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By: Manny Mangat
May 18, 2021
Technology? What a life changing experience it has been for all ages of the society. Interacting with friends to how we work in office spaces, has all been greatly affected by this fast-paced changing technology.
Here, in this article we are not concerned with how technology has impacted our lives in innumerable ways rather we would focus on how technology has given birth to a new concept known as remote working.
Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a sharp rise in remote work policies across workplaces, due to lockdown and physical distancing rules. As a result, alternate arrangements had to be made, such as work from home.
Not long ago, the concept and trend of remote workwas regarded as a customer service with a wage that was below minimum.
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Over the past few years, it has gained tremendous popularity and acceptance. In this day and age, remote work has turned out to be a full-time career with much needed flexibility.
Generally, remote work has always been seen as being viable for only a niche section of the workforce, primarily IT related. In the present era though, the perception and trend has changed.
With advancements in technology and connectivity, more and more flexible opportunities have come out in the open for multiple lines of work, which not only aid in increasing productivity during remote work, but also provide the worker with more freedom and flexibility.
A comprehensive article by FinancesOnline brought in light some interesting statistics about remote working. A few of them include the following:
A remote worker’s basic toolkit would probably include most of the following:
You would not want your meeting with your manager to be interrupted due to slow internet connection. A reliable internet connection is essential and drives remote work in the right direction.
In the absence of your regular internet connection, your mobile hotspot can save the day. It is not just internet-on-the-go, instead they serve as a very important source of backup in case of any power or connectivity disruption.
This feature—called Personal Hotspot on iOS and Mobile Hotspot on Android—is installed into most new iOS and Android phones and tablets. The only thing that must be kept in mind is that that using your phone as a wireless modem will drain its battery faster, and your wireless carrier may also require you to buy a hotspot (sometimes called "tethering") plan, which approximately costs about $15/month.
Remote desktsoftware safely connects you to another computer that is located anywhere in the world.
You can work on it as if you're sitting in front of that computer's keyboard. It's a very convenient way for remote workers to access computers that are present in some office space or at another remote worker's home.
Team chat apps are very convenient if you want to communicate with your team members. They help you stay connected at all times and keeps the team members on board with the day-to-day tasks to ensure productivity.
We have compiled some team chat apps to help you stay connected with your team:
A picture is worth a thousand words. Similarly, visual presentation of anything is bound to leave a far stronger impact of something rather than it being presented in words or sound. With screen sharing software, you can easily share your screen with your team when needed.
The team members can share their work without needing to be in the same room.
Face to face interaction is always more convenient and effective to manage tasks more efficiently. Here, video conferencing app pave the way when team members are working remotely.
Video calls through video conferencing apps make you feel like you’re in the same room with your team.
Office suites have been shifting away from installed software packages to connected, online apps over the past decade.
In both Microsoft Office Online (the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) and the equivalent Google offering G Suite (with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more), you can easily share a file with others and have them add in-line comments or make their own edits—and you can watch it all happen in real time.
Brainstorming and mind mapping are some of the most initial steps of an effective management of a project. But when it comes to managing these tasks,mind mapping and brainstorming for your projects better streamline their execution.
Online whiteboards effectively help to better visualize the projects at hand. You can also share these mind maps with your teammates and incorporate their input, if needed.
A massive project always incorporates multiple tedious and numerous tasks that need individual attention and effort.
These multiple tasks need to be done in specific order or workflows with more complex time-management needs, consider a full-fledged project management tool.
Most teams use Jira, though some teams use Trello or Airtable, depending on the context.
But one needs to find and identify the app that works best for them for the best project management and figure out which suits their needs.
Web-clipping feature is the most important USP of such note-taking apps. It helps to save your much needed reading materials quickly; help you be more organized, so you don’t flood your desktop with numerous sticky notes. Most common of such apps include Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.
A cloud storage app is essential that you can access from any device. It is very important and critical for remote collaborations with your teammates. And it doesn't have to be complicated: just save a file to the shared folder, and you and your other coworkers will instantly have the latest changes.
The best free cloud storage and file syncing apps include the following:
Data and information security is probably one of the most tedious and sensitive issues in the sphere of project management and it is as important as internet connectivity especially for remote workers because they usually store business information on laptops and smartphones.
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Primarily there are five security tools that help you better manage your project and ensure their end-to-end safety and security, they are listed below:
This method secures the information with a password or an encryption key that ensures your data be safe from getting into the wrong hands.
