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The 7 Essential Tools You Need to Work From Home

Aaron Cunnington

With 17+ years of Australian and international experience, Aaron is a seasoned digital executive, leader, and strategist. Known for his positive attitude, generosity, and sense of humour.

November 5th, 2020

There are literally thousands of work from home products, platforms and tools available to help Australians work from home. However, you really only need a handful of essentials to create an effective and enduring work from home set up.

These essential tools eliminate the most common challenges of managing a remote workforce, by breaking down the distance barrier and providing safe and secure access to everything your people need to do their best work from home.

Here are 7 tools that will get you properly set up to work from home, and how we at the Cloud Collective can help you implement them…

1. Cloud storage and file sharing

When you work in the office, you take for granted the ability to access all the files, folders and applications you need to do your work.

But in a modern world, restricting people’s ability to do great work to a single location is counterintuitive. Enabling staff to work from anywhere and at any time invites significant increases in productivity and efficiency – not to mention the cultural benefits of empowering people to take responsibility for their own work outcomes.

While virtual private networks (VPNs) are still a valid solution for accessing files and folders remotely, the capabilities and security of cloud computing has made it the preferred option for businesses across the globe.

Why Cloud Collective?

When you’ve been working with ageing technology, migrating to the cloud can feel like an insurmountable task. This is why it’s crucial to get experts on board who can:

  • Assess your current systems
  • Discuss potential solutions
  • Develop a migration plan
  • Manage the migration with minimal impact to users

We are cloud experts and, as a whole, bring together some of the brightest minds in Australia for cloud technology. We can help you transition from a completely outdated setup to a hybrid or 100% cloud operating environment that facilitates best practice remote working.

2. Unified communications platform

Working from home doesn’t have to be isolating, and there are many fantastic platforms to keep staff connected and information and ideas flowing.

One of the most popular unified communications platforms is Microsoft Teams. In early 2020, Microsoft announced that 91% of large companies in the United States use Teams. As part of Microsoft’s 365 for business, Microsoft Teams takes communication and collaboration to the next level with:

  • the ability to create Teams for working groups, departments, etc.
  • real time messaging
  • video conferencing
  • file upload and sharing
  • integrated calendars
  • project management tools

Of course, there are other platforms that offer various features similar to Microsoft Teams, so the important thing is to find a unified communications platform that delivers everything your business needs the way you need it.

Why Cloud Collective?

The Cloud Collective are Microsoft Gold partners which means we are trusted at the highest level to deliver best practice products and services that leverage the Microsoft tech stack.

We also have extensive experience across other platforms and can help you select and implement the best unified communications platform for your business.

You can also count on us to deliver high quality and timely training – both initially to boost user uptake, and ongoing as you welcome new staff and the platform features are updated.

3. Video conferencing

Video conferencing in 2020 took on a life of its own, as people everywhere experimented with the benefits of replacing physical meetings with virtual meetings.

The results have been astronomical, with countless organisations reporting higher productivity, less wasted time, and an ability to augment their service delivery in a way that supports servicing a greater number of customers and in a more personal way.

To get the best possible video conferencing experience you need the right tools. Otherwise you’re likely to experience drop outs, low quality audio and visuals, and even difficulty scheduling meetings and sending invites.

Why Cloud Collective?

We are home to a cohort of video conferencing experts who understand the systems and tools you need to maximise your video conferencing experience.

Ask us how we can help you:

  • select the right video conferencing platform
  • source nifty devices that enhance your audio and visuals
  • deliver training to improve user adoption and experience

We can also help you deck out your office meeting rooms with the equipment needed to conduct next gen video conferences that bridge the gap between staff who are located across the country and overseas.

4. Cloud telephony

There’s been a huge shift to cloud telephony in 2020, due to its cost effectiveness and reliability.

Old VoIP systems simply weren’t designed to support remote working at scale, so many people who work from home often rely heavily on their mobiles. This then removes the professionality of direct landlines and filtering calls through reception staff.

Cloud telephony is essentially “new age VoIP” and is capable of removing all of these challenges by offering a highly mobile, flexible, scalable and reliable telephony solution. Essentially, any device with an internet connection is then able to make and receive calls (even a desktop) – and all calls are directed straight to the appropriate person, be it an office manager or a direct line through to an individual staff member.

Why Cloud Collective?

As cloud experts, we are highly skilled in deploying A-grade cloud telephony systems with little to no disruption to staff.

We can show you how to overhaul anything from an old analog or superseded VoIP setup to the latest cloud telephony solutions.  You can also ask us to provide nationwide remote training so staff are quickly onboarded to the new system and know how to use it for maximum benefit and ease.

5. Quality devices

Protecting the health of your staff when they work from home is as important as when they work in the office. This means checking that they have access to a sturdy table, ergonomic chair, desktop or laptop, and mouse.  Other devices that improve the experience of working from home include:

  • headsets
  • speakerphones
  • USB video cameras

These can all make a big difference to the ease of communication – which is essential if you want staff to feel good about jumping on the phone with each other, attending virtual meetings, setting video conferences with clients, and so on.

Why Cloud Collective?

Smart tech devices are only worthwhile when you have quality foundations in place. Ask us how we can audit your entire remote working environment to ensure it is as efficient and supportive as possible.

We can then source handy extra such as headsets and speakerphones to maximise your team’s work from home experience.

6. Threat protection

There are definite risks to working from home if you don’t have the appropriate security to protect your data. This includes how information is stored and accessed, and the real time monitoring of penetration attempts by malicious entities.

Effective threat protection also involves policies and training so staff know how they should work to keep your proprietary information safe.

Why Cloud Collective?

We offer comprehensive remote working security solutions that deliver the necessary elements your business needs, based on how your people work.

This includes:

  • Access and identity management
  • Endpoint protection
  • Modern device management
  • Compliance
  • Policy creation and training

For a confidential discussion on how to implement best practice security for remote working, simply call us on (02) 8966 1496.

7. Purpose-built applications like chatbots

Purpose-built applications are essential remote working tools for some businesses because they help address specific needs or concerns so remote work is not only possible, but viable.

The other attractive benefit of purpose-built applications is the ability to maximise the return on investment from your work from home solutions.

For example, a purpose-built chatbot deployed within Microsoft Teams is a highly effective way for staff to self-serve and get instant answers to important questions while working from home.

Another purpose-built tool could include a data analytics application that is deployed within your unified communications platform (such as Microsoft Teams) and reports back valuable insights, such as:

  • how people are using the platform
  • how people relate to each other on the platform
  • what questions people are asking
  • what words are trending (i.e.: employee sentiment)

Why Cloud Collective?

We have extensive experience developing purpose-built applications that suit the unique needs of a variety of use cases and industries. Our clients are often astounded by what’s possible, and the extent to which they can improve their use of certain platforms in a way that delivers unprecedented insights, productivity benefits, cost savings, and more.

To find out what’s possible in your organisation – even if you’re not sure where to start – get in touch.

What does working remotely mean?

Working remotely basically means working anywhere that is away from an organisation’s normal office.

People who work remotely may be working in the field, at home, in a café, at an airport, at a client’s location, or anywhere else.

To be able to access all the files and applications a person may need while they are working away from the office, there must be appropriate systems in place to support remote working.

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