One of the major impacts the COVID-19 crisis has had on many of us is in the workplace. Or should I say, out of it.
If you weren’t working in a remote environment before the pandemic, then it’s quite possible you are now, whether that’s at home, your local cafe, library or another remote location.
As you may have found on your journey into the new world of remote working, there are some tools and services that can make the road easier to travel.
If you haven’t tried them yet, here are five tools to help your organisation be responsive when the world turns upside down.
Whether it’s an urgent all-staff meeting, or an industry association updating its members on COVID-19 financial support, video conferencing has long been a go-to tool for organisations when it comes to virtual meetings, especially in a time of crisis.
Video conferencing provides audio and video links between two or more participants. For the best experience, you need a fast and reliable internet connection.
There are some cheap video conferencing options around, such as Zoom or Skype. But on the downside, you can’t guarantee the quality of the video, users have to download a plug-in, and there’s no live support.
Depending on the type of meeting you need to hold, you may need high definition audio and video, the correct video conferencing bridge and specialised equipment such as large screens, professional cameras and lighting.
Whether it’s the creative team presenting a brief, HR hiring new talent, or a stakeholder update, easy-to-use video conferencing helps you communicate with teams, customers and other stakeholder groups quickly and effectively, improving efficiency and creating a more collaborative working environment.
If you’re still using email to communicate with colleagues in your team, then it’s about time you looked at a collaboration tool.
Tools like Slack, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams make teamwork easier and more collaborative by the use of instant messaging, live audio and video, file sharing and comment options.
You can use them on any device which makes them perfect for working remotely, and they can also be integrated with other solutions like your CRM, external file sharing application, or a project management tool, which makes your business processes more efficient, more responsive and more productive.
With traditional face-to-face events not expected to be back online for some time, it’s important to keep your events program running.
There’s a reason webinars are ranked in the top 3 most effective B2B communications channels – they provide an interactive, cost-effective way to bring your message to life across distance.
Webinars let you create sophisticated marketing and communication events that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. They can be pre-recorded, broadcast live or include both live and pre-recorded elements; and they enable you to take and respond to questions from your audience.
They’re also an effective way to generate and nurture leads; and your content can be also made available on-demand after the event, as well as being shared in other channels and content marketing campaigns.
Social media management tools
For many organisations in a time of crisis, social media becomes a dominant tool for communicating quickly and effectively to stakeholders, whether they be staff, customers, clients, partners, suppliers or community groups.
But getting a consistent message out across many different channels at the same time can be a challenge in a fluid environment.
Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer let you manage your entire social media presence through a single dashboard so you can better engage with your audience. They let you queue and schedule posts across different channels, and provide analytics on your most popular posts and the best time to post.
If you’re communicating with customers over social, some tools will also gather all your correspondence in a single inbox.
Whichever solution you choose, make sure it supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, to help you get your message out across all your favourite channels faster.
Project management tools
Project management tools such as Trello and Monday.com can help you manage projects virtually by keeping every team member in the loop about where a project is at.
They let you plan and delegate work all in one place, assign tasks, add comments and organise dashboards. They can also help your team manage editing, version control, approvals and file storage.
They’re generally easy to use but some are more sophisticated than others so it’s worth doing your homework to find out what best suits your needs, and whether it integrates with the tools you might already be using.
Whether you’re messaging groups of people, keeping a project on schedule, or communicating with large groups of people online, it’s important to make technology work for you in times of crisis — so you can be as responsive as possible even while working remotely.