With everyone scrambling to collaborate remotely perhaps now more than ever we need to think about the way we work. So for this article, I thought it might be helpful to put together some practical advice that outlines the tips that can guide your business, and your teams, to prosper during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

But first, a few numbers. We were moving toward remote work, even before COVID-19 forced many companies to consider remote-work options. Analysis done by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analyticsbefore the pandemic hit our nation, I might add—found that there has been a major upward trend in the amount of people working remotely in the U.S. The report found in the span of one year, from 2016 to 2017, remote work grew 7.9%. During the last five years it grew 44% and from the previous 10 years it grew a whopping 91%.

Here’s where it gets interesting. According to the IWG Global Workspace Survey, roughly 85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their company because of greater flexibility. In fact, it is calling this “generation flex.” Here are my Top 10 Tips for using the right tech tools to collaborate with teams when working remotely to make sure you are running at optimum speed.

  1. Use a virtual meeting platform. Do consider which meeting platform you will use. A few of the big ones with video chat functionality include Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. Another one you might not know is Loom; it lets you share messages via video. Other video-conferencing tools people are more familiar include the more traditional tools like Skype to help people not feel so isolated and connected to colleagues.
  2. Share files and data. Project-management technology is something that everyone should be looking to be using. Asana is a tool that enables users to easily work with other tools and track and manage projects. For those just looking to get started, consider something like Basecamp or Trello. Dropbox is also a tool that has often been used in many industries.
  3. Share your calendar. Perhaps one of the best ways to do this is with the platform you already have in place. However, if you are considering a new solution, Teamup is one example. I personally enjoy it.
  4. Manage your team’s to-do list. Again, if you aren’t already sharing your team’s to-do lists in your project-management platform, consider using a shared platform. Some of these include Trello, Microsoft To-Do, or TickTick.
  5. Track your (or your team’s) time. Tracking your time (or your team’s time) is one of the best ways to improve productivity when working remotely. Instead of getting lost down the social media or internet rabbit hole, time tracking can help you best understand where your time goes, thus enabling you to use it better in the future. Consider tech such as Toggl or Clockify.
  6. Make sure to use apps. Now, the majority of the tools I mentioned above have apps or desktop versions, but I want to urge you to consider apps like Slack and others to keep you connected. Mobility is key, even when working remotely. Being able to connect to your platform via your phone could become vital, especially if your home’s Wi-Fi goes out.
  7. Tap into your cloud. Good news for readers, we have been talking about cloud computing for years, and many companies have already moved to a cloud-based environment. Hopefully your company made the move to the cloud before this pandemic took hold. Now is the time to tap into the data you are putting the cloud.
  8. Consider unified communications. Unified communications is a phone system that integrated multiple communication methods within a business. It automates and unifies human and device communication. Cisco is one such company that offers unified communications and collaboration tools.
  9. Look to the future, with telepresence and virtual assistants. Our feature on Connected World in February was on voice assistants and the Internet of Skills. Emerging technologies are available today to help you take your business to the next level.
  10. Continue to use the tech in the years ahead. My final tip to you is to choose solutions that will continue to serve your company even after this pandemic subsides.

Here is an opportunity to implement technology tools to improve communication and collaboration. As the IWG Global Workspace Survey shows, there are significant benefits to remote workers and companies. In addition to improving productivity and efficiency, it shows that 65% of businesses say flexible workspace reduce CapEx and OpEx, help manage risk, and other benefits. If you are going to implement new tech for remote workers, make sure you do it for the long term.

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