How Top Companies are Hacking Remote Work During the Pandemic

·3 min read

Startup Fortune, October 7, 2020: Working remotely as a team is all the rage in 2020, and organizations of all shapes and sizes have been tasked with finding solutions for maintaining employee communication and collaboration. While many organizations have opted for video-focused platforms like Zoom or GoToMeeting, a true virtual office environment requires much more than just facetime.

A wide array of discussions have popped up online attempting to pinpoint the ideal software for remote teams. Through these conversations, one thing has become clear: remote employees, executives, and team members have a need for more than just email, chat, and video; what they desire is actual collaborative tools that allow them to work together on the fly.

Government restrictions, such as the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ban on using Zoom have also created the need for workarounds. Government employees have turned to options like Google Slides, Ring Central, Padlet, Miro, Mural, or Trello, when they need to collaborate on documents live, while also participating in video chat or text chat.

Meanwhile, some private businesses like Recruiter.com, have turned to a hodgepodge of apps to string together what they need. Recruiter representative Miles Jennings told Business.com that his firm combines Skype, Google Docs, and Wrike to get what it needs. Skype lets them conference call while they work together on a document in a separate window in Google Docs. They round out their work sessions with Wrike for project management and task assignment and monitoring. The latter lets them direct message one another with an automatic reference to the task. It also organizes the messages in an activity stream to keep every communication in the proper context.

However, Sam Keninger of Simpplr, a leader in intranet software, suggests that this practice may increase employee frustration, “Employees are lonely and miss social interactions, so we’re seeing a resurgence of social collaboration on team building and affinity sites. We’re also seeing that working from home has amplified the employee’s frustration with having to find information spread across too many different apps.”

Top organizations like FOX, Docusign and Quantcast are leveraging the Intranet option that Simpplr provides. The cloud-based option combines the branding utility of an intranet with multi-channel communications including email, SMS, newsletters, and employee profiles. It’s backed by the power of an API that lets the organization pull in content and chats from Chatter, Slack, and Teams. Managers can build teams and set user permissions for specific projects, chat rooms, and on-platform publications.

Simpplr’s integrations do not stop there; the cloud app comes pre-integrated with Atlassian, Box, Google Shared Drive, Office 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Vimeo, Workday, and YouTube, all of which make remote collaboration and communication a breeze. The platform also offers Android and iOS apps, so employees can easily work on the go.

“The modern intranet isn’t trying to replace everything, but it does make the employee experience easier by creating a one-stop shop that serves as the front door to the broader digital workplace,” adds Keninger.

But not every organization needs such a robust solution. Ajax Union uses Basecamp, which doesn’t include the Intranet options, but does allow intra-office and inter-office communications. Basecamp allows teams to communicate on projects as well as reach out to clients to confer on projects.

Similarly, those who only need chat and file sharing often turn to Slack. Though for some it provides information overload, many find its searchable chats handy for collaboration.

The bottom line is that remote work tools aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Some organizations require robust solutions, while others may only need a simple project management software. Regardless of where your organization falls on that scale, it’s important to do your research like the future of your business depends on it. Because it does.

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