Tools to Make Remote Work More Streamlined

The last year has brought about far greater change in the workplace than many of us would have ever dreamed possible. Pandemic responses varied by company, but many acknowledged the difficult situations that some employees were put in and allowed for much greater flexibility such as varying work hours to work around daycare needs and allowing employees to work remotely. 

As many of us look forward to getting back to some semblance of normal, it is important to remember that some things may never go back to what they were before. In many cases, that isn’t a bad thing. For instance, though remote workplaces were becoming more mainstream before the pandemic, responses to COVID-19 propelled workplaces to adopt remote strategies far faster than they may have otherwise. Even some of the most reluctant employers are realizing the very real benefits of remote work. 

The transition hasn’t always been easy though and many companies are still working out some of the challenges of having a remote workforce. Striking a balance between supporting employees and expecting them to take care of their needs is difficult. Making sure they have the tools and technologies to stay in tune with the rest of the team and can be productive employees can be even harder. 

Getting Comfortable

One of the big things that most employees realize during their first couple weeks of remote work is that home really isn’t as conducive for working as the office is. Unpacking important documents on the kitchen table where the kids are finger painting and eating their lunch is not a long-term solution. Neither is working from bed or on the couch. 

Ultimately, if remote work from home is going to be a regular thing, it is almost essential to designate a “work only” space. This space should be somewhere employees have the space they need to do their jobs in relative comfort without distractions. Important components of home offices include things like a comfortable desk and chair as well as decent lighting and the technical tools that are needed to actually do the job. 

Determining how much employees versus employers should be responsible for when it comes to creating and utilizing a home office space is a real work in progress. Most would agree that a laptop is essential for the company to provide. Some also choose to help employees cover the cost of internet, a printer, and other technologies that may need to be purchased especially for remote work or are essential components of the job. 

Tools for Communication

By far the biggest challenge with transitioning employees to a remote working environment is making sure there isn’t a complete breakdown in communication. While in the office, it's easy for managers to check in on what employees are working on and facilitate collaboration between teammates. Working remotely provides a huge challenge for managers in making sure they are reaching out to all employees and keeping all lines of communication open. 

Fortunately, numerous tools can help with communications for remote teams. Many of these tools and applications work to keep lines of communication — both personal and work-specific — open when employees aren’t seeing each other face-to-face regularly. Products such as these allow for tasks and deadlines to be assigned to specific employees, regular updates and check-ins to occur, and small breakout groups to be created for more target-specific work. 

Some applications, such as the online whiteboard, help to facilitate brainstorming sessions that are happening remotely. Apps such as these allow all employees to contribute ideas collaboratively and real-time chat allows conversations to happen without waiting for emails to come through. An added benefit of technologies such as these is that the sessions can easily be saved for later review. 

Creating a Community

Over time, employees will overcome the initial challenges of working from home such as setting up a good working environment and figuring out how to use all of the new apps and technologies that are needed for effective online communication. Things will naturally fall into more of a grove. As a company leader or manager, from there the next big thing to think about is the mental impact of the daily grind remotely and how to build a quality workplace community online

Though thousands of apps will help employers work with employees to achieve all kinds of things remotely, finding the right tool to conserve company culture and community can be elusive. Some of the basic steps include things like encouraging employees to turn on cameras and do introductions at the beginning of meetings. It may not always feel like much, but things like this can help new employees and long-time employees alike make and maintain connections. 

Another thing to encourage to some degree is for employees to use the technologies and apps provided for work to maintain workplace relationships. It is completely reasonable to have a watercooler chat about non-work things or to allow for breakout sessions to celebrate birthdays or major events. Capitalizing on the technology the company is already using to facilitate community is well worth the time and effort in overall employee happiness and productivity. 


Using technologies to help with remote work and even to improve the quality of work produced remotely is a no-brainer. Providing essential tech to employees who are working from home can help them be more efficient. Likewise incorporating apps to enhance communication and build a community can greatly increase productivity and streamline certain workplace processes happening online. 

Post a Comment