Remote working tips for students and workers: How to pick the right home working applications for the right purpose

In this article we explore tips for working remotely in the light of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

In this blog we look at the benefits collaboration tools bring and the importance of picking the right tool for the right purpose when being exposed to this new remote working world.

Follow our blog over the coming weeks for more insights.

There is an overwhelming choice of collaboration tools on the market today as the gap between personal and business use closes and smart device apps make these solutions more widely available. However, all the posts on social media and the offers available seem to talk about collaboration tools to business users, assuming everyone knows what they are doing. What about those new to working from home who don’t know what tools to use?

IT departments can be guilty of not spending enough time making sure the right tools are being used for the right purposes. Training is key to this and creating an understanding in the organisation of what should be used for what purpose.

That’s why Nowcomm have set up a series of blogs to address these issues. Feel free to share this with your colleagues and teams.

The right app for the right purpose

All applications have different uses and purposes. Whether you are using WhatsApp and Viber to create groups to communicate ideas for work assignments whilst University or college is closed, through to being a working mum using WhatAps to keep children entertained at home whilst self-isolating. There are other more effective tools you may now suddenly be introduced to which have more features than you know what to do with.

One example is Webex Teams. Creating a project group in Webex Teams on your smartphone or laptop allows for secure access and sharing of working documents with a select group of people. You can see who has read these documents or the message and receive replies. Click here for our free trial.

Why can’t I use WhatsApp for work?

No one says WhatApp doesn’t have a use in the workspace – it’s great for keeping in touch. You can see when people are online and replying and so forth.  However, it is more of a social tool that has come into the workplace than one created for the workplace. You can attach photographs and images but not all document types needed for the office worker – such as Microsoft Excel, powerpoint and Word. That may be ok in some lines of work but not all.

Below we will investigate three ways in which Webex provides a more robust reliable service for your needs now you are working remotely.

What about accessing and sharing documents?

If you need to access and share documents and communicate within that group, attaching files to keep projects moving along, then Webex Teams will be a much more robust and secure platform with all documents stored in the cloud. You simply click the paperclip icon in the chat box and upload the file from your device. You can access a free trial by clicking here.

Why should I consider backup to the cloud?

Backups and autosaving of your work will be available on Webex Teams and a full conversation history will be stored. This is separate from your device memory and offers you limitless GB cloud storage as part of the network you are connected to (most likely via a VPN login and connection once you are on your home internet). So, if you fall ill, members of the team you are working with can still access the shared area where the files are located and continue with the project.

What about real time updates?

Also, all updates will be real time so all teammates have access to the latest information, and it will always remain up to date. You can even make sure documents your team are sharing are the latest versions – an app sends a notification to group members of when a latest version is ready for review.  You will also get a request when a new member wants to join the group and only the group admin can grant access. Great for when moving onto the next stage in a project and handing over ‘the baton’. Or for when team members step away from projects to work on other tasks. This can help make working from home a lot easier.

Why don’t we all just use FaceTime instead of other conference call apps?

Conference calls using video are extremely effective in keeping people engaged. They are also scalable – meaning you can add more and more people to your existing call as you need them. On Webex calls for example, you can provide access to a limitless number of people, to make companywide or public announcements. You can also Webex just one to one of course.

Using FaceTime is great for one to one communication and to check in on each other. You can even use a headset to make the experience more focused and to avoid background noise from distracting your conversation. The headset can be more important than you may think when you consider you could have your children running around in the background from now on! It will help the conversation run more smoothly and end up being more productive and efficient.

For company use, being able to add more people to join the call is often required as conversions progress or if an issue arises and it needs resolving. How will you let that individual know you want them to join the call if you are on FaceTime? You can’t see their availability – are they busy, on a call or away from their desk – to know they can join straight away. In Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams for example, you can see an individual’s presence, and this helps you make quick decisions on who to include on a call to sort out an urgent issue. This helps keep team members engaged on projects and their work as well as use the best tool for the right purpose.

The user experience

When using FaceTime for a call, users have to come out of the call on their device homescreen (whilst keeping it live) and then text or email from the same device to reach the right contact. In Webex teams, the call, meeting and chat functionality are all part of the same experience. This makes it so much easier to arrange and manage group conversations. It also has screen sharing so you can discuss a document and make edits and changes while on the call for everyone to see from their own laptop.

A note on security

There are so many products out there and Nowcomm strongly recommends that from a security perspective you take remote working seriously when considering which applications to use. If you haven’t been told about a VPN connection please ask – it’s one of the quickest ways to make sure you are protected and not making yourself and your device vulnerable to phishing or Cyberattacks.

Also remember that phishing scams are in play al lth time. You wont always receive an email from IT to warn you – it is up to you to also be diligent and be 100% sure before you open an email and click any links. This will help protect you and all your colleague and ensure the company network avoids cyberattacks.

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