Working From Home: Tools and Tips

We’re here to help. For 22 years we’ve been a fully virtual company, and have mastered how to work efficiently and effectively from our home offices. As more and more companies are encouraging, and even requiring employees to work from home, employees are often caught off-guard. In a world where meetings tend to be face-to-face and collaboration is done elbow-to-elbow, working alone on a small laptop at your dining room table can be a daunting task. Many people wonder if it’s even possible to work from home as efficiently and effectively as they do from their office. We’ve got a couple of tips that will help make the transition easier and less stressful.

There are a number of powerful web-based and cloud-based tools and apps that allow meetings and project collaboration across time and distance in a common virtual environment. These tools make it possible for work groups to meet and manage projects as though they were working in the same physical space. Most software also offers an app version, so look for that and load up your mobile phone and tablet and you’ll be ready for anything.

When working with clients across various companies, consider that you may need to add more than one tool to your toolkit, depending on what the client is set up for. Having that flexibility will ensure seamless communication and collaboration.

Video Conferencing:

Zoom, Cisco WebEx, Skype and many others are playing in this space. Sound and video quality are generally excellent and features like white boards, desktop sharing, and breakout sessions are the norm. Whether you’re conferencing with one client or a group of 500, video conferencing is a great way to bring your teams together safely. We especially like the short learning curve and ease of use.

You can even have a virtual ‘lunch’ with a prospective client—just set a time for the video conference and bring your lunches.

File Sharing:

DropBox, GoogleDrive and MicroSoft OneDrive are just a few of the file sharing tools out there. These tools allow files to be easily shared with one person or entire teams. Collaboration and discussion can happen in real time with no fear of lost email files or files too big to transfer via email. Reviews and approvals can be done from anywhere, so last minute changes don’t have to impede progress.

Most file sharing tools allow for secure spaces to store shared documents, that way you can assign folders for each team you work with and only those people invited to the folder, can see the contents.
File sharing is especially helpful when you have a desktop full of files at work, and need to access them from home. Put all of them up on DropBox for example, and you’ll always have what you need where ever you are.

Mobile devices:

It seems silly to have a separate line item for mobile devices, but when you consider downsizing from your large desktop monitor at work, to your laptop at home, you realize the reduction in real estate can be very difficult to work around. This is where your mobile devices come in handy. Set up a tablet or phone with your video conferencing apps, and then depending on your needs, you can use the mobile device for video chats, while you work on your laptop.

Password Manager:

This is a biggie. We like SplashID, but there are several out there that are just as good. When you need to access that one password-protected website from home and your password is on your desktop at work, you’ll realize the value of having a web- or cloud-based password manager. With a password manager all you need to do is to remember the password to get in, and you can store all the other passwords from web sites to banking, safely and securely in this encrypted tool. This is one of those tools you should use regardless of where you work—it will save you countless headaches.


By ETMG Social Media Team