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5 Tools For Successful Remote Workers

Posted by Insightlink on 06/06/17

Until 2016, evidence supporting the benefits of telecommuting was mostly anecdotal. But a recent MIT study has provided real data to prove what many of us already know: telecommuting improves our relationships with managers, allows more time with our family and friends, decreases burnout, and increases job satisfaction. And thanks to the proliferation of software and technology, telecommuting is not only easier, it's also more productive.

multitasking at work

We get it. Working from home has its stigma, because it's just hard to believe that anything could be more effective than face-to-face collaboration. But that stigma is now proven false, and if your business doesn't offer more flexible employee work options, another company will. Luckily, all it takes is a few software options to make it all possible and easy. Here are five helpful tools to help you provide a beneficial and productive telecommuting workplace policy.


1. Communication: Slack 

Slack is an incredible free tool for small businesses and freelancers, but can be scaled way up for larger companies thanks to its robust catalog of plugins. Online workplace chat is one of those functions usually handled by sluggish proprietary software systems, like the antiquated Microsoft Lync. But Slack is different, as the cloud-based system is constantly being upgraded to remain the best in the industry. A Slack account with the Skype plugin is the only one-two-punch most companies need for remote communication. 


2. Cloud Data Protection: MozyPro 

Data storage was the last real hangup for telecommuters in the past. Having your employees working out in the wild meant all their data was in the wild, too — with no easy or secure way to save it on the servers back in the office. Cloud data protection software like MozyPro uses automated secure backups to store that data on an encrypted cloud server, so there's no risk of loss or theft. Plus, life is simply made easier when data collection happens automatically in real time. 


3. Project Management: Workfront 

Project management software is already a staple of the modern-day office, but now it's completely optimized with today's remote workforce in mind. Instead of managing projects and files in folders on a server, software like Workfront helps assign and manage tasks, sends updates based on progress, and has in-software feedback capabilities so that everything can be achieved in one program — inside the office or on the road. 


4. Time Management: Toggl 

Tracking time and attendance can be a sensitive subject, because it can sometimes be an insulting conversation to have with your employees. However, remote workers with flexible hours will often track their own time and attendance, because they typically don't work a the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. So, instead of manually tracking employee hours in a spreadsheet, Toggl divides time and attendance into different categories and projects, so employees can see where their time is going. Now, this system isn't a nanny tool for managers. Instead, Toggl can help identify huge time wastes on projects that take up too many resources. That's good for workers, too. 


5. Productivity & Creative: Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud 

Microsoft Office is still the industry standard for employees to complete everyday business tasks, yet it tends to be unnecessary for most small businesses with remote workers. While Office 365 covers all of your telecommuting needs, it certainly isn't free. Workers who only need limited use and functionality of spreadsheet and word processing programs will find everything they need in Google's productivity and collaboration tools.


But what about your creative types? Working in Adobe — and moving around huge image/video files — can be a pain, but the Adobe Creative Cloud solves that problem. Instead of paying a huge upfront price for the software, the Adobe Creative Cloud uses a subscription service for its content management features, giving remote workers the ability to be creative from anywhere.


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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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