Working from home has become the new normal for many of us this year. Although software for remote working and video conferencing has always been utilised within businesses. it has never been as important to ensure working from home is at its most efficient. Whether working remotely fits perfectly within your everyday lifestyle or it just means your loungewear becomes your new uniform, we all want to know we are being productive and keeping up high quality communication.
Remote working software could include communication and networking tools, cloud storage and task management apps. With all these different tools it is important they can all work together to help all staff members within an organisation to be adaptable and work cooperatively.
Some advantages of working remotely are:
- Being a transportable employee, with remote working you are able to carry your workload wherever you go and wherever your business needs you the most.
- Being without office environment distractions. Being in a quieter environment can increase focus, and therefore be more productive than working within an office.
- Better work/life balance, which could equal a less stressful lifestyle. Remote working can alter work schedules and therefore provide more time for personal endeavours.
- The hours spent commuting to and from work can be used for other activities.
Let’s take a look at some of the best software for remote working and video conferencing that really drive businesses in a confident, optimistic and beneficial way.
Microsoft Teams – Video Conferencing and Cloud Storage
Microsoft Teams provides many elements of remote working, it was created to build teamwork and provide collaboration for organisations. Teams is available via internet access and is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android devices.
The vast range of tools and apps on Microsoft Teams are central and crucial to high quality and efficient remote working. One key element for remote workers is to ensure that communication and interaction is seamless. Microsoft Teams allows you to reach any member of staff and see their availability status and therefore see how long it may be for them to reply. You can also see if the other person has read the instant message you have sent, which is becoming a preferred method of communication compared to an internal email communication. Staff members can also access all their Microsoft documents and PDF documents which can all be edited in real-time by multiple users at the same time, allowing single documents to be simultaneously edited, where before there would be multiple versions of the same document with each employee. All changes are automatically synced, so all changes are logged and securely saved onto the user’s One Drive. The final tool that can be beneficial is the video conferencing aspect. With this software you can video conference with up to 300 members of staff at one time and also use the share screen tool for presentations and real-time discussions. Microsoft Teams also allows you to host Live Events with up to 20,000 attendees.
Zoom – Video Conferencing
Zoom is now the most popular video conferencing tool used by business and individuals to keep in touch with others remotely. Zoom enables up to 100 people to connect (500 with certain plans). Zoom is a dedicated video conferencing tool, and is therefore a bit simpler to use, and there is no need for the attendees in a meeting to have an account. Like Microsoft Teams, this video software also allows for a screen sharing options too. It helps to keep businesses connected with documents that would often be viewed in the same room. This remote video conferencing helps to keep this feeling of being connected despite often being miles apart. Unlike Teams, which is provided as part of the MS Office Subscription, a downfall of Zoom is the 40-minute time limit on meetings of more than two people on the free access subscription. However, if your business will regularly need longer than 40-minutes use of the software, there is a small fee to upgrade to the unlimited minutes option.
3CX Phone Software – Communication Software – Video Conferencing
3CX is a software based phone system that allows users to communicate via an app on a Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android device. The app can be used web based or even on the individual’s mobile phone to make and receive phone calls as if you are calling from a landline. 3CX offers features like instant chat and video conferencing, but it is also important for receiving those phone calls from customers and suppliers as calls to an office number can be seamlessly re-directed. The app on the phone lets you use it just like any other phone within the business. 3CX can be integrated with your CRM system so that it can show which customer is calling and make a record of that call in the CRM system. This app is great for remote working as it makes the business phone system accessible for individuals that work from anywhere.
Google Drive – Cloud Storage
Google Drive is a cloud storage platform to keep all your files in one secure and centralised location that is accessible, permission permitting, to other members of the organisation. There is a customisable setting sharing options for all items within the storage. You can control who has access and how far this access goes, from being able to open the document, to adding their own changes to it. It allows employees to store, share and edit documents in real time. The auto sync within the tool also allows for individuals to securely save their work. This feature can also be used while offline, which helps when internet access is limited. Although there can be a cost with a premium version of Gmail, the tool that gives you a Google Drive account, the free features are valuable. One of these features is 15GB of free cloud storage which can be upgraded at a small cost to 100GB. Another feature is, you can also share large documents via Google Drive when the email limits come into play. You can also use Google Drive along with Microsoft Office, so you can work remotely on these files without using too many applications at once. Google Drive is easy to use, compatible with remote working and can fit easily in your workload.
There are so many options out there for remote working and with the ever changing climate that we are currently in, it seems that remote working is here to stay. It is down to businesses to provide remote workers with access to the best tools and apps to keep up effective communication and secure storage.
READY TO SET UP REMOTE WORKING?
Link ICT can set businesses and schools up to help users work from home and learn to use software for remote working and video conferencing. If you would like to learn more please get in touch.