10 Tech Essentials for Efficient Telecommuting

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-10-08
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - 10 Tech Essentials for Efficient Telecommuting
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    10 Tech Essentials for Efficient Telecommuting

    Teleconferencing and sharing tools, ranging from Pick to Dropbox, help remote and on-site employees improve their communication and collaboration opportunities.
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    2 - A High-Quality, Reliable Video Conference System
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    A High-Quality, Reliable Video Conference System

    Whether remote or in the office, efficient communication with the team is always key, and remote employees must be able to participate face-to-face. Cisco Systems' TelePresence and Polycom are two of the best-known products and services providers in this area. Logitech has a good lineup of high-quality, yet reasonably priced video conferencing gear. An example of new-gen IT here would be AVer's VC520 Plug-N-Play USB video conference camera system. It enables remote employees to engage as if they were in the conference room.
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    3 - A Trusted Web-Based Video-Conferencing Service
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    A Trusted Web-Based Video-Conferencing Service

    In the absence of a dedicated video conference solution as noted on the previous slide, there are certainly other alternatives that can be accessed via laptop or smartphone. The free and low-cost services—Skype, Teamroom, WebEx,  JoinMe, Vidyo, Avaya, Adobe and numerous others—have their advantages and disadvantages. With these, it's always best to use a wired connection whenever possible and a good-quality headset and microphone.
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    4 - Pick
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    Pick

    One of the most difficult challenges with remote collaboration is setting up meetings, whether in person or online or via phone. Pick enables this in a simple way: It allows users to share open windows in their calendars without revealing the content of the booked time slots, so that a person wanting to meet can see what times are open. Pick takes the back and forth out of getting people together because it compares calendars, suggests times and books meetings with a single click. A major inducement: It's a completely free app.
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    5 - Asana Team Communication
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    Asana Team Communication

    Asana is a great solution for workforces that are ready to move beyond the constraints of email. The platform gives team members a single place to have conversations and manage tasks, producing actionable and transparent communication without the hassles of managing an inbox. Asana works wherever employees are, so it's an excellent choice for office-based staff as well as telecommuters, and it works seamlessly across the Web, and iOS and Android platforms, making it an ideal choice for companies that take a BYOD approach.
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    6 - Google Hangouts and Google Docs
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    Google Hangouts and Google Docs

    A popular app that works on virtually any device, Google Hangouts provides free messaging services that enable users to have one-on-one or group conversations, complete with emojis, photos, GIFs and maps. With a single tap, users can turn a conversation into a video call for up to 10 people. Google Hangouts lets users make voice calls from Android or iOS devices or a desktop and provides totally free calls to other Hangouts users. Google Docs are easily shared through email and networks.
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    7 - Communifire
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    Communifire

    This customizable social intranet platform improves organizational transparency to benefit onsite and offsite employees alike, reducing bottlenecks and eliminating silos. Communifire makes it simple to organize content, publish internal communications, track projects and connect employees working across multiple locations. It also features a best-practice bank that helps companies bring new hires on board and up to speed quickly.
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    8 - Slack
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    Slack

    This is a real-time messaging app that lets users organize company communications via channels and contact individuals or teams via direct message or private groups. Slack offers fully native Android and iOS apps. Users can drag, drop and share virtually any type of file, including PDFs, images and spreadsheets. Documents are searchable, and Slack works with other document-sharing platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox and Box. It's a great way to enable team collaboration.
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    9 - Draft
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    Draft

    A handy productivity app that is fully integrated with Dropbox, Draft allows users to easily edit text from a smartphone or tablet, making it a great choice for telecommuters. The app makes it simple for remote or office-based staff to organize, edit and share notes in folders and subfolders. Draft also features full-screen editing, in-app text receipt capabilities, offline text editing with auto-sync and full text search across all documents stored in the cloud.
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    10 - WeWork
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    WeWork

    A subscription-based, flexible shared workspace and services organization, WeWork is a great option for remote employees who occasionally need conference or office space worldwide. The company creates virtual workspaces that allow remote workers to collaborate in addition to maintaining trendy shared office and conference spaces in major cities. It also provides members with access to services and discounts on a variety of remote employee needs, such as Web hosting.
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    11 - A Storage Service With Collaboration Tools
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    A Storage Service With Collaboration Tools

    Both Box and Dropbox, as two examples, offer enterprise-level cloud storage and collaboration tools with encryption and unlimited storage capacity. They interoperate with popular tools such as SharePoint. They both offer native Android and iOS apps, and users can drag, drop and share virtually any type of file, including PDFs, images and spreadsheets.
 

Equipping a remote workforce is an essential trend for success as mobile technology continues to transform businesses worldwide. The Global Leadership Summit recently reported that 34 percent of companies expect to have half of their full-time workforces conducting business remotely by 2020. The telecommuting trend runs parallel with the rise of a new generation of employees—Millennials—who are on pace to become the dominant workforce demographic in 2015. As a group, they tend to collaborate more and place more emphasis on achieving a work-life balance, which means flexible work hours and telecommuting options. Another survey found that 68 percent of recent college graduates want to be able to work remotely some of the time, and that the ability to do so would greatly influence their decision to take a job. If companies want to compete for the best and brightest Millennial employees, they must accept that a remote workforce will be the norm. Companies that use the right technology can keep all employees informed, engaged and productive. This eWEEK slide show offers tech essentials that can help remote workers and office-based colleagues collaborate more effectively.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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