Remote work these days is business as usual for many small and medium sized businesses. Collaboration software, cloud-based apps for email, and meetings and appointments taking place on laptops and mobile devices are helping to reinvent the modern workplace.
According to a study from the International Workplace Group, about half of professionals worldwide work at least part of the week remotely. According to research firm Gartner, offering employees options in how and where they work boosts job satisfaction and improves retention.
You can use apps and other tools to work remotely without skipping a beat. Here’s how to set up your small business for getting work done outside the office.
Utilize productivity tools
Cloud-based productivity tools, like Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s subscription-based Office 365, can keep projects moving forward even when your team is spread around town or the world. Free programs, like Zoho Office, are also available. These options help keep everyone in the loop by saving all your important files in the cloud.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or have a small team, you can quickly set up your company’s email, spreadsheets, calendars, and presentations. Subscriptions for fee-based business accounts range from $6 to $25 per month, depending on customizable features like your own domain name, how many users you have, or how much online storage you need for your files.
When you’re traveling, these cloud-based office suites also make it a breeze to edit and share your work documents on mobile devices through the phone’s browser or an app.
Collaboration made easy
Group chat software can make it seem like everyone is in the same room, even if your coworkers are in different locations or working remotely from home. They can also serve as a productivity tracker.
If you’re already using Google or Microsoft office suite software, integrate their collaboration apps for chatting remotely and trading files. Google offers “Hangouts Chat” where you can set up virtual rooms for projects. Conversations are “threaded” by topic and searchable — great for communicating with team members who aren’t all online at the same time.
“Microsoft Teams” offers similar features for chatting with your coworkers, storing files, holding online meetings, and video conferencing. There’s also a whiteboard feature for drawing ideas and sharing.
Tools for Remote Workers
If your schedule has you splitting time between the office and working remotely, make the transition seamless by using one phone number that switches from your office phone system to your mobile device when you’re on the go.
Through Comcast mobility voice lines, you can utilize the functionality of your office phone, such as showing callers your business number when you’re on your mobile phone. Other features include:
- The ability to check your voicemail remotely.
- Notifications on your mobile phone when your office line receives a call or voicemail.
- Voicemail transcription that lets you read voice messages on your mobile phone.
If you don't already have business WiFi, you may need to explore other options when getting connected. For most, the 4G LTE personal hotspot feature on your mobile phone can be used when you need Internet access on your laptop. Most Android and iPhone mobile phones offer this feature, which can connect over WiFi, USB, or Bluetooth. You can also purchase or lease a dedicated hotspot — usually $50 or less with a new contract — if you need the ability to share your connection with multiple coworkers.
Comcast Business Internet customers also have access to thousands of secure Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the country. Use the app to find a nearby hotspot when traveling and enter your Comcast Business login email and password to connect. Using hotspots for business is a great way to cut down on data costs and save on overage charges.
With today’s technologies, working remotely is easier than ever. These tips and tools can help you stay connected wherever you are.