Likely the greatest single business response to the COVID-19 crisis is the mass shift to working from home. From major banks and tech companies to small entrepreneurial operations, offices have emptied out and video conferencing is surging.
Yet, while many businesses across the country have moved to telecommuting, most of the transition has been on the fly without long-term planning or even a clear understanding of the necessary processes required to assure productivity.
So how do you set up a productive teleworking operation and what should it cost?
In many organizations, particularly in the tech space, working from home is already a normal part of business operations either part of the time or, increasingly, as a central tenet of work life.
Making it work requires a little more effort to keep your team feeling connected.
In an office, those connections happen organically as coworkers come face-to-face throughout the day in all kinds of planned and unplanned interactions.
But with a little planning and forethought, you can build a strong sense of community, and create a productive team atmosphere.
One suggestion is to get everyone on your team to participate in daily or twice weekly video calls early in the day. Team video calls with coworkers and managers will be as important as ever for productivity and feeling connected.
Central to this is licensing an all-in-one collaboration platform. Whether facilitating collaboration between team members or presenting to clients, an all-in-one audio, web and video conferencing solution that is reliable and secure, will have you covered for a range of business needs.
The software should be easy to use and have a clean interface that makes it simple to enter, run, and participate in meetings.
Features should include HD video, screen sharing, and meeting recording. Leading systems can also be used as conference calling services, with meeting participants connecting by phone instead of a computer. It should also be able to host online meetings or calls with over 100 participants.
While that’s a good start, there is a range of tools that you should consider to round out your work-from-home operations, including file sharing, project management, and group messaging tools.
Below is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully a useful tool to keep you in the right direction as you round out a productive work-from-home structure.
Web and Video Conferencing
GlobalMeet is a versatile solution that covers traditional phones, Internet calling, and robust video collaboration tools utilizing mobile and desktop applications and multiple connection options.
- Basic license – Free
- Standard license – $16/user/month
- Premium license – $32/user/month
Slack offers many chat features, including persistent chat rooms (channels) organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. It even has an option to call team members from your mobile device.
- Standard license (for small and medium-sized businesses) – $8 USD/user/month
- Plus license (for larger businesses or those seeking advanced administration tools) – $15 USD/user/month
Engage Webinars was built on the backbone of enterprise webinar technology but packaged at a mid-market price point.
- Standard – $399/month
- Premium – $699/month
- Professional – $899/month
Secure Cloud-Based File Sharing:
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that allows users to store files on Google servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files.
- 15 GB – Free
- 100 GB – $2.79/user/month
- 200 GB – $3.99/user/month
- 2 TB – 13.99/user/month
Employee Time Tracking
Harvest is an easy-to-use time tracking app that integrates with iOS and Android, allowing managers to send reminders to team members to submit timesheets, track billable and non-billable hours across the company, analyze data, and send invoices from the app.
- Pro – $12/user/month
Basecamp is a web-based project management tool featuring to-do lists, milestone management, forum-like messaging, file sharing, and time tracking.
For best practices on creating your own business strategy, download our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) Blueprint.