The future of work is remote working.
Changes in the way we work have been growing and evolving for the best part of a decade and it seems this is just the beginning. A growing section of the working population is leveraging the internet and technology to allow themselves to work or start-up almost anywhere in the world. You don’t need to be in the same location or even time zone to work collaboratively anymore. Uploading your latest project update from a secluded island in the Philippines to your colleagues in Europe is no biggie. It’s this kind of geographical flexibility which offers huge benefits to both employees and the employer and is certainly a trend which looks set to continue.
What’s good for the worker is great for the boss. First off, it’s a money saver – look at the reduced costs of having less staff working on site. Fewer desks mean reduced office space and less rent, and pocketing those savings is a valuable bonus. Additionally, the geographical flexibility means the employer can look much further afield for its talent – actually, further afield doesn’t really cover it – companies can now access a global pool of talent. Imagine the quality of talent available when you can cast your net around the world!
Is there a downside? Possibly. A boss wants to create a strong company culture, and the employee wants to feel part of a team. People never being in the same room might hamper this to some extent. And, as a boss, what about making sure workers are working efficiently, and, as an employee, making sure that you clearly understand the brief your boss just emailed you? Weekly (or even daily) meetings are essential as they both boost morale and allow you to measure progress eye to eye.
Whether it’s a good development on balance remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – It. Is. Happening. The future of remote working is not the future anymore – it’s the here and now.
Let’s have a look at five apps that are making 100% remote working possible from start to finish
Project Management: Trello
Working remotely means it is not easy to keep track of all assignments or projects from the team members.
Trello appears to be an ideal solution to project management teams which may otherwise be hampered by out-of-office team members. With Trello, users can easily create tasks with due dates, which can then be assigned to individual members, while instantaneously tracking the progress by using a card and board system – just like a board at your middle school. Its strength is the easy-to-use functions like drag-and-drop, tagging and color coding, which manage and prioritize all work in real-time. Notifications and deadline reminders via mobile and website effectively inform the team members when there is any change. Trello is quite simply a powerful tool to make remote work more accountable and responsible for both employee and employer.
Team Chat: Slack
When there’s no longer ‘an office’ but we still need to feel the collaborative environment, this is where team chat apps come in.
Team communication is essential for successful teamwork, but for those who are working remotely, this can be a sizeable obstacle to reaching successful team outcomes. Luckily, team chat is now available via Slack. Slack undeniably brings ‘Water Cooler Talk’ online while still allowing workers to fully enjoy remote working. With a whole host of well-thought-through features to improve team communication, Slack allows users to create one-on-one chats, group messaging, or even specific channels for each team’s topic and project. It also has a powerful search feature which enables users to quickly whizz through previous messages, links and files. You can also integrate Slack with more than 1,500 apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, and MailChimp. It will gather all messy notifications together in one place while enabling you to focus more on meaningful work.
Video Chat: Google Hangout
No more high travelling cost and wasting time to set up a face-to-face meeting with clients or co-workers.
When it comes to a video chat, most companies fall back on ‘Skype’. But for enterprise work requiring a more professional tool, Google Hangouts, backed up with Google’s reputation, is an effective tool through which remote workers may interact. Looking more closely at the features, it is extremely easy to set up both one-to-one and group calls of up to 25 people. An additional, extremely useful feature is that conversations can be stored securely in the cloud. It benefits remote workers directly as they can start using Google Hangouts for free by only using Gmail to sign in and share the screen to work and call simultaneously.
Password Management: 1Password
If there’s anything in the world that we should not take with us to the future, it’s the password hassle.
Remembering all your passwords is difficult under normal circumstances, but when you are working remotely and you can’t just ask your colleague to remind you, it’s almost impossible! 1Password is well-recognized as a secure password management tool which keeps all your passwords in one place. Not only can users store all login passwords, but this tool also makes it far easier for teams to give access to information to other members without letting them know actual passwords. It can be synced across many devices via WiFi, iCloud or Dropbox and operates on Mac, Window, Android and IOS; therefore, there is no need to copy and paste password information through individual chats anymore. 1Password also continually ensures that the password is strong enough and will not be hacked – both easy and safe!
Electronic Signature: SignNow
An obvious problem facing people who work away from the office is a slow document signing.
To streamline the signature acquiring process, SignNow is a user-friendly E-Signature platform where the whole signature processes can be done instantly. There is no need to create, print, send and fax contract back and forth between companies and signers with tons of paper as SignNow allows signers to create workflow and sign a document with all devices either mobile or laptop via email notification in a few seconds. Also, its automatic guideline helps multiple signers to simply complete, track and keep the document for future access without rifling papers around, resulting in a faster-dealing pace. More business templates are available to set up your documents easily; thus, if you’re working separately, this digital signature is a choice to be considered for your team.
With changes in the way we work comes changes in the way workers are led. In a future article, we’ll be talking about how remote working is creating changes in leadership styles and the importance of Digital Leadership. Stay tuned!