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Tech tips to help move from office to offsite

In the current COVID-19 environment, your business might be like many others and opting to have staff work from home to help protect themselves and their families.

If this is unchartered territory for your company, then it can pose new challenges for workflow and communication. Here are some technology tips to make the move from office to offsite more successful and help it be (almost) business as usual.

1. Microsoft Teams

If you were wondering how much demand there is at the moment for workplace communication tools, then imagine this… Microsoft has reported that their Teams platform had 32 million daily users as of 11 March, 2020. One week later and that skyrocketed to 44 million users worldwide on Wednesday, 18 March.

Teams App offers corporate-chat functions and you can sign up for the free version for up to 300 users.

The idea is you can chat from anywhere, meet from anywhere, call and collaborate from anywhere. Teams is used by health-care providers for tele-health solutions, schools and universities have created virtual classrooms and it’s being adopted by almost every industry you can imagine where employees are able to work remotely.

Free version features:

  • Unlimited chat and search
  • Video calling with free, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video.
  • 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per person.
  • Real-time collaboration with Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

2. Slack

Microsoft rival Slack has just released an app redesign that’s getting the thumbs up for improved user experience. Slack describes itself as “a collaboration hub, where the right people and the right information come together, helping everyone get work done.”

In Slack, you create channels for each conversation. These can be organised by topic, project, team or whatever suits your company structure. Channels are designed to make sure the right people are part of the discussion. Information is saved and everything in public channels, including messages and files, is searchable.

Within the Slack app, you can use the apps and services that you already use, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce and more.

Free version features:

  • Suitable for small teams for an unlimited time.
  • Access to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages.
  • 10 integrations with other apps like Google Drive, Office 365 and many more.
  • 1:1 voice and video calls between teammates.

3. Free video conferencing

If you’re not ready to invest in a video conferencing solution yet, then Zoom and Skype are two great options that you can use for free. You’re probably already familiar with Skype, so let’s look at what Zoom can bring to the table.

Zoom offers feature-packed free video conferencing with secure encryption. It’s available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. There are paid tiers available, but even in the free version you can conduct one-on-one meetings or group sessions for up to 100 people. One thing to note on the free plan – there is a 40-minute time limit for meetings with three or more people.

There are some added features on the free version that you’d have to pay for on other platforms. These include desktop and application sharing, whiteboarding and annotations, plus recording meetings in MP4 or M4A format.

Free version features:

  • Up to 100 participants.
  • 256-bit TLS encryption for security.
  • Unlimited meetings.
  • Web conferencing features with desktop (or iPhone) sharing, MP4 local recording and more.

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