When the world shut down, millions of people were forced to adjust to work remotely and adjust quickly. Hardware purchases rose, Zoom usage skyrocketed, and residential internet upgrades surged. No one knew what worked best, they were just trying to find anything that would work. But as the years wore on, employees began to realize the benefits of remote work. Many wanted to continue working from home even after the lockdowns were lifted.
If you’re a company looking to support the growing remote workforce, or a remote worker reevaluating your work-from-home processes, this blog is for you! We’ve compiled a list of five essential remote work tools you’ll need to succeed.
VoIP Phone System with Softphone
This is the first, and most important, component of successful remote work. It allows both in-office and remote employees to work on the same phone system from any internet-connected device and enables every worker to access the same essential tools. Most VoIP phone systems also come with a softphone application, giving employees the ability to transform their mobile devices into secure business lines without compromising privacy. When choosing a VoIP phone system, be sure it has a softphone and a healthy feature library that contains these three features:
Email is often the primary communication method for remote teams. It’s an excellent medium for long-form communication, but it can often become overcrowded with confirmation inquiries, meeting reminders, and other information that “doesn’t merit an email.” That’s where instant messaging (IM) comes in. A VoIP system equipped with IM – and presence indicators – allows workers to time their questions well and receive immediate confirmation without wading through other inboxes.
Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing
Since the world went remote, business communication has become more than phone calls and emails. Video conferencing has quickly become a cornerstone of modern interactions. And for good reasons. According to recent studies, it helps almost 90% of workers feel more connected to their colleagues and increases productivity in 94% of businesses, especially when workers can easily share important presentations, PDF files, and more via screen sharing. Don’t miss out on the benefits of video conferencing! Purchase a VoIP phone system with video conferencing already built into it.
Logging into multiple applications to get things done slows down a worker’s day. They’ve got a login for their phone system, a login for their CRM, a login for their task tracker, and on and on. If your VoIP phone system can integrate with other software applications, you can streamline your internal processes, empowering your employees to get more done with fewer logins. So be sure you ask a potential VoIP phone provider what kind of integrations they offer. The more the better!
Excellent Internet Services
We all know how important fast, reliable internet is for businesses. But as more businesses go into hybrid or remote work models, home internet usage is on the rise. According to a 2022 study by Cisco, 48% of the workforce now rely on their home internet to work remotely. And of those surveyed, more than 75% believe broadband services must improve drastically before they can effectively “work from anywhere.” What can a business do to support remote workers?
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
Many businesses choose to give their employees access to their business internet services via a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates a virtual tunnel between a remote worker’s device (laptop, desktop, etc.) to your company’s network, providing extra encryption and security protocols you might not get with home internet.
Home Internet Stipends
For companies who aren’t looking to pay for a VPN service often choose to cover their remote workers’ internet expenses entirely. This allows employees to upgrade their internet connection without fear, knowing the cost of the premium connection won’t be coming out of their pocket.
Comfortable Headset & Microphone
Many employers don’t think about how important a comfortable headset and microphone are for their at-home workforce. But having the proper headset and microphone makes it far easier for remote employees to focus on the tasks at hand as well as be heard and understood by their colleagues. Here are a few key features to look for when recommending headsets to remote employees:
- Sound quality. Look for a balanced sound signature and HD audio. This will give users a better, more comprehensive listening experience.
- Noise-canceling. This will help employees focus on work by blocking out distracting background noises.
- In-line microphones. While some employees may prefer headsets without a microphone, ones with a microphone do a better job of picking up the user’s voice, allowing them to be heard clearly by other participants.
- Comfort. Your remote workers will be using these for six to eight hours a day. So having headsets with comfortable ear pads and a lightweight design is a must.
Cloud Storage Applications
Prior to the pandemic, businesses stored all sensitive information on in-house devices, preventing employees from accessing that information outside of the office building. But now, many businesses are opting to move their files into the cloud and for good reason. Cloud storage applications provide a secure, virtual area for companies to store important videos, documents, and other pieces of information so remote workers can get to them quickly and easily – no matter where they are.
But not all cloud storage apps are created equal! Be sure the one you pick has excellent security, top-notch collaboration options, easy integrations, automatic data backup, and simple data recovery capabilities.
Project Management Software
This one is for your remote team managers. When everyone was physically working together, it was much easier to keep everyone up to speed and on track when it came to completing projects. But now, managers must effectively oversee collaboration between multiple workers in multiple locations. A project management tool will help them keep remote workers connected and ensure all objectives are completed on time.
Thanks to features like dynamic task views, real-time reports, and pre-built project templates, your employees will be able to easily track their to-dos and accomplishments in one central location. Also, some project management tools are equipped with cloud storage software too, allowing you to meet two needs with one solution!
Get Ready for Remote Work with SUMOFIBER
SUMOFIBER is dedicated to giving your remote workers the connectivity they need at a price you can afford. From ultra high-speed internet services to feature-rich business phone applications, SUMOFIBER can help businesses of any size go remote quickly and easily. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with one of our team members today!