Enabling effective remote working requires that companies and remote workers have the tools to collaborate and share, and these tools must also work well together to avoid duplication of data and efforts, says digital business tools multinational Zoho Africa region manager Andrew Bourne.
Companies need a set of business tools that makes it as easy as possible to keep connecting and collaborating with clients and colleagues.
"Without face-to-face interactions and in-person collaboration, communication tools must ensure workers are able to handle the job of calls, video conferencing and instant messaging.
"In emerging markets especially, consideration should be given to the bandwidth requirements of any video conferencing tools you use. While line speeds and data caps have improved significantly over the years, nothing kills collaboration as fast as a bad connection," says Bourne.
Central to successful remote working is ensuring the entire team is on the same page, he adds.
A project management tool can help manage budgets, timelines, resources and quality with a calendar, Gantt chart, time tracking and functionality.
"A project management tool with automation capabilities saves time on routine tasks. A drag-and-drop interface is useful for making automation easier to visualise."
Similarly, a shared, centralised, cloud-based workspace is the remote version of an office. A cloud-based shared drive serves as a space where teams can easily share and store files, making these easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, Bourne notes.
"Pay particular attention to the search functionality. You want a tool that can filter and search smartly and quickly," he advises.
Further, a cloud-based office suite makes collaborating seamless and effortless and dramatically reduces the back and forth needed to get things done.
“It is about assessing your requirements and selecting tools that not only meet those needs, but also work well together to achieve a streamlined workflow."
Cloud-based software solutions enable you to work wherever you are, as long as you have an Internet connection and computer; the trick is in selecting the one that will allow you to continue working for as long as needed, and not just fulfill your immediate needs, he adds.