Tools and Strategies for a Virtual Office

How long ago did your business start offering options for remote work? Has your business operated with a virtual workspace for a while or is it a new thing? Regardless of the answer, there are always new or updated solutions available for your remote workforce?

There are a variety of cloud-based solutions that may be appropriate for your business to implement as you adjust to a new or expanded virtual office environment. These include video conference solutions, file sharing and storage options, document and file management systems, customer relationship management tools, and other solutions for day-to-day operations.

The following are options that are commonly used in the business community and that you may want to consider for your business.

Video Conference Solutions

Video conferencing is one of the most indispensable technologies you can use if you are working with a distributed team. It is also critical in cases where you simply need to communicate with your clients face-to-face without having to travel to their offices. The video conferencing industry has become one of the most lucrative and competitive industries in the world and there are many choices available. Here are a few examples of solutions that we and/or our clients are using and might work for your team that we and/or our clients are using:

Zoom

Zoom Cloud Meetings is a cloud-based video conferencing software that is designed to offer HD-quality video conferencing as well as simple group messaging. It provides streamlined desktop and mobile apps that focus on video collaboration.

Google Hangouts 

Google Hangouts is a communication software product developed by Google. It can be used for text, voice, and video chats. You connect with up to 250 other users per call, and it has robust moderation and presentation features. There is also the ability to record meetings.

Skype

Skype provides video chat service that many people are likely familiar with. It supports up to 50 users on a single video call and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and as a web app. Although you do not need to have a Microsoft account to use Skype, some features may only be available with an account. 

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is another videoconferencing alternative. This is an all-in-one communication application for businesses that can be used on numerous platforms. It is cloud-based and can support as many as 100 participants.

Microsoft Teams 

Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform through Microsoft that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. In the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft is currently making Microsoft Teams available to everyone for free.

Webex

Webex is a cloud-based web and video conferencing service that provides a suite of solutions including video conferencing, team collaboration, and cloud calling with enables virtual teams to collaborate using a variety of platforms. 

COVID-19 Specific Software Solutions Information

As some non-profit organizations, small businesses, and healthcare organizations focus their efforts on COVID-19 related products or services, some vendors are offering free software for a limited time to organizations who meet certain criteria. The criteria are determined by the vendor and specific information is located on the vendor’s website. Below are two examples:

  • Salesforce is offering Salesforce Care solutions free to help healthcare organizations and companies in any industry stay connected to stakeholders, even when everyone is working remotely. The Salesforce Care solutions are available immediately, and can be set up very quickly.
  • Dropbox Business, which enables people to work remotely, and HelloSign Enterprise, which manages electronic agreements, will be free for three months for nonprofits and NGOs involved in the battle against COVID-19.

An article in Forbes from March 19, 2020 outlines other software that is free for businesses, schools, and other organizations.

File Sharing and Storage Solutions

Online solutions for file sharing, file storage, collaboration, and document and file management are available and are already in use by many businesses. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SharePoint are common options. If you are not already using a file sharing, file storage, collaboration, or other similar solution, it is important to develop a strategy before jumping into a new implementation. The following articles provide more information to help with that strategy.

Other Office Solutions

There are many cloud-based, office solutions available to enhance business operations from fiscal systems to customer relationship management solutions. Exploring which systems are right for your business takes thought and planning. As you explore options, you may find the following articles helpful.

As you incorporate these or other new solutions into your environment, we would like to make your adoption of these technologies easy and are available to support you.

To learn more, give us a call at 781-652-8204 or contact us through email.

The Ninestone Team

April 2020

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