Remote employees or work-from-home employees have garnered a lot of attention in recent years. In this category contains everything from high-tech positions that lead their industry from beachfront offices to independent contractors working from their kitchen table. These employees, even if they’re not in a tech-driven industry, have a greater need for easy-to-use and generally helpful gadgets and software.
Obstacles For Remote Workers
Remote workers have a number of issues to overcome, but most of them track back down to communication. You’ve surely read an email or text message and took the context in a much different way than the sender intended. Skype isn’t the fix-all solution for that problem. Then there are issues of time differences, team interaction, and the feeling of working all alone.
Tools for time management and communication can have a huge impact on how well and how efficiently you work. If you work from home, keep in mind what obstacles impact you the most, and seek out technological solutions. Especially for connectivity issues. Issues with internet access or slow internet connections or bandwidth problems can significantly impact your ability to work.
Thankfully many remote workers are refusing to take jobs on-site, and that should mean that the tools for common problems will continue to develop. Be on the lookout for solutions to bad health habits and ways to work more efficiently.
A few tips for anyone new to working remotely is to utilize your phone and computer’s tool. Enable your “Do Not Disturb” mode for your working hours.
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Obstacles For Companies With Remote Staff
Remote employees often feel like they have to jump through hoops for their employers. It is largely because companies have a few issues, and their acceptance of remote workers comes with many strings attached. For example, many companies have trust issues, and the first tool listed here addresses that particular problem.
Before tools like PukkaTeam, companies would use strict policies or third-party monitoring software to ensure that employees were staying productive or at their computers. Other problems include understanding their remote staff’s needs. Where there are decades of research and experience handling on-site environments, handling remote employees is a new struggle.
If you’re working for a company directly, carefully review their remote work policies. Also, don’t hesitate to communicate with your employers either. If you’re struggling with workload, or feel disconnected with your team, tell your manager. Additionally, if you feel like there are issues with communication avenues, make sure to inform someone. Communication is a key aspect of remote work, and allowing poor communication to continue is one of the reasons why employers are so distrusting when it comes to remote staff. Solve many of these problems with the tools below.
PukkaTeam– Re-inventing The Office Environment
While companies have concerns about worker productivity, remote workers often come to miss a traditional office environment. In comes PukkaTeam, which is part Big Brother and part workplace sitcom. If you’ve ever felt like locking eyes with a camera and expressing a sentiment about your work-life, you can now make that a reality.
PukkaTeam doesn’t track your desktop but instead uses your webcam to snap a still image every few minutes. So most of the day will be you staring at your screen, it’s what you might imagine seeing in an office. You can also click on any still image of your team members to start a video chat session. Offices that keep entire teams of remote employees are hoping that Sqwiggle is the answer for tracking productivity, increasing remote worker morale, and improving inter-team relationships.
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Slack is still the hot ticket for collaboration, and while there are some stumbling blocks, there are many benefits for freelancers and team-employees. Skype is one alternative that presents a lot of data insecurity. Then there’s the struggle that comes with the alternative option of Google Hangouts. Hangouts gained a reputation for job-interview scams, and they haven’t really recovered trust since then.
Not to mention that Slack captures your messages even when you’re working with slow internet. However, it is one of the bigger problems for slack app users as the application may not inform you of dropping off your connection. The best practice is to use Slack on a desktop rather than on your phone.
Independent workers can use slack by inviting their key contact person to join them and then have an open communication through chat threads. You can track discussions easily as well through tagging and more. If you have a remote team, consider using Slack to make communication easier and more succinct. If you are a freelancer, consider using it with your clients to promote better communication.
Glint – Promote Employee Engagement
Glint is a digital solution to a huge, and rather unforeseen, problem. When companies first started bringing in remote-staff or work-from-home employees, they thought that it only came with benefits. Employees who worked remotely would have more control of their schedule, waste less time commuting, and ultimately be happier.
Then the initial hype wore off, and managers realized that their remote staff wasn’t engaged. They didn’t feel like part of the team, and that disconnect led to employee dissatisfaction. The levels of dissatisfaction would only come to light when the company performed yearly reviews or surveys. That’s where Glint comes into play.
Glint pulls together massive amounts of data and sorts through employee comments to find recurring issues and trends. Then it reports these issues to management who can take action right away. It trades in the yearly survey for an ongoing influx of feedback from both staff and managers. Glint works best for large companies that use a mix of work-from-home and in-office staff. All the same, it can help managers know when their staff is unhappy.
Internet Of Things Hubs – Alexa, Google Home, And Siri
The Internet of Things has made it possible to play music and open a search engine without anything more than a voice command. That’s one reason why IoT hubs like Amazon’s Alexa are really great tools for remote workers. You can order groceries, make notes, and create to-do lists without leaving the task that you’re working on at the moment.
Consider using Alexa or a similar device as your own personal virtual assistant. Install the correlating app on your phone, speak with the device frequently, and schedule alerts or alarms. You can keep yourself on your toes while putting other worries to rest. You can even schedule things on a calendar and then not have to think about them until your device reminds you of the upcoming event — all with a voice command.
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