The Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Connecting Your Telework Team

The Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Connecting Your Telework Team

Old habits die hard, and with nearly 73 percent of teams anticipating remote workers by 2028, odds are your team collaboration strategies will need to evolve to support that. Remote collaboration tools will help your employees facilitate teamwork and collaboration, regardless of physical location, ultimately increasing productivity, ROI and workplace satisfaction. We’ll share our top recommendations on how to build out a complete digital workspace designed with success and growth in mind.

Tools You Need to Collaborate Remotely with Ease

Just like you wouldn’t have an office without desks, computers or phones, you want to ensure your team’s digital workspace is fully equipped to handle remote work collaboration. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so be sure to explore your options, discover what features fit your team’s needs, and build your custom solution for team collaboration. Here’s a glance at what you need to drive your business forward with minimal roadblocks:

– Customizable Tools
– Video Conferencing
– Instant Messaging
– Project Management Software
– Word Processing
– File Sharing

1) Customizable, Multi-Purpose Tools

The key to any successful group collaboration involves easy communication, streamlined processes and greater accessibility. When brought together, these elements create the perfect storm of form and function to catalyze growth. Examples of customizable digital tools include:

– Microsoft Teams
– Google Workspaces
– Miro

With these platforms, you can tweak the employee and manager interfaces to provide varying tools that make sense for your company’s particular needs. This also allows for flexibility in terms of the number of users, the size of the plan and the breadth of available features.

2) Video Conferencing Software

While there are many brands geared towards video conferencing, having a designated interface that allows for scalable user plans, call recording, and screen sharing are options that will help your team dramatically improve work from home collaboration. A lot of software can be integrated within multi-purpose tools, including:

– Zoom
– WebEx
– Microsoft Teams
– Google Hangouts

3) Instant Messaging Applications

Nothing will slow down productivity more than having to scroll through endless threads of communication to find the one piece of information you need. That’s why setting aside a designated space for your team to exchange less pertinent information and questions can clean up group collaboration threads. These apps also provide a look and feel similar to social media, which allows employees to express themselves creatively and improve connectivity all while minimizing crosstalk on important documents and threads. Examples include:

– Slack
– Microsoft Teams
– Facebook Workplace

4) Project Management Software

If you don’t utilize a centralized hub for remote collaboration, many projects can find themselves delayed or even worse — falling through the cracks. Even the most organized of employees could face productivity challenges if not given the right level of visibility on tasks and deliverables. Remote collaboration tools for project management include:

– Wrike
– JIRA
– Asana
– Trello
– Monday

These tools range from highly lightweight to robust options, so assess the number of users you’ll be adding into the platform and the metrics that can be tracked to stay on target. Additionally, note the options available for application integration to help streamline your internal software one step further.

5) Word Processing

Cloud-based word processors allow for all activity to easily remain on hand from any location. Not only do they allow for greater accessibility for your company, but they also provide an extra layer of real-time protection through the cloud’s storage and autosaving options. Some options for cloud-based word processors include:

– Google Docs
– Quip
– SharePoint
– OneDrive

6) File Sharing for Teamwork and Collaboration

Cloud storage can also come in handy with file sharing. Have you ever waited for your file to upload into an email for what feels like ages, only to be let down by an error message stating, “file exceeds maximum capacity”? Cloud-based file sharing eliminates the pesky file size limitations, while also enhancing data and collateral accessibility. If you’re interested in capitalizing on the cloud as a remote collaboration tool, check out:

– Dropbox
– Google Drive
– WeTransfer
– SharePoint

Explore Your Potential with Expert Support

Now that the physical limitations of your workplace are no longer in play, it’s time to expand your digital footprint along with it. However, you don’t have to fear this technological shift. We are here to provide expert IT support when you need it, how you need it. Let us remove the burden of the ever-changing technology updates, troubleshooting and support so you can focus on what matters most – scaling your business! If you want to learn more about the benefits of remote work collaboration tools, download the Ultimate Guide to Empowering Your Remote Workforce today.

4 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement for Remote Work

4 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement for Remote Work

Every type of organization faced challenges in 2020. Although there have been some difficult issues for most businesses in the last year, the best organizations learned many valuable lessons from the experience. Many successful companies have focused on employee engagement, which is one of the most critical factors in overall organizational success.

Why workforce engagement? A motivated remote workforce means increased productivity, better work quality and enhanced collaboration. When workers are motivated, they are happier. When they are happier, they produce their best work. Employee engagement is also directly linked to your company culture and your employee retention rate. This article will discuss how you can increase employee engagement even when your team is working from home. For more insight into remote work engagement, download the Ultimate Guide.

