The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced sudden, major changes to the way companies do business. Many organizations have switched to mass telecommuting during COVID-19 in a bid to stay productive, creating a new set of challenges. A large number of companies are scrambling to figure out how to maintain productivity in the new working environment, so we’ve put together a list of tools that can help. This is not comprehensive but a good place to start!
Telecommuting during COVID-19: Meeting face-to-face
Hopefully we’re all getting in on the occasional virtual watercooler chat with our teams via Zoom. While it is getting a lot of press these days, and Microsoft’s Teams also enjoys a dominant position in the virtual meeting space, they are certainly not the only game in town when it comes to voice-based productivity tools. Services like Google Meet, Blue Jeans and GoToMeeting also deliver great face-to-face functionality, making them excellent solutions for productivity, team bonding and remote collaboration.
Instant messaging tools with group chat features are a strong alternative, and may be preferable in some cases. Text-based applications make it just as easy to get quick answers to critical questions as teams work remotely. Software development groups with contributors scattered across the globe are used to working this way, and they have excellent insights and recommendations.
Screen-sharing apps offer an easy and effective solutions when employees need troubleshooting assistance, or when team members need to simultaneously view slide decks, documents, presentations, and the like. Computer World magazine recently featured its top picks for 15 easy-to-use screen sharing apps for businesses. Many of the reviewed solutions on this list support free trials or free-to-use versions with limited features.
Communication and social networking tools
Some enterprise productivity solutions take a page out of the social media playbook, creating online spaces where connected team members can share updates, files, links, and information in a news feed-style interface. These enterprise social networking platforms make making telecommuting during COVID-19 a more seamless experience.
Slack has always been a great tool for remote teams. While it also makes the chat platform list, its wide variety of enterprise integrations it makes a versatile platform for all kinds of collaboration and connection when large portions of the workforce are shifting to work from home.
For a more traditional social media platform, Microsoft’s Yammer has carved out a unique niche. If you need this kind of functionality, it’s well worth a look.
Team management and feedback
One of the hardest things about remote work is the distance between managers and direct reports. With the dramatic shift to working from home at scale, many experts have taken note of the unique challenges this can pose and there is lots of good advice out there for how to rethink remote management – like this article from the Harvard Business Review.
15Five and other similar tools can help facilitate productive one-on-ones. And, of course, recognition tools like bonus.ly can allow anyone in an organization to amplify praise for a colleague’s hard work through micro-bonuses and public announcements.
Online document sharing
Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Box and many other free and open-access alternatives have ushered in a new area of remote collaboration. These solutions allow team members to create, share, edit, and collaborate on documents in real time, using a system built around access permissions to ensure only authorized individuals are able to edit files. Contributors can add comments to facilitate discussions and revisions, and everything is cloud-based so secure storage is never an issue.
Virtual office software
People teams in need of comprehensive, fully functional solutions for telecommuting during COVID-19 can also consider virtual office software. These complete platforms aim to recreate the office experience digitally, with functions that support:
- Face-to-face communications
- Collaboration on documents and projects
- Time management, time tracking, and attendance tools
RideAmigos is here to help
The unprecedented crisis surrounding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has created unexpected challenges for many businesses, and the RideAmigos team is here to offer all the help we can. Through our blog, you can learn more about telecommuting and access further resources, and our partners can also help in valuable ways. Check out:
- The Association for Commuter Transportation’s article on Tips for Establishing Telework and Managing Remote Workers
- San Mateo County’s Teleworking Toolkit for remote productivity
- The Coalition for Smarter Transportation’s Telework Resources Page
If you’re a RideAmigos customer or partner, we would also like to take this opportunity to share details of our COVID-19 response. Our entire team remains at your disposal if you need any further assistance or insights on how to manage telecommuting during COVID-19 as we all work together to get through this challenging time. Please contact us if we can assist you in any way.