreements, and other documents that require approval, DocuSign’s cloud-based electronic signature solutions allow employees to generate, sign, and manage important documents of any kind.
Virtual private network (VPN) apps
Remote work often requires employees to connect to a variety of different networks, such as a home router or a wireless internet connection at a coffee shop. But an apartment building’s Wi-Fi or the signal at Starbucks doesn’t necessarily contain enterprise-grade security, and without taking proper precautions, sensitive company information could be left vulnerable to sophisticated attacks.
Connecting to the internet over a virtual private network (VPN) allows a user to create a secure, encrypted connection to a private network, ensuring that bad actors can’t find their way into sensitive company data.
We are here to help organizations adjusting to remote work arrangements. To explore and implement new technology to empower remote employees, contact DWD Technology Group today!