When COVID-19 forced companies worldwide into remote work, many wondered how this temporary change could yield long-term benefits. Although tensions were high during the onset of the pandemic, the transition proved smoother than anyone imagined, streamlining productivity and reducing unnecessary costs. Now, nearly a full year into work-from-home orders, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have adjusted, announcing plans to extend remote work indefinitely.
Big-name tech companies aren’t the only ones making the transition. With lowered business expenses, increased productivity, and a wider applicant pool, many organizations are switching to continued remote work beyond the end of the pandemic. However, working remotely isn’t without its challenges. Employers have had to tweak communication efforts, work around virtual employee management, and closely monitor project management to ensure consistency.
A solution for companies struggling with work-from-home orders has been innovative technological revolutions, equipping employers with numerous tools to streamline productivity and effectively manage remote employees. New-and-improved tech has allowed companies to keep employees safe while keeping them motivated and productive.
For companies striving for tight-knit company culture in a remote-working world, virtual offices have provided an inventive way of keeping coworkers connected. Though the physical distance between your team members may be considerable, virtual offices exist to bring your employees together in online spaces designed to feel like a real office.
Renting a virtual office space from a provider like iPostal1 comes with a slew of benefits for your company. Instead of spending 20 minutes going back and forth via error-prone messaging systems, virtual offices recreate the experience of walking up to a team member’s desk and having a quick conversation.
Online spaces also provide a similar feel to an office’s common area, where employees can gather and be social. The ability to simply enter a virtual room and have unscheduled, water cooler chats with coworkers brings a feeling of connectedness to your team.
Project management tools
With an entirely remote team, managing projects can become quite a headache. A virtual workforce requires constant communication, and one lost email in a busy inbox can create problems for everyone working on a project. Avoiding miscommunications is simple with a project management solution.
Project management tools allow your entire team to check the project’s progression and alerts team members when their tasks are ready for action. Easily accessible team-wide to-do lists and project management software can simplify your team’s workflow, keeping everyone on the same page and accountable for their deadlines.
Remote training tools
The hiring process has changed dramatically since remote work secured its place in the corporate world. For new hires, orientation no longer includes tours of their new office space and hours in conference rooms learning the ropes with their peers. Instead, remote training tools have stepped in, providing a quality onboarding experience in the virtual workplace. Webinar apps allow companies to pre-record training lessons for new team members, and cloud capabilities allow employers to save onboarding documents for easy access.
Many employees reported struggling with their motivation and productivity at the onset of remote work. If you’re noticing a lack of efficiency with your team, productivity assistants can help your employees manage time and catch lulls in work performance.
Some systems use AI to track how often you switch between windows on your screen and how much time you’re spending on different apps and websites. By collecting data, you can make adjustments to your workflows and use anti-distraction tools to block out disruptive internet chatter when you’re trying to concentrate.
Traditional timesheets are obsolete in a remote working world, and many employers rely on self-reporting to track their team members’ hours. To add a layer of complexity, remote work also allows employees an element of flexibility to work outside of typical business hours if they need it. Administrative automation tools make it easier for you and your team to track work hours, book meetings around team members’ schedules, and log expenses, all from the comfort of your home.
It can be challenging to track your employees’ performance with remote work, making it difficult for workers to know where they stand. Luckily, developers have produced automated performance evaluation tools that take the guesswork out of gauging how well your workers are doing.
Investing in evaluation software isn’t just useful for performance reviews. Evaluation tools can give insight into potential areas needing improvement, allowing you to tweak dysfunctional methods and streamline performance.
The bottom line
Software developers and tech innovators stepped up to the plate to solve the hoard of issues arising from remote work protocols. At first, the prospect of the entire world working from home seemed discouraging. However, new-and-improved tech made the transition quick and painless with innovative solutions, allowing remote work to become the new normal.