As Covid-19 spreads, the demand for social distancing has created a need for businesses to rapidly shift in-office work to virtual workspaces. Many companies are looking for ways to maintain operations and protect profits, which means helping employees be as productive as possible when working from home.

Some companies use software that allows them to collaborate, communicate and remain efficient while working remotely. For some business owners, remote work is a scary proposition. How do you ensure that your employees are working and that you are not putting a greater financial strain on your company? After all, you want to make sure that there is a company to return to once the pandemic subsides. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by managing remote employees, check out these five tools which can help your team bolster productivity and survive the changes ahead.

 1. Time Doctor

Our remote and work-from-home staff members use Time Doctor because it allows employers to track hours worked and monitor productivity while allowing employees privacy. The platform only tracks productivity when team members are logged in. If the employee ends up on a non-work-related website, like shopping at Nordstrom, they will receive an automated reminder to stay on task. If you are using current project management software, Time Doctor also offers integration for many popular tools on the market today. This app certainly provides peace of mind and allows for greater efficiency in monitoring what employees do during work hours when not onsite.

 2. Slack

Our company utilizes Slack with in-house and remote employees, both domestic and international, because it allows for easy communication regardless of your location. Remote employees can collaborate through instant messaging, ask questions to a group or direct message an individual in the organization and get quick responses. Many other apps integrate with this system, such as Google Drive, which allows for greater functionality. They also provide free and paid options so you can utilize this tool without putting a strain on your budget.

 3. Collaboration Software

Working from home can be a tough task, but there are many software options out there that can help you manage your productivity so that you continue to operate efficiently without missing a beat. Monday.com, is a popular tool that can help you track projects and work with teams effectively through the different aspects of project management. The platform is particularly suited for teams in marketing, software development, HR, sales, and media. For the more budget-minded, Task Pigeon is a great alternative, providing free task management software that allows you to coordinate tasks, as well as set deadlines and priorities for your team and you. The software is simple, but it has important features like the recurring task tool, which helps you stay on top of activities that occur on a regular or semi-regular basis. If you are in the real estate space, SetSchedule is a great option for virtually collaborating real estate transactions, choosing buyer or seller leads remotely, and connecting with your real estate team. Jira Software is an amazing tool to help your development staff, near and far, work in an agile environment. The software allows you to create user stories, prioritize tasks, and keep updates for development so you can meet deadlines.

 4. Google

Of course, you know the power of Google as a search engine and email provider, but if you don't make use of the entire suite of free products you are missing out. Programs like Google Docs allow employees to collaborate in real-time on blogs and emails, and other forms of written content and permissions allow you to control who can view a document versus who can edit a document. Google Sheets offers these same features but with spreadsheets. Furthermore, Google Forms provides a means to create surveys quickly and email them to employees and customers, and track feedback with their detailed analytics. The best part is you can operate these programs from any mobile device, tablet, or laptop, making it the epitome of easy to use.

 5. Dropbox

Dropbox is critical to our ability to collaborate with design and media teams around the world. Dropbox is a virtual storage system that allows multiple users to share many types of media files from anywhere they have an internet connection. Its intuitive and sleek design makes organizing and locating folders easy, increasing efficiency. Most important, it keeps files safe, synced, and easy to share. Additionally, account management lets you create privacy settings, protecting your document with various permissions.

We are living in a climate of turbulence, but it doesn't have to crush your bottom line. If you're willing to act fast and adapt your business to the emerging social and business landscape, you have the potential to remain strong and profitable. By providing your company and employees the tools to enable them to continue collaborating, servicing, and getting results, you can be a stronghold for your employees in the upheaval of this pandemic.

Published on: Mar 26, 2020