The pandemic accelerated the inevitable – the option for remote work becomes almost a mandatory item in every job offer. As the list of location-independent professions expands, this kind of flexible work arrangement stops being seen as a mere benefit. Employees realize that if their work can be done from home, then they should be allowed to do it from home. Businesses that were not ready for this revolution might still struggle with maintaining a productive remote work culture. Luckily, there is no shortage of tools for companies that want to reap the full benefits of having a distributed workforce. And what benefits exactly can business owners expect?
Happier, less distracted, and more loyal employees
According to a study by Stanford Business, companies that switched to a hybrid model of cooperation (one weekday at the office and four remote) noticed a 13% increase in workers’ performance. The flexible arrangement makes it easier for employees to clock in the full 8 hours. What is more, the safety and convenience of a home office seem to increase job satisfaction, judging by the 50% drop in the number of sick leaves and resignations filed.
This is just one of the many recent studies showing that hybrid or remote work can and should be the new standard, even in the post-pandemic reality. What can you do, as an employer, to help your workers thrive during home office hours in 2022?
What type of software is best for remote work?
The backbone of productive remote work culture is software that is available from any device and allows seamless communication between workers scattered around the globe. The only type of remote work software that can guarantee flexibility and convenience while leaving the control over the company’s data security in your hands is cloud-based SaaS (software as a service).
To name just a few advantages cloud applications have over traditional, local software: cloud-based remote work software…
- …is accessible via a web browser – at first glance, a web application looks like a regular web page. While websites usually serve an informational function, applications are highly interactive, allow users to perform complex operations, and safely store data in the cloud.
- …works on any OS – all you need is an internet connection; web software works on Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, and any other platform you could think of.
- …doesn’t require installation – web software won’t take space on a hard drive. Licenses are assigned to accounts, not devices so users can access data and files stored in the cloud from anywhere in the world.
- …is constantly evolving – web apps always keep up with the ever-changing needs of businesses because developers can continuously collect customer feedback and release gradual improvements. No manual updating is required.
- …can be customized – every popular cloud app has a community of passionate innovators that develop add-ons or integrations with other services. Thanks to this, you can adjust the app to your company’s needs. Just visit a marketplace with free and paid extensions to choose additional building blocks that will help you construct a unique array of functionalities.
- …speeds up teamwork – while local offline office programs still might be the best choice for individualists, project teams should opt for cloud-based productivity software to achieve a more dynamic workflow. Most business-class web file editor apps allow many users to cooperate while changes made by others are visible in real-time. Moreover, they keep a detailed record of modifications, so previous versions of any file can be restored if, at some point, things go south.
The most popular cloud apps for remote work in 2022
There are many examples of web-based software that can boost the productivity of hybrid and remote workers in your company. We’ve gathered the most popular ones and broken them down into categories.
- Collaboration-friendly file editors – Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep (all available in Google Workspace packages) or online editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (sold in Microsoft 365 suites).
- File storage in the cloud – Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox.
- Software for project management – Trello, Asana, Jira, GitLab.
- Tools for asynchronous communication (business email services and internal social platforms) – Gmail, Google Groups, Outlook, Workplace from Meta, Notion.
- Tools for synchronous communication (videoconferencing and quick chat) – Google Meet, Google Chat, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom.
- Time tracking software – Toggl Track, Clockify, TMetric.
- Customer support and ticketing systems – Zendesk, Freshdesk, Livechat.
How to pick software for a productive remote work environment?
As you can see, there are plenty of options. Most of the popular cloud apps mentioned above are available as subscription services without long-term commitments. Of course, you could test them all at once, or one-by-one, to let your employees pick the software that best supports them in completing their daily tasks from home – but we would discourage that.
To ensure cost-effectiveness and avoid subscription fatigue, prioritize coherence. If you have an opportunity to build a remote work ecosystem from the ground up, then choose a base office productivity software and gradually add other compatible web services. When making the first steps, take into account:
- The size and nature of your organization – the number of employees and units, as well as the style of process management in your company, affects whether you need more modern or traditional office software.
- Employees’ habits – which e-mail provider do your workers use privately, and which tools are already familiar to them? It wouldn’t hurt to ask, especially if you want to minimize time spent on training your remote workforce.
- Dynamics in teams – how often do several people need to work on one file? If everyone is creating documents independently, then consider a suite that offers both web and local software, while for collaborative teams, it will be more convenient to use only web-based tools.
What to choose if your employees have very diverse work styles and habits? In this situation, we would recommend you to try Google Workspace. Learning to use web productivity software from this suite is easy, while other programs may have a high entry threshold.
Why Google Workspace?
Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-native office applications for business. It contains all the necessary tools for daily work: spam-free Gmail accounts with a custom domain, storage space on Google Drive, video conferencing in Google Meet, team spaces and one-on-one text messaging in Google Chat, as well as online file editing apps: Sheets, Docs, Slides, Forms, Sites. All the management, security, and compliance features are accessible to system administrators via a convenient Google Admin console.
Guidance of a trusted partner
If you feel ready to test all the possibilities of this service, then FOTC, a Google Cloud Partner, can offer you 30 days of the free trial period and profitable discounts afterward. But not only that – there are many more benefits of working with a partner than just a good price. Our team of certified cloud software experts will guide you through the initial configuration of Google Workspace and conduct data migration from the previous e-mail solution. Whenever a question pops in the mind of any administrator from your company, our support team will be ready to answer it – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus, we can help your employees to ease into remote work in the new software by organizing online training sessions and providing educational materials. Schedule a consulting appointment with FOTC specialists to learn more about the Google Cloud ecosystem.