While remote work isn’t exactly a novel concept, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how unprepared for it we were. As most of us were forced to immediately start working from home, many difficulties arose in how we could adapt to performing the same duties in an environment that’s both familiar and foreign. Remote work has provided numerous challenges, particularly in rural areas where internet speeds are consistently slow or where access to the internet is outright impossible.
Over a year later, some of us are still struggling to adapt to working remotely. Like it or not, this is now the future we face – one in which the internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for survival. That said, the internet is but one of many factors that dictates whether remote work is possible: productivity, accountability, and collaboration are all equally important to the continued success of any business or organization.
Remote work is not just going to disappear alongside COVID-19; it has become a permanent change to the nature of many industries. Thankfully, there are several new technologies to help your team transition easily to working from home.
Satellite and 5G Technology
One of the most important tools for remote work is the internet. It’s what makes coordination and collaboration possible when a team is working in multiple different locations. Companies like SpaceX are currently launching satellites that can provide internet access worldwide, though the thousands of satellites required to ensure top internet speeds will take quite some time to get off of the ground.
If you’re working on a mobile phone throughout the day, the new 5G network could provide “speeds that are up to 100 times faster than 4G . . . the network may make it practical to work from anywhere you can get a signal“. Both satellite internet and a 5G network could be just what the world needs for ideal working conditions from home.
Cloud Storage and Computing
You may have heard of the cloud, a virtual space where your files are safely stored in the event that anything happens to them. Cloud storage solutions like Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox all allow you to store your files for free (up to a limited amount of space) on servers in a different location.
A lot of companies like Google and Microsoft are now offering cloud computing services that allow you to collaborate on things such as documents, spreadsheets/workbooks, and image design with other members of your team. What’s excellent about cloud storage and computing services is that they allow users the flexibility to work on their own time and the ability to work on a file simultaneously.
Instant Messaging Communication and Virtual Reality
Most of us are likely already familiar with Zoom, a video conferencing tool that allows you to have a video meeting with hundreds of people at once, but there are plenty of other tools that are great for promoting teamwork in a remote environment.
For example, there are instant messaging tools such as the chat feature in Workplace for Facebook, Microsoft Teams, Twist, Google Chat, and Slack. These tools allow you to communicate with your team via text, audio, or video.
Also of note is the progression of VR (virtual reality) in recent years. While VR is commonly associated with video games, a lot of workplaces seek to introduce this technology to their completely remote teams in order to better immerse them in team meetings or projects. A digital version of yourself can look around a conference table at colleagues, helping you feel like you’re actually together in a digital environment.
Time Management and Productivity Apps
When we’re working from home, distractions are bound to come up in many different forms: children, pets, television, social media, the lack of a dedicated office room… All of these things can prevent us from staying focused. Thankfully, there are many new helpful apps designed to prevent distractions and manage our time better.
For example, Freedom can block internet access altogether for a period of time, though the choice “to block out all social platforms or apps, or leave one or two unblocked” is still there. Once ‘Locked Mode’ is on, it can’t be turned off until the session you’ve created is over.
Other helpful tools for productivity include FocusMe and LeechBlock, both of which allow you to block specific websites and apps entirely or set time limits on them. For the supervisors and managers out there, Timely can be a great tool that allows automation to track the time of an entire team, meaning they can focus entirely on productive work tasks instead of worrying about micromanaging.
The Digital Toolbox
With so many options on the market, choosing one for your business or organization might seem like a monumental task. That’s where techKNOWtutors can help.
Our Digital Toolbox strategizes with your organization or small business to create a personalized digital action plan. We teach you how to plan for your organization’s digital transformation, maximize team collaboration, get started with social media and website creation, access a variety of free tools for organizations, and much more.
If you’d like to apply for this FREE service that we’re offering, click here!
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At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Facebook group and send us a message.
Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.