Start with the Basics

Organizational success begins with people, processes and technology. To address work-from-home motivation, first, you need to focus on the fundamentals.

People: What challenges do your workers face while working remotely? Most feel isolated. They think that they don’t get recognition for their hard work. It can also be a struggle for them to stay in touch with their co-workers. Make sure that your remote workforce feels valued. Be sure to keep regular contact with them. Reward them when they do a great job and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. When you focus on your people, you will build a great company culture and keep your team happy and motivated.

Processes: Working from home offers more flexibility to employees, which is the single best perk to this work arrangement. With that said, there still needs to be a framework in place for how your business operates. Establishing remote work company policies ensures everyone is on the same page. Start with a working document in the cloud and update it when needed. Setting guidelines for remote work establishes order and helps your team avoid burnout.

Technology: If you want to increase team engagement, it begins with communication. With the right collaboration tools, your team can be in constant contact. This will help them collaborate on projects instantly, improve their workflows and access everything they need to work from anywhere. If you want to motivate your team, you need to provide them with the best resources to achieve company objectives.

Once you have done these three things, here are five additional ways you can increase employee engagement.

Related: Are You Investing in the Latest Tech? Read More

1) Give Them the Best Tools

As we mentioned above, the technologies your team uses will directly impact their level of engagement. With a complete collaboration solution like Microsoft 365, your team will work smarter and faster in a shared workspace. Companies can communicate instantly in Microsoft Teams. They can synchronously edit in Word documents. They can access and share files through the cloud and work towards deadlines thanks to a project management tool. With the latest technology, the way remote teams work together is changing, so give your team the best tools to do their best work.

Related: Bolster Communication with the Right Tools

2) Pay Attention to Every Employee

Most employers believe that their remote team doesn’t want to be bothered by management. The truth is that most remote workers feel disconnected from their team and their supervisors. There are several ways you can show your team that you are invested in them even when they are out of the office. Set up one-on-one meetings through a video conferencing application. Send them prerecorded personalized messages thanking them for a job well done. Give them rewards through your HR platform or a rewards program like Bonusly. Company culture has never been more critical than it is today.

3) Host Social Events

Even when your entire workforce is working from home, you can still have a fun office environment. Communication tools can increase productivity, but they can also offer several fun and unique ways to engage in team-building exercises together. With video conferencing tools, you can host lunch-and-learns, office happy hours, holiday parties or coffee breaks. Take these virtual social events to the next level by sending everyone a gift card to use for the event. There are endless options to increase engagement outside of the typical workday. Let your team choose an activity and then put their plan into action.

Related: How Does Your Remote Team Collaborate?

4) Help Them Grow

Successful companies create a culture that fosters continuous development. With the right coaching and training initiatives, your workforce will build the skills they need to do their best work. Furthermore, your organization will benefit because your employees know that you believe in their potential. Fortunately, with the right technologies, you don’t need a huge budget to develop meaningful training programs for your team that increase engagement. Create training courses and offer e-learning programs in your cloud platform. Encourage your employees to create cross-training videos. Promote professional development courses and reward your team for obtaining credentials.

How an MSP Can Help

Technology will continue to play a crucial role in employee engagement for years to come. Whether your team is in the office, working remote part-time or all the time, the smartest companies will continue to find ways they increase productivity, improve work quality and deliver the best client satisfaction they can. A driving force to accomplishing all of these things is workforce motivation. Download the Ultimate Guide to Empowering Your Remote Team and learn how to increase employee engagement today.

Are You Missing These Essentials for 2021?

Are You Missing These Essentials for 2021?

The stage has been set for the professional world in 2021. Some companies have returned their staff to the office, while others plan to keep employees working remotely. In both situations, these organizations need reliable communications and collaboration solutions. With the right technologies in place, you can have the option to do whatever suits your business needs, plus experience the added benefits these technologies offer.

If you’re unsure where to begin, a trusted managed service provider (MSP) partner can help you wrap your head around the tech that best satisfies your needs and complements your bottom line. Invest in your communications and collaboration technology and prepare your company right for the new year.

Communications Q&A

Will your current technology adequately support your staff? Nearly all businesses struggled this year in finding workable solutions to moving their employees to remote work. Moreover, organizations that returned to the office found they couldn’t keep up with their client’s remote communication demands. If you aren’t sure where your communications and collaboration tech stands, consider these common questions and answers:

Q: How can I best communicate with my staff and clients?
A: A reliable VoIP solution will keep you in touch with everyone via video or voice over the internet.

Q: What’s the best cloud collaboration solution?
A: Microsoft’s SharePoint can become your secure collaboration and file storage hub.

