The COVID-19 pandemic, the most distressing health and financial crisis of our lifetime, has led to the surging popularity of remote work models. In the United States alone, remote work days increased from 2.4 pre-pandemic to 5.8 days. In addition, over 40 percent of American workers have telecommuted at one point during the pandemic.
Because mandatory quarantine measures caught business owners across the nation off guard, thoughtfully-designed contingency plans had not been put in place to facilitate a work-from-home structure. In response, employers adopted a sink-or-swim mentality, leaving single parents and other disadvantaged populations to flounder and long for traditional workspaces. Not surprisingly, the learning curve involved in transitioning to working-from-home has been somewhat sluggish, especially for working professionals with children at home.
While remote working presents unique advantages for business owners and employees alike, it yields its fair share of benefits. For example, fully-remote business models reduce office overheads, eliminate soul-crushing commutes, boost flexibility, and improve productivity. However, amid these benefits, working-from-home structures still lag behind their in-office counterparts in several respects. Luckily, there are tech-based solutions that step up to the plate when remote work models fall short.
Technologies to support working remotely
Amidst the Digital Age, industry leaders release new software and applications designed to soften the blow of work-from-home challenges on a nearly daily basis. With experts predicting a future of permanently remote business structures, tech-based solutions for the remote worker are here to stay.
If you’re a small business owner or a big-name CEO, you should adopt these tech-based solutions to maximize profits and optimize productivity. Don’t waste a penny spent on employee salaries. Outrank your competitors while reducing monthly expenses.
With mandatory quarantines remaining a popular method of curbing the spread of COVID-19, these modern-day adaptations of solitary confinement can keep staff out of their office spaces for months. Fortunately, virtual offices can help resolve some of the issues related to being out-of-office for extended periods in the following ways:
Corporate mailing address
When you sign up for a virtual office, you receive a professional mail address. Even though you don’t own or rent a physical office space, a virtual office provides you with a professional mail address without the commitment involved in signing a lease. That way, business owners aren’t forced to list their residential address as the company’s headquarters.
A live receptionist
With a virtual office, you don’t need to hire an employee to manage your calls. A live receptionist handles your calls 24/7. Unlike a full-time receptionist, a virtual office offers comprehensive phone services at a reduced cost.
Personalized voicemail box
A virtual office helps you set up a preferred message for calls when you are unavailable. This way, you never miss any important call. Should you choose to overlook a virtual office’s benefits, you may inadvertently make a wrong first impression on prospective or current clients.
Team collaboration tools
Task management is usually challenging, even in a traditional office setting. These challenges virtually double when teams are fragmented. Thankfully, team collaboration tools like Salesforce and Asana help business owners manage teams remotely in the following ways:
- Organize, assign, and track tasks
- Send reminders
- Establish timelines
- Generate reports to measure productivity
Project management tools help companies blur lines drawn by social distancing precautions and allow teams to collaborate remotely with ease.
In the business world, effective communication is the key to success. Just because we’re working from the comfort of our lap desks doesn’t mean we no longer need to communicate. In fact, during these unprecedented times, streamlined communication should jump to the top of a business owner’s priority list.
With the help of tested tech-based communication tools, business executives can track progress, share ideas, and gain insight into their employees’ well-being. While phone calls are pivotal for open and honest communication, it would be best to incorporate tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype for video calling services. Yes, face to face meetings still give a much-needed personal touch, but video calling services act as a viable alternative in these challenging times.
Data management tools
If you are still sharing files with your colleagues via email, this bad habit is a recipe for data management chaos. Switch to cloud services that allow select team members to view sensitive information and update it in real-time.
With cloud services, higher-ups can simplify project management, make filing easy-peasy, and guarantee data safety. Furthermore, with cloud services, you can access data from any location with an internet connection.
Popular examples of data sharing tools you can consider include Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Information security tools
Surely, no one would make the mistake of leaving your office doors wide open, as this would be an open invitation for lurking burglars. Yet, remote workers so often join questionable networks and put their virtual offices at high risk for breaches.
From now on, you should heighten your security measures to safeguard your data. At the very least, ensure that all your staff members have the necessary antivirus software. It’s also recommended to have a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure optimum privacy and security when conducting business online.
Are remote working structures and virtual offices the death of watercooler talk? For now, we can’t say with absolute certainty that in-person office spaces will make a raging comeback. However, what is indisputable is that technology will take center-stage in shaping the future of the US workforce. In the next few years, the location of where you work won’t matter as long as you have the relevant technology.