Is Your Company Going Remote?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in a mass transition to remote work for many businesses. The majority of states and cities across America are under stay-at-home orders. Was your company prepared for a sudden Work From Home transformation? 


Whether this was in your business continuity plan or not, you’ve likely experienced some bumps along the way. Stay-at-Home orders and social distancing guidelines may be extended. Let’s smooth out your workflow so you’re ready to thrive and maintain productivity in any circumstances. 


Your Guide to a Remote Transformation


This is new territory for many companies. Based on our research and experience, here is a list of the best tools for project management, communication, collaboration, meetings, and more to keep your company connected. 


Cloud Storage

We’ve been talking about moving your resources to the cloud for a long time, if you haven’t already, now is the time. Access your files from anywhere and free up your resources with less hardware and maintenance. 


So what platform do you go with? There’s a vast selection of providers and strategies, from private cloud to multi-cloud and even blockchain. It depends on your industry and how much bandwidth and tools you require. For example, a software company that is programming and designing apps will need more functionality than an insurance agency or law firm. Even doctors and therapists offering telehealth can do so in a HIPAA-compliant way with minimal resources. 


For the vast majority of companies, you’ll want to choose from the “Big Three” public cloud vendors: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud


Your best bet is to probably go with Google Cloud for simple Infrastructure as a Service. We’re talking about transitioning or creating an online and easily accessible file database. Collaborate and share documents, spreadsheets, and more within G Suite. It can be extremely low-cost for basic business cloud services. 


Collaborate, Phone and Video Meetings

We prefer Cisco’s solutions for all things IT and infrastructure and are happy to provide you with a free WebEx Meetings plan. However, if you’re going the G Suite route for file sharing and storage, it makes sense to utilize Google’s calendar and Google Hangouts for team and client meetings. Zoom has also emerged as a go-to solution during the pandemic by offering free services. Google Hangouts functions similarly. For example, if you’re on a video meeting with multiple people, the camera automatically switches to whoever is speaking.


Stay in the loop and communicate with your team with Slack. This is an outstanding tool to collaborate with. There are many features and integrations with other useful apps including G Suite. Create a “channel” for each client or department within your business, and don’t forget to add a “General” channel (aka “just-for-fun” channel) to lighten the mood and foster your team culture. There is even a built-in VoIP calling option.


Project Management 

A great tool that is inherently agile and very low cost is Trello. Set up your Trello board in the classic SCRUM workflow with columns for To Do / Doing / Done. Easily move tasks as “cards” between the columns and allow your team to attach files, comment, and update each task’s status. 


There are other options that are more robust, such as ClickUp, Monday, Asana, or Airtable. But for the majority of companies on their first foray into WFH, it’s best to stick with simple and effective tools like Trello. This way there is less of a learning curve for your team, and you can get back to being productive sooner. If you continue to offer remote work long-term, you can upgrade to more feature-rich software as you go. 


Customer Support 

There are a plethora of help desk platforms available. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the better known and most reliable options for you to consider. Everything revolves around “tickets” and as your support team gets inundated over time with tickets, you want it to be highly organized through sorting and filtering.


Help Scout - This ticket system relies on mailboxes which are tied to external email addresses. Categorizing the tickets into folders and assigning them to appropriate team members can be automated and highly intuitive. This is arguably the easiest platform to use. 


Zendesk - A very similar UI and functionality to Help Scout, which basically swaps the term mailboxes with “Views”. 


Another solid option is Freshdesk, which is reminiscent of Zendesk with “Views” although it has the added functionality to customize views per user, making sorting a breeze. 

When you’re ready to take your remote work stack more seriously, our IT professionals are ready to help. At Emerge IT, we offer Managed Cloud Services that include cloud migration and Infrastructure as a Service


Throughout the upcoming weeks and months, we will have free resources for companies navigating a remote work transition. Join us for a live Cloud and Collaboration Q&A Webinar on May 21 at 11:30 am EST.