Q: Can I keep my vital files and data protected?
A: Cybersecurity software like two-step authentication, VPNs and firewalls can keep your data protected no matter where it’s accessed.

Set your team up for success and expand your business when you get the communications and collaboration software you need.

Upgrade Your Tech, Decrease Downtime

The technology that enables you to have a remote staff has hidden benefits. These communications and collaboration solutions help mitigate downtime because they allow your team and data to remain useful, even when your primary office location or the tech within it have issues.

In a recent study by The Business Journals, they found the primary causes of downtime were caused by:

  • Hardware failures
  • Power or internet outages
  • Cybersecurity threats

With these vital technologies you invested in for remote work, you can also avoid these threats. Don’t let a natural disaster, cyberattack or other catastrophic event hurt your company’s success. Maximize your assets’ potential with guidance from your MSP.

CaaS Can Tie IT Together

The potential for these tools to benefit your organization is great, but if you aren’t sure where to find them or how to best use them, it could become more of a headache than it’s worth. Fortunately, you can keep your mind at ease and still get all of the benefits with CaaS or communications as a service.

Let an expert team of technology professionals plan, deploy and maintain your communications and collaboration technologies. This way, you can set your focus on growing your business backed by the right tools. With an MSP by your side, you can be sure all of your technology needs are met and then some.

We Have the Answers You Want

A solid communications and collaboration solution will set you up for success into 2021. Let us provide the CaaS you need so you can succeed in your day-to-day. We have the industry knowledge and experience to provide dependable IT solutions and services to your company.

Meet with us today so we can get started.

The Benefits of Communications as a Service

The Benefits of Communications as a Service

Every business leader searches for proven methods to improve their team’s ability to work together. A harmonious work environment allows for better quality work to be completed with greater efficiency. With the right tools in place, your team’s ability to communicate and collaborate increases exponentially – and it can be done without interrupting anyone’s daily responsibilities.

Communications as a Service (CaaS) is your ticket to ride the fastest means of transport to industry-leading communications and collaboration technology. Discover how partnering with an expert team will make your business work better with little to no downtime.

Some Things Never Change

Not everyone has a clear picture of what their business will look like this time next year. But certain aspects of your workday will still be around. Meetings aren’t going anywhere, and no matter if they happen in person, over video or conference call, you need the right technology to facilitate them all.

It’s a safe bet your employees won’t attend these meetings empty-handed either. With a holistic cloud solution, spreadsheets, PDFs and general documents of text can be securely shared over multiple devices in different locations.

With CaaS, reliable communications and collaboration technologies are at your fingertips. Give your team the ability to work together, no matter where they are located.

The Go-To Solution

The industry gold standard for internal and external communications for all great companies is the Microsoft Office suite. If your first thought goes to Excel and PowerPoint, then you’re missing out on the genuine advantages of this software.

Microsoft Office provides integrated solutions that connect the content and number-crunching programs you need with the most modern cloud technologies and reliable communications solutions. Introducing the two communications and collaboration standards:

  • With SharePoint, you can securely access, store, organize and share your documents from anywhere an internet connection is present.
  • Through Microsoft Teams, you will enjoy reliable direct messaging, video chat and internet phone in a single program.

Both platforms are a must for any organization searching for the best way to connect their team, be it remotely and in the office. But you don’t have to set them up on your own to get the workflow you want.

Let the Experts Handle It

Why worry about juggling your responsibilities and distracting your team with a complex data migration and new software? When you find a dependable technology partner, your company can get the communications and collaboration tech it needs without changing its daily operations. With CaaS, it’s very simple.

Your CaaS provider will meet with you to understand your goals and pain points so they can set you up with the workable solution you want with little to no downtime.

Let Us Provide Your CaaS

No matter what you have planned for the new year, a solid communications and collaboration solution will be the foundation on which you can build your success. We have the industry knowledge and experience to provide dependable CaaS to your company and support it as you grow.

Meet with us today so we can serve your communications and collaboration needs.

Improving Collaboration to Improve Productivity

Improving Collaboration to Improve Productivity

Team collaboration has never faced more challenges than the present day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses closed their doors. Others were required to move online and rely on remote capabilities. It’s easy for employees to feel disconnected when they’re anywhere from six feet to thousands of miles apart.

Businesses can keep their workforce closely connected by maximizing the latest technologies, tools and applications to enhance collaboration between team members. Let’s discuss the impact that new technologies can have on organizational productivity in 2020.

What’s Zoom?

