Much has been written about the digital workplace. Some remaine tethered to the past and insist on workers being in office five days a week. I actually know of one Silicon Valley-based technology company that assigns “work monitors” to take roll every day, verifying and reporting if a worker was at her or his desk at 9 a.m. every morning and at 5 p.m. every afternoon. It should come as no surprise that the company’s stock hovers at single digits, and it struggles to retain and recruit quality workers.
Yet, despite laggards such as the aforementioned company, many companies recognize the power of offer their workers flexible work options (remote entirely and hybrid scenarios). And solopreneurs and small businesses are at the forefront when it comes to adoption of the digital workplace. The benefits have been documented by numerous studies. Some of the most prominent findings include:
- Improved productivity; studies show remote workers or those with flexible work options perform 25% to 43% better than workers who don’t have these options
- Lower costs (less office space and surrounding expenses)
- Better employee retention rates
- Easier to recruit top talent
- Higher employee engagement, morale, and even health
Whether you’re traveling and working remote or a worker who works remote all of the time, these tools can assist you:
1. Team Chat.
Chat solutions for teams can boost productivity by streamlining the sharing of information and facilitating collaboration between team members. There are various options such as Slack, HipChat, Workplace by Facebook, Skype, among others that are easy to use and offer users a wide range of functionality that scales to support expanding business requirements.
2. Conferencing Services.
Remote workers need unified communications solutions that provide video and audio conferencing. There are a lot of providers in the space such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Join.me, among many others, and organizations need to carefully vet them against business requirements (recording, transcription, integrated chat, etc.).
3. Project Management.
Remote workers—and on-premise as well—require project management tools that enable you to manage tasks and workflows across diverse teams consisting of employees, partners, and customers. There are a number of options here such as JIRA, Trello, Asana, and other tools.
4. Productivity Tools.
While project management tools are quite effective in managing and tracking projects, they aren’t as useful when it comes to individual worker productivity. This is where tools such as Todoist, iDoneThis, and Apple Notes, among others can be quite helpful.
5. Cloud Storage and Collaboration.
Cloud storage and collaboration tools have become a mainstay for many businesses, and they are a critical enabler for remote workers. The most prevalent solutions in this area include Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
6. Coworking, Day Offices, and Conference Rooms.
When traveling, solopreneurs and small business leaders sometimes need temporary day offices, coworking space, and/or conference rooms. And for workers, both those who work remote 100 percent of the time, as well as those who do so some of the time, coworking, day office, and conference room space provide them gives the flexibility to host meetings (partner, customer, or employee) in a professional meeting space or use a temporary day office or coworking space.
7. Virtual Assistants.
In a recent post, I spelled out some of the most common use cases for virtual assistants. Solopreneurs and small businesses can gain significant advantages by tapping them. For solopreneurs, a virtual assistant ensures that incoming calls, emails, texts, and live web chats will be answered. For remote workers, virtual assistants allow them to offload administrative tasks so they can focus on business-critical initiatives.
The digital age is transforming the workplace, and as more workers go remote, the number of tools available will grow. Solopreneurs and small business leaders will be wise to keep tabs on those they can use today.
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