Many companies are looking for ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within their workforce by asking people to work from home. For example, Twitter has asked its entire workforce of 5,000 employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
Of course, if your company is considering sending everyone home to work for a few days or weeks, you're probably wondering whether you have the systems in place to make that happen. If that's you, the good news is that a few tech companies are offering their services to help you stay connected.
Here are five tech companies that are making it easier to work remotely, and are making their services more accessible to small businesses and organizations:
Microsoft has started offering a free trial of the premium plan for its Teams chat app, according to Business Insider. That trial will allow users to record meetings and take advantage of 1TB of storage, neither of which are available on the normal free version. Microsoft is making the extended premium trial available for six months.
Google will allow free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education users. That plan includes up to 250 users per call, the ability to record meetings, and livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers until July 1, 2020.
LogMeIn is making "Emergency Remote Work Kits" available for free for three months. Those kits are designed for nonprofits, schools, and health care organizations that aren't already customers. The company also says it will work with existing small-business customers to provide access during the same time period. The kits include GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar--where users can host presentations for up to 3,000 users--and LogMeIn, which provides remote desktop access from numerous devices.
Cisco is offering the free version of its Webex service with no time restrictions. In addition, it will allow up to 100 meeting participants and has added toll-free dial-in features with a 90-day license for businesses that are not already customers.
Zoom already offers a free version of its videoconferencing software, but the company is currently working to test its network to "ensure maximum reliability amid any capacity increases, as uptime is paramount," according to a blog post from the company's CEO.
Additionally, the company has created resources and is hosting information sessions to help small businesses use Zoom. It has also extended its free plan in China to allow unlimited meeting times and breakout rooms, and removed restrictions on participant limits.