by Gabbi Hall, NCET’s VP of Blog Content
Last month, in the early days of social distancing and working from home, you may have caught my article with a list of free collaboration tools that make remote work easier. That was just a taste of what’s out there from general communication tools to industry-specific software. So, how do you choose the right tools for your company?
What Problem am I Trying to Solve?
First things first, what’s the problem? Here’s a not-so-hypothetical scenario: In an office, you go ask a quick question by leaning over a co-worker’s desk on your way to a meeting. Now, your “quick questions” are getting lost in a flurry of emails and go unanswered for hours. The solution could be some sort of instant messaging tool like Slack or Google Chat.
If you’re already using tools like Google Suite, then Google Chat and Meet are no brainers for instant messaging and quick, on-the-spot video syncs. There’s no need to invest in new software and overload your team with too many open windows on their computer. If you’re not using one of these, you might want to consider a tool like Slack.
The bottom line is: Identify your problem, check your existing tools to see if the solution exists, and if need be, add a new tool. But don’t just add tech for the sake of adding a shiny new toy, when the solution may be in your back pocket.
Do I Want to Spend Money?
Having your entire company working from home might be new now, but look ahead. Could this be the new normal once the crisis has ended? When we are able to return to our offices, will we have more flexible work from home policies?
The timeline could make all the difference in whether you spend money on a solution or not. Sure, you can use the free version Slack without all the bells and whistles, or you plan to use it long-term and upgrade and get access to group video calls, screen sharing, and more.
Bottom line: While looking for solutions, consider how long you’ll need the solution for, then choose a budget. Play the long game.
Which Companies are Offering Free Trials?
Companies are stepping up to help each other, and that makes it a great time to test platforms. More than 100 technology companies are offering free access to their products for anywhere from 30 days to 6 months to “until this is over.” For example, Comcast is offering free access to its 1.5 million Xfinity Wifi hotspots. HR companies like Breezy are offering video assessments and live video interviewing capabilities free of charge for at least 60 days.
Get even more ideas to make working from home easier during Gabbi’s “Tools and Tips to Make Your Team More Effective” presentation at NCET’s online Biz Cafe at 3 pm on April 29, 2020. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. More info at www.NCETcafe.org.
Reno transplant Gabbi Hall is a senior copywriter at Noble Studios and NCET’s VP of Blog Content. Gabbi is a “Jackie of All Trades” and knows how to tell a story on any platform!