Remote working has become a reality for vast swathes of the workforce. Therefore, managers and organizations need to provide employees with the support they need when operating away from the office.
Tech is, of course, at the heart of the new remote working movement, so here is a look at the devices, systems, and solutions involved and the important roles they play in allowing people to remain productive when they are away from their desks.
Project management & scheduling software
Managing remote teams can feel like trying to keep plates spinning in different rooms, yet there are tons of software tools that have emerged to overcome common conundrums.
For example, the latest employee scheduling apps ensure that you can manage how time is allocated to team members without needing to go through a whole host of manual wrangling and readjusting. It ensures that teams can be kept accountable for their work while also enabling a degree of flexibility that encompasses the varied pressures of remote working.
Likewise, entire project management suites have emerged as essential for businesses that want to ensure that everyone can communicate with colleagues and collaborate on complex initiatives without work being duplicated, data being lost, or feathers being ruffled at any level.
Cloud computing was already an asset for modern businesses before remote working rose to prominence. However, it has become even more significant thanks to the wealth of benefits it offers compared with locally installed or hosted services.
By offloading the running of software apps and storing mission-critical information to the cloud, businesses make these assets accessible from any location. This means that employees can perform their duties just as effectively when at home or on the move rather than needing to be based in the office or using a specific device to do work.
The cloud also helps overcome compatibility issues and hardware deficiencies that can cause problems with certain software solutions. In addition, the number-crunching being done in data centers means that even modestly powered portable devices can gain access to complex software and avoid the need to rely on local storage for file sharing.
While remote workers can still get on with their duties solo, most roles also require a degree of interaction and collaboration with colleagues, often multiple times in the same shift.
As such, communication solutions need to be effective in emulating or even exceeding the experience of face-to-face meetings. The tech also has to balance this against the necessity of accommodating the unique circumstances of remote working itself.
Then, it is no surprise that virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Skype, along with instant messaging services such as Slack and Discord, have gained significant traction recently.
Then there is trusty email, a tried and tested option for non-urgent communication, which is also less intrusive than voice and video conferencing, even if concerns about the extent to which it is eating into the time remote workers have outside of their scheduled hours of employment.
Last but not least, supporting remote work with suitably speedy and secure connectivity has become a priority for obvious reasons.
Many businesses use VPNs (virtual private networks) to enable remote workers to connect to internal systems without leaving themselves exposed to exploitation by malicious third parties.
Likewise, investment in broadband infrastructure has helped to empower remote workers to remain productive, even if they have to share their domestic connection with other users.
Ultimately, remote working is here to stay, and technology has risen to the challenge of facilitating it as seamlessly as possible.