Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the entire Luzon island was locked down in mid-March, suspending work, classes and public transportation to contain the pandemic. People was advised to stay home except to buy food and other basic goods.
The strict lockdown was then extended twice for the island and thrice for Manila, the capital and nearby cities. The lockdown in most areas including Metro Manila has been eased, with many businesses allowed to reopen with reduced capacity.
Almost all industries except for leisure have reopened. Mass gatherings remained banned. Corporate leaders worry that this ongoing situation will lower employee productivity, due to work-from-home issues like poor connectivity, cybersecurity, remote collaboration, and data allocation.
Unexpected situations, such as this pandemic, show the great need to be prepared. Companies around the world are seeing the value of a well-thought-out business continuity plan to keep employees safe, and ensure that their business can run smoothly if another situation like this occurs.
With so many companies now scrambling for viable solutions to help them shift from working on-site to working remotely, what they have to keep in mind is solving the issue of remote working conveniently. The right blend of efficient tools and innovative software can make the remote working experience seamless and productive for companies. Consider how your organization can use these technologies to maintain employee productivity while they work at home.
- Virtual Meeting Tools – One of the first steps to bridging the gap is making meetings simpler, especially since remote working typically leads to more meetings in a day. Beyond just getting the virtual meeting platform in place, newer concepts like ‘Bring Your Own Meeting’ (BYOM) are becoming more prominent as a way to make remote meetings more seamless. These solutions, such as Barco ClickShare Conference, allow hosts to hold a conference call from their personal device using their preferred conferencing solution (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Webex and Zoom), and connect to the equipment available in the virtual meeting space, just by plugging in – no dial-in or PINs needed. Attendees can simply plug in the button and all video and audio streams will be received on their device, which helps to vastly reduce the overall time it takes to set up an online meeting. It is a natural progression from BYOD and is the next level in workplace meeting productivity.
- Wireless Connectivity and Voice Assistant Devices (VADs) – While working from home, it is easier to stay productive with uninterrupted wireless connectivity. Compared to the setups in many offices, employees at home can utilize WiFi to send documents to wireless printers, or seamlessly connect devices to smart TVs for enhanced virtual meeting experiences. Voice assistant devices (VAD) also help employees organize their schedules and stay on task. VADs form the point of communication between users and all the interconnected devices. Artificial intelligence (AI) powered technologies, developed by MediaTek, are an important part of these devices. For instance, the Amazon Echo Dot connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service, and can be used to streamline work tasks, stay on track, make appointments, set reminders, and make phone calls. Google Nest is another viable option.
- Cloud Storage – These platforms, including DropBox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, permit users to store and share files in a secure and centralized location. Employees across the globe can access and update the files stored in these platforms, as the system can be synced across devices, ensuring efficient collaboration and teamwork.
- Project Management Software – Tools such as Liquid Planner, Jira and Bridge24 enable employers to visually plan, manage and schedule projects and can provide an accurate view of employee tasks and projects. This software can also help companies effectively facilitate collaboration with team members, making it perfect for remote working.
- Time Trackers Solutions – When working from home, it can be difficult to keep track of the time spent on tasks. In this situation, a time-tracking application for the entire team, such as Time Doctor, Hubstaff and Harvest, allows companies to monitor team, and individual employee output. This encourages employees to be more productive and accountable during their work hours, and alerts for important messages help minimize distractions, boosting productivity during work-from-home.
With no known cure for the pandemic, and the authorities doing everything possible to contain its spread, it remains to be seen how long the remote working situation will last. As we wait for things to return to normal, these tools will help companies tackle difficulties related to remote working to help employees be more productive and efficient.