A year ago, you may have asked this question, but today, you’re probably familiar with Zoom. Businesses have moved to virtual conference rooms offered by Zoom and Skype because they allow their entire staff to collaborate like never before. Video conferencing software not only personalizes the virtual meeting experience with live video chats, but it also enables instant messaging between team members, screen-share and recording capabilities, among other helpful features. When people can’t sit in the same conference room, video conferencing technology gives colleagues an outlet to connect, collaborate and improve their work culture.

My Apps Can Do That?

Most people are extremely familiar with Microsoft Office products. What they may not know is that they can take these applications to the next level through integration with a cloud-based system. Microsoft Office 365 offers a convenient, easy-to-use workspace that can be accessed anywhere. Employees can seamlessly access shared worksheets, utilize online storage space and get the most out of productivity applications that enable simultaneous collaboration. With Microsoft Office 365, your team can work smarter, more efficiently and stay connected thanks to innovative collaborative tools.

Why Do I Need a Chat Room?

You may think that a workplace chatroom would pose as a distraction to your team. The truth is that group chatrooms can increase productivity. When the physical workspace is compromised during a pandemic, businesses can move their communication and collaborative efforts to a centralized, virtual workspace where employees can connect in seconds. Business communication applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack allow employees to share files, communicate through group chats or video conferencing tools and collaborate easier. You can connect your favorite apps, create automated workflows, schedule calendar events and work together more efficiently.

Although businesses in every industry have faced many challenges in 2020, one lesson we have all learned is that business-related technology is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity. With the “new normal,” companies that adapt and evolve through innovative communication tools will continue to thrive in the future. The newest technologies can increase collaboration, which in turn, will increase operational productivity. Contact our team of experts today to get IT support that can connect your team from anywhere.

Get connected remotely. Contact us to get started.

Conquering Compliance: The Essential Checklist

Conquering Compliance: The Essential Checklist

When you think of data breaches, the first thing that comes to mind might be personal privacy concerns: Has my data been leaked? Did someone get my credit card number? My Social Security number? My medical records? But if you’re a small to medium-sized business, cybercrimes can wreak havoc on your compliance standing, ruin your finances and even force you to close your doors for good. To avoid expensive fines and lost time, it’s important to start thinking through compliance and taking proactive steps to see where you stand.

Getting compliance in order is easier when you consider a few key things. Addressing noncompliant behavior within your workforce is a good place to begin, but the next step is to get everything tech in check to secure your network and system. Doing so is the only way to protect data, prepare for a compliance audit, avoid hefty penalties — and protect your good reputation.

“Changes in the regulatory environment and risk landscape are constant and unpredictable, while businesses are making big bets on digital transformation and renewing focus on innovation. As a result, the consequences of poor risk management strategies are no longer confined to just settlements and fines, but include damage to brand and business growth.” – Gartner

Get a handle on compliance. Contact us today.

A Recipe for Compliance Success:

  • Read Up on New Regulations – If you know anything about HIPAA, PCI or SOX, you know regulations are always evolving. Being aware of critical changes to privacy policies is essential to compliance, so pay attention and skim tech blogs regularly.
  • Invest in Security Awareness Training (SAT) – If human error is responsible for the majority of data breaches, then training employees about cybersecurity and cyberthreats is paramount. Avert disaster by taking time to talk about technology and best practices.
  • Consider Mobile Device Management (MDM) – If you’re managing a remote workforce and using technology to support mobile employees, a large number of personal devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets will need to be protected. Secure them now.
  • Tighten Up Privacy Settings – If your chief concern is concealing personal identifying information from hackers and cybercriminals, secure your network with two-step authentication, restricted user access, strengthened firewalls and more.
  • Think About the Consequences – If all of this sounds overwhelming, take a moment to visualize the consequences you’d suffer if you’re caught breaking the rules. Nothing ruins your bottom line like costly fines that stem from ignoring regulations.
  • Seek Out Professional Guidance – After taking these factors into consideration, you should have a better idea about your risk for noncompliance and what you need to do next. At this point, businesses often find that a professional assessment is in order.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, how big your organization is and how much data it handles, it’s never a bad idea to prioritize compliance concerns now and avoid trouble down the road. You don’t need an entire IT department to get the job done, but staying compliant is definitely easier with a trusted tech partner in your corner.

Need Some Help?

If you’re ready to get serious about compliance, partnering with IT professionals who can step in and provide expert IT support is always a responsible decision. Every business is unique, which is why you’ll want to work with someone who possesses in-depth knowledge of your industry and understands what it takes for your business to stay compliant. Contact us to learn more about how we help businesses like yours conquer compliance and cybersecurity concerns for good.