Essential Tools for the Remote Worker

Business-wise, the last few weeks have taught us to be prepared for anything. With many businesses being forced to quickly deploy a remote workforce instead of having employees at headquarters, bridging communication and project gaps has never been more critical. Companies that rely on face to face meetings and in-person updates are quickly realizing that they must adjust.

As David Coleman wrote a few weeks back, companies must have the right networking gear for their employees to maintain enterprise-grade connectivity with proper security. Equally important is that employees have the tools needed to keep in touch with their coworkers and customers while also keeping projects on time. Here's a quick list of apps and services that have been used in many contexts.

Team Chat

The two most common tools for team-based chat are Slack and Microsoft Teams. Both of these tools allow organizations to have group chat in a way that is approved by IT departments for compliance reasons. Both tools offer easy access via mobile devices, so you can stay up to date while you are on the go. Instead of relying on group text messaging, both of these services allow you to chat it in a much more efficient way.

Project Management

There are many options for project management, and most large companies likely already have something in place. If you are a small-to-medium size business without a service in place at the moment, you might have to have a look at Basecamp or Trello.

Video Chat

Every modern laptop and portable device has a built-in camera, so video-based chat is easy to get set up with for your remote workers. Zoom is a top-rated tool that is extremely easy to use. It supports single sign-on through Google, Facebook, and other SSO tools. You can host multiple people at the same time, share your screen, and even record the call for folks who can’t attend live. Using Zoom, you can’t get together in person, you can still keep in touch throughout the week.

Tips for new remote workers

If you’ve never worked remotely before, it can be quite an adjustment. Here are some helpful tips for first time remote workers:

  1. Have a standard start and stop to your workday. Otherwise, it’s easy to work all sun up till sundown.
  2. Have a conversation with your children (who are likely home from school) about how your home workspace is currently your office, so they can’t assume they can bother you for a snack or a drink every half hour.
  3. Stay focused on the tasks at hand like you were in the office (laundry can wait).
  4. Ditch the pajamas! It can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but putting on a fresh pair of clothes will go a long way to keep you focused.

Do you have any tips or recommended apps for first-time remote workers? Share them on social media to let Extreme Networks and others know! And check out Extreme's new Extreme Remote with essential tools for the remote worker.

This blog was originally authored by Bradley Chambers, Director of IT, Brainerd Baptist School.

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