Working from home is one of those longed-for perks where the reality doesn’t quite merge with expectations, at least not initially. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing even those who never hankered to work from home to do just that, the entire structure of our professional lives has changed so like it or not, we’re all having to get used to remote working.
For some industries, things may never be the same with experts already predicting a sea change to working patterns. After all, millions of people have spent the last few months proving that yes, in fact they can work from home. Twitter made headlines last week by saying it has already told employees around the world they can choose to stay at home and work there permanently if they want to, even when offices open back up.
The benchmark Raconteur Remote Working 2020 report paints a rosy picture, with 80% of remote workers claiming to be happy with their jobs, versus just 55% of those who work on-site. 77% also say their health and wellbeing has improved and 97% would recommend working from home to others. Home workers say that on average, they have increased productivity by 37%.
However, this doesn’t detract from the fact that working from home is very different to being in an office. While collaboration is naturally facilitated by being in the same physical space as your co-workers, the distance of working from home can lead to ‘lone wolf’ syndrome, where it’s easy to forget you’re part of a larger team. It’s also much harder when you’re sat at home to get input from a colleague elsewhere. You can’t just pop over to their desk or schedule an impromptu brainstorming session in the meeting room. When you’re in the comfort of your own home, it’s easier to screen your calls, which can leave co-workers waiting on your input.
No system is perfect of course but, thanks to advances in technology, there is a wealth of ways to bring remote working collaboration up to the same standard as on-site practises.
If your project is stalling because it’s harder to get real-time input when working remotely, try Slack. This well-established messaging app is perfect for dispersed teams and you can create specific rooms for designated groups, projects or business units.
Microsoft Teams brings communication and collaboration together in one smart interface, removing any barriers to project management and team cooperation. With video and voice calls, messaging and file sharing plus file storage and integration with other apps, it’s a central hub which unites every member of your team, no matter their location.
The web-based Join.Me makes a name for itself by requiring no downloads and no apps. It’s essentially an online meetings service, so you can brainstorm and catch up online, quickly and easily. Its mission statement is simple and perfect if you want to ease into working more collaboratively. It says, “We’re a collaboration tool designed to cut through pointless processes, politics and protocols with a single click. We help you, your team and your company by making collaboration simple, instant and continuous.”
Zoom is both web and app based and offers a range of collaboration tools. It has free and subscription options for its suite of services, including online meetings, webinars, video and voice calls, virtual conference rooms and cross-platform messaging apps.