Remote working solutions for business

Remote Working For Business In A Pandemic

Staying Connected and Making the Short-Term work for the Longer Term 

There have been a myriad of differing blogs and advice published in the last few weeks on how to work remotely, how to stay connected with your team.  As IT and Digital Marketing professionals we were in the very fortunate position to be ready to work remotely at a moment’s notice and have all the systems already in place;  we also already had team members regularly remote working so our set up had been tried and tested. We are aware however, that not everyone was as fortunate as us, and have been working with what they can cobble together whilst trying to formulate a plan as they go.

The Government announced recently that much of the country will need to continue, where possible, to work remotely and the ‘lock-down’ will continue for an as yet undefined amount of time. Now is the time to make sure your team and work-space is working effectively and where you could make changes to streamline your remote working.

In the coming weeks are going to be sharing some of our tried and tested ways of enabling remote working – this week we are looking at software that keeps your team connected, whether that is with document sharing, team meetings or collaborating on projects. Investing in some of these technologies and tools now will make remote working during the pandemic easier but this will also facilitate your team working on the move in future.

Microsoft 365 for Business

Most of us are likely to be using some form of Microsoft product on our computers whether you have a PC or Mac. Chances are you use probably are regularly using at least Word, Excel and Outlook. Investing fully in the SharePoint and Teams functions of Microsoft’s business software makes sharing documents, collaboration and team interaction really easy. You can access your emailshave video meetings, collaborate on projects and even create team chats within the new ‘Teams’ functionality.  

From the Microsoft 365 hub you can access all the apps that you might need without needing to download them on to your home laptop and by working in the cloud you are not storing and accessing possibly sensitive data on your home computer. 

  • NSecure Encryption
  • NFile Sharing
  • NCollaboration
  • NProject Management
  • NVoice Calls
  • NVideo Conferencing

OneDrive ensures that whilst you are working on documents you can still store them within the same secure server that you would have used if you were working in the office. It also works cross platform so you can access from mobiles, laptops and office PC’s. 

Microsoft Teams is a relatively new functionality allows video meetings of up to 250 people and live streaming events to up to 10000 people – it also allows screen sharing and meeting recordings. Teams facilitates group chat much like that which has been available with Slack for a number of years. 

G-Suite – Including Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts and G Suite are, in short, the Google version of Office365. G-Suite includes all the same aspects as you get from the basic version of Office365, including GMail, Google Docs and Sheets. It even includes Google’s Sites software which can build and host websites without any need to use coding.

  • NSecure Encryption
  • NFile Sharing
  • NCollaboration

Googles basic G-suite comes with 30GB of cloud storage which works, exactly the same way as Office365 allowing remote working from all your devices. You can review documents on your phone and respond quickly in Google Hangouts to queries from colleagues. G-Suite also comes with Currents which much like teams allows the quick exchange of ideas and information.

Google Hangouts Meet provides securely encrypted video meetings which you can join from the link with a PIN number, or you can join from the appointment in your Google calendar. Hangouts allows up to 150 people in a chat but is limited to 25 people in Hangouts Meet video calls.

G-Suite offers many of the facilities that you would expect from Google. There are some other interesting functions that may be of interest depending on your industry, Jamboard for instance is a great concept for remote brainstorming!

Facebook Workspace 

The newest offering from Facebook which from what we have trialed at this point looks positive. The starting point for team management software from Facebook is currently being offered with 3 months free and is more affordable than the other team management software options of this type.

It has many of the functions that you would get with Slack including the ability to create groups for varying projects with the addition of video calling, idea sharing and file sharing but without the ability to multiuser edit.

 

 

  • NTeam Management
  • NCommunication

Zoom

Zoom is a primarily a web-based video conferencing platform which has seen a huge upwards growth in usage during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. It includes a few extras such as chat and screen sharing (for collaborative whiteboard) and the ability to nominate a different presenter/controller.

However, with this upsurge in growth, the spotlight has been shone on Zoom’s security practices and some serious, and some not so serious flaws have been uncovered which are beyond the scope of this article.

  • NTeam Management
  • NCommunication

Starting on 20 March, Zoom began addressing these security concerns, and on 1 April stated they were (temporarily) no longer working on new features, but had moved all their engineering resources to focus on security and trust issues. Zoom released a blog article on 1 April 2020, explaining how they were addressing these issues, which is worth a read.

Slack

Our personal workplace go to Slack is our inhouse messaging software of choice, with channels set up to discuss projects and share documents. Working cross platform and with just as much functionality on mobile as there is on desktop and the bonus is that it is FREE! For our team of 5 we have been using Slack for the last couple of years and we have yet to find anything that we prefer for workplace messaging.   

Slack is restricted to showing the last 10000 messages and does not have video conferencing however it’s chat functionality for free is unsurpassed. 
  • NCollaboration
  • NCommunication

Skype

One of the longest standing video and chat platforms Skype offers well established personal messaging. Skype was bought recently by Microsoft and is no longer launching the proposed Skype for Business as this has now become Microsoft Teams.

  • NGroup Chats
  • NVoice Calls
  • NVideo Conferencing

Skype messenger and video chat are still very much active and is still widely used and perfectly suitable for smaller teams allowing up to 50 people per call and remains free.

At OX365 we use Microsoft 365 for Buisness, including Teams,  we also use Slack messenger as this works for us as an organisation. This might not be the solution for you but hopefully we’ve proposed an option that will streamline your businesses remote working.

For more on any of the options we have discussed above or to help setting up your own systems please contact us. We are working remotely and as effectively as ever!