This year has seen an unprecedented rise in remote working, with April seeing nearly half (46.6%) of employed people doing some of their work at home (according to the Office for National Statistics, ONS).
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many to stay inside this year, working from their homes and in doing so slowing the spread of the virus. However, while this surge in remote working was initially thought of as a temporary measure, many have started to see real benefits from working in their own home – saving time and money that would have otherwise been spent commuting to the office, and being able to spend more time with the family at home.
Eskenzi’s research suggests a whopping 91% of office workers in the UK want to be remote working from home at least part-time.
By the looks of things, the popularity of remote working could very much be here to stay. So with this in mind, here’s a list of the must-have remote working tools for the fast-approaching new year:
While there are a number of benefits to be had from remote working, one downside is the loss in face-to-face chats with other members of your team. These interpersonal interactions are beneficial in a number of different ways, helping to keep staff feeling like part of a team while making it easier to brainstorm and let ideas flow and be added to effortlessly throughout meetings.
Video conferencing tools have been somewhat of a savior for remote workers during this year, helping them hold virtual calls that provide all the benefits of team meetings without increasing the risk of spreading the virus.
Tools such as Whereby offer some fantastic features to help optimize video chats, including screen sharing options, Google Docs integration, and recording. They also offer chat and reaction options, which help users react to presentations without interrupting the presenter.
When working remotely, video conferencing tools are a must, helping you to stay connected with colleagues, clients, and other important members of your business. You can also try some of these conferencing tools for free, which can help you in cutting down the cost of operating from home.
Work Chat Apps
When in the workplace, it’s easy to find other team members to have a quick chat with. While this is a great benefit to having an office, in this day and age (particularly in this year) the workplace has had to adapt to new normals, restricting its collaborative appeal.
Although video conferencing tools are a must, sometimes you’ll also want to chat to colleagues and clients quickly, without having to schedule a date and time for this. Email may be your next go-to solution for this sort of thing, but let’s face it, it’s not the most immediate of interactions, and can often leave you waiting hours for a reply.
For these situations, work chat apps are the way to go. With these apps, chat members simply need to type messages into a virtual chat to help them get the responses they need. Members of the team can keep up to date on discussions and participate where they want to.
These functions of virtual team chats can also actually be more inclusive than colleagues leaning over to one another from across office desks, enabling everyone in the chats to be involved in every conversation, ignoring the ones that aren’t relevant to them while responding to the ones that are.
VPNs – otherwise known as virtual private networks – are a must for those who are working remotely using an insecure network. For example, say you’re working at a coffee shop or at an airport while waiting for a flight, the premises you’re in may offer you free public WiFi. While this can be incredibly useful it’s important to be cautious and stay safe while using this.
When using WiFi networks out of your own control, you leave yourself open to perpetrators. This is the case unless using a VPN, which essentially creates encrypted tunnels with which to both send and receive data.
In doing this, VPNs help to protect sensitive material. For example, when sending through sensitive work documents, a VPN helps to protect this from being sniffed out by others.
However, while VPNs are essential for remote workers, if new to them, it’s tricky to know how to choose the right one for you and your work. You can compare the best VPNs for work easily through reputable online sources and guides, some of which explore why you need one, the best one for your work and the costs for suitable providers.
Screen Sharing Software
With some types of work, it’s easier to simply show your colleagues rather than explain it to them. While this can be easily done face to face in the office, in this surge of remote working, showing team members your work has become slightly more difficult.
Screen sharing tools can be of great help for these situations, helping people to virtually look over your shoulder at the work, and see for themselves what you’re trying to explain. Gone are the days of struggling to put a task into words – now you can use visual aids to help support your explanations!
You can get screen sharing tools from a number of different providers. As previously mentioned, Whereby offer a video conferencing tool that includes screen sharing features, as do a range of other video chat tools.
While working from home comes with its challenges, thanks to the tremendous advancements in tech geared towards remote operations, people can continue to work in this way effortlessly and effectively.
Many businesses may still see remote working as a temporary measure. However, with a COVID-19 vaccine only having just been approved in the UK, and a substantial amount of employees and employers seeing the benefits of working from home, remote working doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, it may be worth considering some of these tools for the long run!