According to a pre-COVID 19 Gallup survey, 43% of American employees had already started working from home part-time. While these numbers are old, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown have only pushed employers to reconsider their remote work policies. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook have already asked their employees to work remotely till 2021. Small and medium businesses, too, have followed suit.

Building a remote workforce has distinct benefits such as lower overhead and fixed costs, increased employee satisfaction levels, and higher productivity. But the transition to a remote-focused workplace requires advanced technological integration to make it easier to track employees, bolster their morale, foster relationships, and enhance cross-team communication.

Apart from a stable Internet connection and a laptop, here are the top technologies you should leverage to make life a bit easier for your work from home employees.

1.Tools for Collaboration and Team Communication

Every successful remote work strategy needs to be set up around clear-cut communication channels that enable team-work and collaboration. Most companies have multiple teams working together on the same projects, leaving no space for miscommunication.

Emailing software could be deployed but they do not offer the enhanced privacy and collaborative tools required by companies. Moreover, emails are a thing of the past. Modern communication applications such as Slack and Google Meet are a better choice when compared to emails.

Conducting long conversations and discussions via email isn’t easy. On the other hand, instant messaging apps such as Slack offer more freedom to navigate through cluttered communication while helping you streamline your discussions.

2.Video Conferencing Tools

Internal communications cannot be a one-way affair that can remain limited to chatting apps. Virtual meetings, video conferences, and remote presentations make up a large part of the work from home routine.

It is critical for any company looking to migrate to a remote working model to harness the benefits of video conferencing. Video calling is the closest possible solution to make up for the absence of face-to-face meetings. Brainstorming sessions and presentations cannot possibly be held over email or chatting apps.

There is a multitude of video conferencing software available in the market. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are amongst the top tools to offer the best functionality for work from home employees.

3.Tools for Project Management

Managing large-scale projects within the remote working model can be difficult for any organization. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to invest in solid project management software. Project management tools can help employees keep track of their goals and tasks within the stipulated deadlines. Additionally, these tools also help increase productivity and accountability within organizations.

Some advanced tools also offer time tracking capabilities such as timers and check-in information. Time-tracking is an integral part of handling a remote workforce to ensure that your employees remain productive and put in the required hours.

Tools such as Jira, Basecamp, and Asana are best suited for larger teams while Trello is the perfect solution for individual projects.

4.Performance Tracking Tools

Performance reviews, audits, and evaluations are necessary to track the growth of the employees and keep a tab on areas that need improvement. Before the remote work culture took over, such evaluations were conducted annually or bi-annually and included surveys and other inefficient methods. Remote work has proffered companies the opportunity to improve the effectiveness of their evaluations by maintaining data and collating actionable insights in real-time.

Adopting an effective performance tracking tool can be a critical maneuver to identify employees who are fit for promotions or appraisals. On the other hand, these tools can also help you recognize the areas where your workers can improve. The best tools today enable HR managers, supervisors, and team leaders to draw on-demand feedback and insights to help them make immediate adjustments in their approach.

Tools such as Trackstar and SAP SuccessFactors are leading the pack of performance review tools.

5.Cyber Security Tools

As companies make the transition to remote work, reliance on cloud platforms and online data storage has increased manifold. This leaves the sensitive company and personal data open to cybersecurity threats.

On-site data collection points can be sealed and proactively protected. But remote workers can be susceptible to cyber crimes and data leaks. It’s necessary to employ tools to beef up your cybersecurity to keep your and your customers’ data protected.

Multi-factor authentication, VPN, multiple data backups, antivirus and anti-malware software, firewalls, and real-time security monitoring are some measures that every company must invest in.

Building and maintaining a remote workforce is the top priority of companies hit by the COVID-19 lockdown. The work from home setup comes with its own opportunities and challenges. Using the right tools to communicate effectively and increase productivity can help you mitigate risks and meet all your business goals for the year.