As the coronavirus (COVID-19) disrupts the normal work routine across industries, it is more crucial for business leaders to ensure that employees have the tools that are required to work effectively from home.
“This is a wake-up call to organizations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience,” said Sandy Shen, senior research director at Gartner.
So, for professionals who are working while self-quarantining at homes, and the organizations that are facing challenges in managing remote work, we have researched and combined tips and tools to help businesses to run smoothly during the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some insights:
Tools to keep your team productive during Coronavirus outbreak
#1 Chat/instant messaging tools
During remote working, communication within teams can be disconnected, which can be the biggest challenge in maintaining the continuity of the work. So, it is important to use instant messaging tools like Microsoft Teams to keep your team more efficient and productive at work. Microsoft Teams is a part of Office 365.
Microsoft Teams allows secure communication between team members and the entire company. To help you collaborate with your team members remotely during the coronavirus outbreak, there are wide range of features in it, including real-time noise suppression to minimize the background noise.
Teams connect employees seamlessly, regardless of where they are located – cubicle down the hall or in another country.
Major features of Microsoft Teams:
MS Teams integrates with the Exchange Calendar system. Employees can easily see their deadlines, meetings, and other events, so they’re never caught off guard. Meetings can even be launched from within calendars and scheduled seamlessly through the MS Teams platform.
Remote workers can feel disconnected because they don’t have the type of face-to-face interactions that other employees do. Video conferencing allows for direct communication, including non-verbal cues. Through video conferencing, employees can feel closer to each other.
A group chat makes it possible for all employees to remain on the same page, regardless of where they physically are. All employees are updated at the same time, and there’s always the option of one-on-one instant messaging for things that aren’t applicable to the whole group.
|One-On-One Instant Messaging|
Often, messaging is a fast, non-disruptive way to communicate. Employees working remotely are able to get answers quickly without having to disrupt the work of in-office employees, while in-office employees can get answers from remote workers without having to track them down.
Through project management integration, MS Teams makes it possible for employees to quickly check a dashboard of current projects and tasks. Employees will be able to review the tasks that they have yet to complete while also seeing what other employees are currently prioritizing.
One of the highlights of Microsoft Teams collaboration lies in the Microsoft ecosystem. MS Teams makes it easy to trade information, such as sending documents to each other as attachments. Through Microsoft integration, documents such as PowerPoint files and Word files can be worked on together, and better collaboration can be achieved.
Another web conferencing tool that you can use is DingTalk – an enterprise communication and collaboration platform by Alibaba Cloud. With it,
- You can share schedule and task management to improve team collaboration, do audio and video conference, support large-scale 100 people.
- Digital file sharing and screen sharing, safe and efficient conference;
- Quickly build corporate address book, no need to save phone number, improve remote communication efficiency and more.
Also, make sure that you give extra attention to the messages right now as this can be the only way of communication among team members during quarantine time.
#2 Source tech and productivity tools
Since the outbreak, about 91% of HR leaders have implemented work from home strategy, but the biggest challenges are stemming from the lack of technology infrastructure and lack of comfort with new ways of working, according to Gartner.
The business leaders need to adopt solutions in the short term to help boost their team’s productivity, including general communication tools for identifying use case requirements, apps, file sharing solutions, video conferencing apps, or a productivity toolkit like Office 365 that provides a wide range of tools for increased productivity.
You can be more productive with Google Suite using the available communication tools for email, video conferencing, collaboration tools, online storage, and management. With it, you get all you need to do your best work, in one package that works seamlessly from computer, phone or tablet.
Empowering teams with these technologies allow employees and managers to stay on the same page during remote working. These tools will keep your team be more connected and productive even after COVID-19 impact lessens and people start coming back to work.
#3 Use reliable tools to maintain data security
Most employees are now working from home, causing the number of devices that expose remote desktop protocols to the internet on standard ports to jump. Organizations must ensure a secure remote workspace to be both protected and productive.
Another major question for organizations is how their valuable company data will be protected when it’s being shared remotely between vendors, teammates and partners. It’s imminent for them to protect data, systems and applications at all times – irrespective of their location.
You can make use of enterprise -grade file sync and share technology like Acronis to remain productive and safe in these challenging times. Acronis not only supports a wide range of devices and systems but also delivers a level of integrated security that is required in the modern digital world – helping you to retain control and protect your data, even when on employee devices.
Read details in a report by Forrester.
#4 Motivate through feedback
Motivation becomes even more important with remote employees because much of the communication is conveyed through body language, which is almost lost, even when the video is turned on.
Reserve time at least once a week to provide positive feedback for good work. Also, provide feedback for corrections during work to avoid shortfalls. Small and frequent directions can give clear guidance to employees to overcome any challenges.
One more way to improve is taking care of employee motivation. You can utilize a tool like Yammer (a part of Office 365 suite) to allow employees to easily connect with leaders to ask questions and for leaders to learn what their employees are thinking. You can also assign work, convey information, and provide the feedback necessary to motivate your team.
Be ready for the remote-work future
The remote work experiment amid coronavirus is a great way to prepare your organization for the remote-work future.
- According to Gartner, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% by 2030.
- More than 60% of today’s professionals say remote work policies are common in about 71% of organizations.
Work from home is already attractive for employees as it saves time for those with family obligations and even more for those who have fewer responsibilities.
Businesses who aren’t used to or don’t support remote work must be having difficulty in implementing it. But, keeping in mind the future of work, this is an idealist scenario where you can experiment with and check the effectiveness of remote work, and redesign a remote work policy in your organization for the future.
Priyanka Dadhich – a content writer, can usually be found reading books. She likes to write about technology, healthcare, travel and fashion. Priyanka loves coffee and listens to music in her free time. She spends her free time with her family.