Probably the most easy and reliable source of managing and saving your data for later use is always having an easy to access, online backup.
Remote workers already have an advantage when it comes to being more productive with lesser office distractions and almost no in-person meetings.
Most of their work is almost fully automated which is bound to get majority of the work done when you are stretched for time.
Given below is checklist that every project manager should get for their remote workers:
For many telecommuting positions, especially customer service and lead generation, you’re going to need a landline which could be a traditional or a digital telephone provider.
The most essential of equipment that all remote workers should own would be a proper workstation, be it a laptop or a desktop for hassle-free and effective project management.
A subscription to a reliable, high speed and high wired internet connection is the need of the hour for all the remote workers to keep their connectivity and communication with their employers intact.
Though the world seems to be going all wireless, most companies do need a corded headset so that it can plug directly into your phone jack.
Another must have piece of equipment essential for remote workers include printer that also has an added feature of scanning. While you may not use this a lot in your daily functions and tasks — you will need it for signing contracts, forms, etc.
A spot-on and well-organized technological set-up is essential to ensure a remote work model to best manage projects with the much-wanted efficiency.
To keep all your remote employees on-board and in sync during the execution of various projects, below mentioned are some essential tools to efficiently manage remote employees.
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PackageX Mailroom is your mailroom reimagined. From mail scanning and notifications to digital mailroom automation, Mailroom can look after all the major legwork required in the mailroom.
This is one of the best remote working tools to add to your toolkit this year for multiple reasons. With everyone WFH due to the pandemic, it's important that mail is handled in an efficient manner.
PackageX Mailroom allows businesses to operate fully digital mailrooms. It reduces time taken to scan packages, notify recipients, and hear back for further action.
Used for well-coordinated face to face discussion
In the pandemic, zoom calls are the staple of remote team management, which has greatly contributed to bridge the communication gap between you and your team.
Ever since this pandemic, Zoom is nothing less than a household name. This tools provide a huge and a dynamic space to hold official company meetings, one-on-one and team chats and quite simple to use.
Used for KPI (key performance indicator) tracking, resource management and accurate invoice generation
This is a time tracking tool that is critical for every remote business to keep all the team and project activity out in the open. It is one of the very few time tracking applications that fully automates the whole task for the employers.
Managers can then use ready-made real-time dashboards to review employee workloads, capacity, activity and project budget spend.
Used for workload distribution and task prioritization
The most efficient and easy way to track and plan projects, tasks and their progress is what trello is all about.
Using different boards and workflows – which can be as simple as the classic “To-Do”, “Doing” and “Done” – team members can check-in on their workload with alert boards.
You can add customized tags to label task priority so deadlines are met timely.
Remote working is very different from having everyone together in one place. Not having a clear picture of assigned roles and tasks can confuse your employees.Moreover, cause feeling of unfairness which can lead to decreased work efficiency or even miscommunication.
But it’s a risk companies are taking - over half of them (57%) are operating without a remote working policy.
Not every policy will be the same, but there are a few common areas that deserve attention. Implementation of uniform policies can really help the employees to streamline their work while they are working remotely. Lets have a look over few of them!
The pandemic changed the ways and ideas around which people can work remotely. For a lot of people, remote working is the new normal. (Remote working policies, 2020) in the Sage journal highlights how 95% of people leaders were already offering flexible working, or plan to, in the next two years.
There’s a sweet spot for working remotely, with the most significant employee engagement boost happening when people work off-site 60% to 80% of the time, so that’s worth considering when you put your policy together.
Equipment shouldn’t be a grey area. Policies need to state who provides it, who sets it up, and who’s responsible for it. It should also include any rules around using equipment - can people use company laptops in their own time, for example?
If so, can they install software on them or use that software on personal devices? And, crucially, what should they do if something goes wrong?
Remote working implies flexibility around time - that’s one of the things that makes it so attractive. But if an organization can't manage flexibility. It can become counter-productive, with people doing too much overtime or not being available when they’re needed.
Having clear guidance on working hours, and systems in place to track time will enable you to see whether people are doing too many or too few hours, without compromising on flexibility.
Communication is one of the greatest challenges for managers and employees when it comes to remote work. Lack of it can lead to miscommunication – leading to poor performance, and ultimately, isolation, which is the most common problem among remote workers.
That’s why it’s so important not to assume communication will just happen. Set out guidelines on when and how meetings will take place.
And make sure your communication is two-way, not top-down - you need to know what’s happening with your team, not just cascade information to them.