Automattic, best known as the parent company to website builder software provider WordPress, has recently shut down its San Francisco office. Why? Employees simply weren’t showing up. The company has a work-from-anywhere policy, and apparently employees have been taking advantage of it. Closing the office makes sense; why pay pricey Bay Area rent if your employees are going to work from home anyway?
Remote work is a bit controversial at the moment. The detractors would say that it damages company culture, or that it’s difficult to have workers on the same page when they’re worlds apart. Advocates would say it enriches the lives of employees, enabling them to spend more time with their families. Also, it broadens the talent pool since a remote organization can hire someone living anywhere on the planet.
One thing that’s undeniable about a company with a distributed workforce is that it’s going to need to adopt some software tools to enable its employees to be at their best. Let’s look at five types of software that are key to a remote company’s success.
This one’s a no-brainer. Team collaboration software bolsters communication between employees no matter the geographic coordinates of their desk. This software provides capabilities for chat, file sharing, process documentation and more. When using a team collaboration tool like Slack, you’ll find your team minimizing the number of long email chains and maintaining a unified knowledge base on projects and processes.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when employing a remote workforce is running an effective meeting when everyone is in a different room. Web conferencing software provide video and audio communication. In addition, web conferencing products like Webex enable users to share their screen, functionally making a virtual meeting as useful as a traditional one.
Another concern with having a remote workforce is trust between employee and employer. If left to his or her own devices, will an employee actually get as much work done at home compared to at the office? This is where time tracking software comes in. Products like TSheets allow users to track the amount of time spent on each task. Using a time tracking tool is a great way to measure employee productivity.
File Storage and Sharing
It’s important that a remote workforce is able to easily access all of the documents and files that they need to get their work done. File storage and sharing software like Dropbox is great at enabling this. With this software, you can store multiple versions of all of your documents and control permissions to ensure everyone has access to what they need.
When you have workers accessing your network from all over the globe, it makes sense that security would be a concern. Endpoint protection software is great for remote employees because it offers features like antivirus, anti-malware, firewalls, data encryption, mobile device management, zero-day attack protection and host intrusion prevention systems. While we know there’s no panacea when it comes to cybersecurity, endpoint protection is a great start.