Working remotely? Here’s how to work smarter, not harder.
Remote working is on the rise, rapidly becoming a norm. Technology and a changing attitude towards the offsite office supports the trend but can also present challenges in the form of higher expectations. Read on to learn how today’s remote worker – and employers – can use today’s apps and remote working tools to work smarter, and more efficiently.
Who’s in-house, and who’s at-home?
More and more American workers are spending the day in fuzzy slippers – fielding calls, creating and sending documents and being more efficient to boot.
The remote workers utility belt.
Working on the road, at home or at a mobile hotspot only works when you can actually get work done. Apps and tools now enable instant access to the latest files, support simultaneous team collaboration, and connect us with co-workers all over the globe to communicate and move work forward. Here are some tips for working remotely along with the tools you need for optimum productivity:
Remote working tools to keep you connected:
Fast, reliable internet and back up mobile hotspot(s) are essential and with access so readily available you don’t need to worry about weak connections or small data packages.
Remote desktop apps provide a secure connection to a computer at another location and enable viewing of your device by others outside of the remote working space. A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network securely across a public network for use with a laptop, desktop, or smartphone.
Real-time communication apps run the gamut from simple mobile instant messaging apps to sophisticated software to deliver video conferences, the ability to collaborate on shared files (sharing your screen), and team/single chat.
Remote collaboration software offers users the flexibility of working “together while apart”; online office suites allow simultaneous editing, and shared file storage apps like Dropbox and OneDrive give ready access to documents. Cloud-ready printers like Xerox® ConnectKey® printers let you download, share, print, scan, distribute and even translate documents on the go from anywhere, via laptop, tablet or smart phone.
Keep your projects moving:
Project management software is as common as post-it notes and as easy to use. Choose your favorite based on how you best like to track your to-do list. Note-taking and web-clipping apps like Evernote and OneNote help organize a multitude of information and make it shareable.
Virtual workspace tools offer a central hub for remote members to store shared files and join in discussion forums, calendars and to-do lists, or go old school and download our attractive printable calendars.
Keep your files secure with file disk encryption software and always backup your files. Use a password manager and utilize Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for a second layer of password protection. And make sure your digital data is safeguarded as you share it via the cloud and mobile devices.
Is working remotely right for you?
There are numerous considerations to weigh if you’re thinking of going remote, or if you’re an employer deciding if enabling remote work teams makes sense (cost- and efficiency-wise). For the latter, studies show greater productivity along with greater work-life balance and overall job satisfaction. It also costs less to bring remote employees onboard and widens the prospects pool.
For freelancers, contractors and those whose jobs require frequent travel, setting up shop remotely is second nature, and usually preferred. But working “outside the cube” has its challenges: unless you are practiced at handling distractions, disciplined to remain focused, self-motivated and a champion organizer you may run into problems. If your job allows telecommuting, consider a test run of a few days a week to test the waters.
Digital communication, collaboration and mobile tools are advancing everyday, empowering workers to do more than ever before – and feel better doing it. Maybe it’s time you give it a try?
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