Defining Remote Work and its Tools

While remote work is growing in popularity as a mobility option and productivity tool, many employers might not have remote work infrastructure in place.

If you're among those employers and are suddenly trying to navigate a remote work setup, there are some basic FAQs you might want to know to help make the coming weeks as productive as possible.

First of all, what exactly is remote work? You've probably also heard it called telework or mobile work. Simply put, it means work done from a remote location other than an office, stage, studio, or other workplace. It is *not* the same as flex work, which means an arrangement in which an employee comes to work at an office during non-conventional hours - for instance, working 7:00 am to 3:00 pm or bunching work into four, 10-hour days each week.

One of the most important aspects to a successful remote work setup is communication between managers and employees. Working remotely doesn't have to mean lost productivity or collaboration, but in order for those not to fall by the wayside, consistent and accessible communication channels must be in place.

There are a few we'd recommend:

  • Slack or Microsoft Teams for intra-team messaging. Make sure to designate channels so that conversations or files don't get lost in a larger stream of messages.
  • There are myriad video meeting options including Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Google Hangouts that allow you to get some face-to-face time in with coworkers and clients and share screens with each other. PC Mag has a list of the best videoconferencing software for 2020 here.
  • File sharing with tools like Sharepoint or Dropbox. Make sure that everyone working remotely has access to what they need in the system your workplace uses.
  • If your team schedules social media posts, a tool like Hootsuite is a streamlined way to read, respond to, and schedule messages across several platforms in one place.
  • Consistent internet or virtual private network (VPN): none of the solutions above work without internet access and a computer. Make sure your employees have the tools in place they will need to be productive, especially if your employees need to use enterprise apps only accessible from a computer that's typically internal.