The best online tools to help your business adjust to remote working

Category: News

The last 18 months have presented a unique set of challenges for business owners. Lockdowns and the furlough scheme impacted companies differently across regions and sectors and as the country reopens, the landscape for many industries looks irrevocably changed.

If you adapted your business to allow employees to work from home during lockdown, you might be maintaining some flexibility now that restrictions have been lifted.

Despite the hopes of the chancellor and the business secretary, many office-based workers are hoping to continue working remotely and that could mean employers making their Covid adaptations long-term.

Thankfully, many online tools can make communication easy, aiding collaboration and ensuring that your team continue to be social and creative, even if they are no longer in the same building.

Here are some of the best.

For online meetings: Zoom versus Microsoft Teams

Lockdown saw a massive rise in the use of video-conferencing software. And while both Zoom and Microsoft Teams led the way, it was Zoom that ultimately beat its rival during lockdown.

Both are great for ease of booking and conducting meetings with multiple attendees, whether for brief daily catchups or lengthy client meetings. Both also offer text chat, screen sharing, and the option to record meetings for later playback.

While Teams allow you to integrate with other Microsoft 365 apps such as OneDrive, Zoom has the easier-to-use interface and has focused on providing seamless web-conferencing.

The apps also both provide generous free options with enough functionality for most casual and business users, making both a great option.

For online messaging: Slack versus Ryver

For those times when a pre-booked video call isn’t necessary or desirable, there are plenty of online messaging tools to relay quick messages and reminders.

Slack is one of the most popular, but it has competition from the Ryver app, among others.

Both pieces of software allow chats to be categorised and organised into different teams, projects, or channels and both allow users to filter the content in a given channel.

Users can turn notifications on and off to avoid messages that aren’t relevant to them and keep channels private to ensure only those authorised to view the information in a given channel can see it.

Ryver’s easy to use interface organises messages into a newsfeed and integrates a task-management system. While the app tries to be as much about productivity as it is about ensuring your team remain sociable, the task management interface can get overly complicated.

Slack on the other hand remains a simple communications app, allowing your team to chat easily and effectively, via messaging, or over video calls. It is a great way to ensure your employees stay in regular social – and business – contact.

For project management: Trello versus Podio

There are many online tools out there to help you and your business stay on top of projects and collaborative tasks. Trello is one of the most popular, but Podio has similar functionality and a similarly impressive free option.

Trello counts Google and eBay among its users and is great for breaking down complex and unwieldy projects into smaller and simpler tasks.

Set up “boards” for each project – or phase of a project – and then assign each board separate “cards” to break down tasks into individual deadlines or milestones. You can share progress, add attachments, and create in-app reminders to ensure each stage of the project remains on track.

Podio contains much of the same functionality but makes greater use of chat functions to allow your team to stay in constant contact.

Making use of “workspaces” in place of Trello’s boards, Podio’s interface isn’t the prettiest, but it is easy to use and intuitive. Although you can add “extensions” to help integrate the app with other software, be aware that many of these extensions come at an additional cost.

The right option for you

Whether you navigated your business through the height of the coronavirus lockdowns or are looking to start a new business as the country reopens, you may need to operate differently than before the pandemic.

As more and more companies and employees look to incorporate flexibility into their working lives, reliance on digital software will continue to grow. Online tools can help your team to collaborate, communicate, and remain creative wherever they are.

It can be used for social interaction too, ensuring employee morale remains high.

Picking the right online tool for you might not be easy. Be sure to research each and think about the functionality you need. While software that focuses on one task will often do that task the best, apps that combine multiple elements may give greater flexibility.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your personal or business financial plans, we are here to help. Please email or call us on 020 8891 0711 to discuss how Globe IFA’s expert financial advisors can help you.