6 Tech Trends that are Changing the Remote Work Game
It’s no surprise that remote work has become a new norm across the globe. An influx of businesses has implemented remote work practices in the past few months, now allowing employees to work from home or other locations outside of the traditional office setting.
As more companies begin allowing remote work, it appears that the trend is here to stay.
While the benefits of remote work are clear–flexible work schedules, an increase in job candidates, and a healthier workplace–there are some downsides to consider. The ability to interact with coworkers, manage employees, and maintain productivity can all be more difficult when working remotely, than in the office.
Luckily, a variety of technologies are changing the remote work game by making out-of-office work a lot more like working in the office. Keep reading to find out what technologies can improve any company’s remote work experience.
1. Virtual Communication Tools
Virtual communication tools are essential for making remote work a good experience. While traditional email and phone calls can get a company by for a few weeks, employees will quickly start to see the negative impacts of not being able to communicate with coworkers on a more personal level. A great way to avoid this is to implement the proper tools–like web conferencing platforms and chat apps–to promote regular communication across the workplace.
Web conferencing platforms like Zoom can be used to hold both formal and informal meetings from any location. Employees can use this technology to have informal coffee breaks with coworkers or to have client meetings. A web conferencing system allows users to see each other in real-time, which can reinforce coworker relationships and company-wide morale.
In addition to web conferencing, employees should have access to chat apps that allow them to ask managers or coworkers questions in real-time. Instead of waiting for an email to be delivered, with the chance that a coworker doesn’t check it for hours, employees can utilize chat apps to send a quick reminder, question, or thought with the response rate being much higher. Not only are employees more likely to get a speedy response, but they’re also able to engage in an informal conversation the way they would in-office.
Strong communication is essential for any business to have success, but it is especially important for companies to implement across remote teams where communication is more difficult.
2. Process Automation Bots
Staying productive can be difficult for employees when working in a remote environment, especially when they have a variety of different, mundane tasks to complete daily. One way businesses, or even individual employees, can stay on top of their productivity game is to implement process automation bots to manage workflows and complete mundane tasks.
Businesses can implement this technology to automate repetitive tasks across the board. Process automation can complete semi-structured tasks like data migration and excel inputs to reduce the number of mundane tasks that employees are faced with each day. Reducing mundane work allows employees to focus on their thought-driven work, promoting over-all productivity across the company.
Employees can also utilize this technology on an individual basis to help them manage their workflow to promote productivity. Process automation bots can be customized to automatically open different sheets, tasks, and reports that employees may want to focus on at different points in their workday. Having this automatically set can help employees shift their focus and avoid working on one task for too long. This technology can act as a gentle reminder for employees to stay productive when they are working remotely.
3. Project Management Apps
Project management apps can be used as a virtual project manager for employees working remotely. These apps are typically automated and overseen by a company’s project management team, lining up tasks and projects for employees. Using a project management app is especially helpful for keeping employees on task and ready to dive into the next project as soon as a task is completed. Nothing wastes time like waiting around for the next assignment and doing busy work to stay working.
Project management apps aren’t just good for keeping employees tasked and on track, they’re also helpful to project managers who are juggling different teams, clients, and coworkers. Project managers can use these apps to rank which tasks are essential and which can wait until later to be completed. This helps keep projects on track to meet deadlines and ensures that the company is delivering as much value as possible to clients.
4. Performance Tracking Tools
It can be challenging to track and understand how productive employees are when they aren’t in the office. This challenge brings up questions about how employee performance can be accurately evaluated in a remote work environment. Luckily, companies can implement performance tracking tools to help them better understand how well employees are doing their job functions when they aren’t in the office.
Performance tracking tools can track employees’ time, activity, and project completion rate within the same platform so managers will have the ability to see a range of attributes that determine how productive an employee is. Many of these platforms can be automated and customized so they focus on specific aspects of an employee’s workday to gauge how productive they are compared to their coworkers or past productivity patterns.
While employees don’t like feeling “watched” or “analyzed” during work, knowing that their activity is being tracked to determine their performance holds them to a higher level of expectation that can help them stay productive when they aren’t actually in office. As long as employees understand what is expected of them and are aware of performance tracking, this tool can be an effective way to promote productivity and evaluate employee performance.
5. Virtual Private Networks
Virtual private networks (VPNs) can be implemented by any company to help their employees maintain a secure internet connection, no matter where they work. We all know that remote work doesn’t necessarily mean working from home, but what happens when an employee connects to a publicly accessible wireless network? Sometimes, nothing happens. Other times, malicious players are waiting to use the public network to gain access to the employee’s device and all of the information on it.
When companies implement VPNs, they reduce the risk of malicious players gaining access to company devices. This allows workers to safely work from any location where there is a wireless internet connection. VPNs are essential for any company that wants to ensure that their data and information stays secure.
6. Virtual and Augmented Reality
In a remote workforce, it’s likely that teams are spread out across different cities. When this is the case, it can be difficult to effectively onboard and train new employees without meeting up in person. When meeting up isn’t an option, virtual and augmented reality tools can be implemented to help effectively train new hires and get them ready to work as quickly as possible.
While these technologies might seem identical, virtual and augmented reality are different technologies, but they can be used in businesses to achieve the same goal. Virtual reality requires the use of a headset or device that places an employee in a virtual or simulated environment. Augmented reality typically comes in the form of an app that displays a virtual or simulated situation in the real world around an employee.
These technologies can be utilized to immerse employees in a simulated training environment to give them real problems, experiences, and tasks. Both of these technologies can be used to effectively train and prepare employees for their position as quickly as possible.
As remote work continues to be prevalent across industries, technology will follow suit to make it more convenient and seamless than before. Companies who want to promote a successful remote workforce should consider investing in some of these technologies that are changing the remote work game.