If you are an adult and you have not yet heard of the concept of working from home, then chances are – you are lying! For the businesses in the twenty-first century, the work from home concept is not a luxury anymore. The reason could be anything. Many organisations have started preferring freelance remote workforce instead of investing in office-based resources.
Even before the present scenario of COVID-19, many businesses had started giving their employees the privilege of working from home. Gallup recently conducted a research. According to it, 39% of employees worked remotely in some capacity in 2012. In 2016, this number grew to 43%. They also mentioned it explicitly that “54% of office workers say they would leave their job for one that offers flexible work time.”
So, yes! From the research and the experience we have had since the Global lockdown, work from home is quite effective. In some jobs, it is more effective than employees working from offices. Some tasks when outsourced cost very less than investing in an employee. For example, website management, content writing, graphic designing, SEO, animation and videos, etc.
Outsourcing work also helps companies hire the best person in the world on a contract basis. As new technologies come in every day, the business demands are also growing very fast. Consequently, the required results are becoming more complicated. Therefore, remote and virtual teams have become the need of the hour.
The only problem in this scenario is the lack of coordination and difficulty in collaborating.
Why do we need more powerful collaboration tools?
When you hire freelancers for writing content, collaboration is not an issue. But, when in business, hundreds of people are working from home (just like we are doing in present lockdown situations) collaboration can be difficult.
Instead of managing multiple applications on multiple levels, it is always better to find something, which can help us manage multiple things if not everything.
Here is why we need more powerful collaboration tools:
- Effective communication
- Centralised information and database
- Simultaneous working on the same data
- Increased security and data protection
- Controlled and authorised access to data
Apart from the practical demands in a virtual-team setting, working-from-home can induce a feeling of isolation and loneliness. Therefore, it is important to feel that you are a part of a team. Collaboration tools, thus, instill a feeling of belongingness among your team members.
Also, as Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight mentioned in his 2012 article with Harvard Business Review, “Collaborative activity is the “secret sauce” that enables teams to come up with innovative new products or creative, buzz-worthy marketing campaigns.”
So, it is clear that the team that proactively collaborates well using powerful tools has greater chances to flourish in future.
Best 3 Tools for easy collaboration:
1. G Suite for collaboration
You must have been using Gmail and Google Drive already. Well, they are a just part of G Suite. Really?
Yes. G Suite comes with multiple things, such as –
- Data archiving
- Vault for ediscovery
- Email and chat archives
- Smart shared calendars
- Message retention policies
- Security and admin controls
- Business email through gmail
- Video and voice conferencing
- Gmail log analysis in big query
- Data prevention – gmail and drive
- Gmail integration with third-party tools
- Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
- Enterprise-grade access control with security key enforcement
Okay, enough of the jargon! Let’s keep it simple. G Suite is a one-step collaboration solution. It is a collection of subscription-based products for enterprises which includes Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.
But, aren’t these the applications that we use daily, for free?
G Suite is a SAAS (Software as a Service) product by Google. This product is primarily meant for large groups of people working together like businesses, enterprises, organizations, colleges, etc. Now, you must be using your email id with firstname.lastname@example.org extension, right?
With G Suite, your email id will have a customised ending like email@example.com. Along with it, you also have an option of the calendar, optionally unlimited cloud storage, advanced administrative controls, etc.
These were all the technical stuff. To brief G Suite, you can collaborate with your team, and perform the following functions:
- Send messages over Hangouts
- Use a professional email address for work
- Send invites for meetings, and plan events with calendar
- Chat, and audio/video call your team, for the conference
- Collaboratively edit the documents presentations and sheets
- Create surveys, floating forms, share the reports with Google forms
2. Office 365 for collaboration
Office 365 is very similar to G Suite. It is a collection of multiple apps and services provided by Microsoft. This includes applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that can be used on a subscription basis. Again, with office 365, you can add customised email addresses.
Many people often get confused between Office 365 and Microsoft Office. Let’s take a moment and understand the difference.
These two are de facto services offered by Microsoft Office Suites. We are all probably very well acquainted with Microsoft Office, which has been around in the market for ages. Microsoft Office 365 was launched in 2011. To explain in the simplest terms, Microsoft Office is usually installed on personal computers (desktop Office Suite) whereas Office 365 is cloud-based. So, Office 365 can be used for either personal or professional purpose.
On the other hand, Office 365 is for businesses and individuals and it can be accessed online only. being on the cloud, collaborative access becomes the plus side for team collaboration.
So, what do you get with Office 365?
- Microsoft Planner
- Microsoft StaffHub
- Microsoft Bookings
- Skype for Businesses
- Security and Protection
- Professional email with storage
- Online office apps (web version)
- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access
3. Tally on Cloud for accounting purpose
This one is especially for the accounting team. Tally, the popular ERP accounting software, has been serving many companies across the world.
Not many organizations have their accountants working from home. But, in situations like the COVID-19 epidemic, installing Tally on employees personal computers can not be possible in all cases. So, why not install it in one place and give the remote access of that place to everyone?
That place is “the cloud”. You install Tally on the cloud and access it from anywhere, anytime through an RDP client. Also, you will be able to expand storage as and when you need.
QualiSpace Tally on Cloud comes with following benefits:
- Demand-based RAM
- Provision to add multiple users
- Customised plans that suit variable storage and processing power requirements
So, even if your team members are working from different time zones from different continents, these tool kits will streamline the process of collaboration.