What's the latest must-use technology for remote workers?

Technology for remote workers

Let’s face it, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. Whatever type of business you run, if you or any of your staff spend time at a desk, with a computer, you are probably spending more of your working day at home than you used to.

The Office for National Statistics looked at the impact Covid has had on attitudes to remote working and found that 37% of working adults did some work from home in 2020, up from 27% before the pandemic. It also found that 24% of businesses said they would be increasing homeworking in the future. This percentage rose to 49% in some industries, such as the communication and information sector.

We all know there are pros and cons to homeworking, but it’s also easier than ever to run a remote team with the help of technology. In this article, we’ll look at some of the latest technology to help you manage your remote workers, and which can make life easier for your staff, wherever they are.

What’s the best video conferencing software?

Google Meet

Google Meet is one of the most popular and easy-to-use cloud-based video conferencing tools. If you and your team use Google Workspace for most of your work, Google Meet fully integrates with this, so this might be the best choice.

Pros

  • Web-app based so no downloading required
  • Apps available through both Google Play Store and Apple AppStore
  • Easy to schedule meetings and invite participants through Google calendar

    Cons
  • Not as many participants allowed as some other similar tools
  • It’s all about Google, so won’t suit everyone.

Cost

Use Google Workspace tools from just £4.14/month, depending on the size of your business and how many people you would like to use your video conferencing tool.


GoTo Meetings

GoTo Meetings is a great option for anyone who wants to do most of their video conferencing using mobile devices. It allows you to easily set up and start meetings using your phone.

Pros

  • App-based mobile meetings tool
  • Makes mobile meetings easy
  • Good reviews for both its Apple and Android apps
  • Most features are available to basic package subscribers, including meeting recording and calendar integration

Cons

  • Doesn’t support webinars
  • A few other tools missing, such as in-meeting polls
  • Pricier than cloud-based options

Costs

You can sign up to GoTo Meetings from £9.50/month, rising to £12.67/ month for larger enterprises, although most features you would ever need are available to standard subscribers.


Microsoft Teams

A great tool for Microsoft users who want to communicate with teammates or hold webinars and conferences with a huge number of participants, all with Microsoft 365 integration.

Pros

  • Hold conferences with up to 10,000 participants, so great for larger enterprises
  • Integrates with Microsoft 365 and easy to schedule and invite from Outlook
  • Very secure

Cons

  • Not surprisingly, this one requires the use of Microsoft software so not so good for those who prefer to use Google etc.
  • Expensive if you’re not already with Microsoft 365

Cost

If you want access to Microsoft Teams, you must sign up to Microsoft 365, which starts from £3.80/month/user, rising to £15.10/month/user.


Zoom Meetings

A popular video conferencing tool that is free to use for 40 minutes, which made it a particular hit during the pandemic. Although the free tier may be more suitable for casual or social meetings, Zoom Meetings is perfect for workplace meetings as well.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Intuitive interface
  • Can collaborate with Outlook, iCal and Gmail
  • Recording and storing locally or to the cloud

Cons

  • Some problems with security
  • Needs add-ons to host large numbers of users

Cost

Free for the first 40 minutes or around £11.99/month for the basic paid-for plan. This rises to £15.99 for the enterprise-level tool.


RingCentral Video

RingCentral offers a high-quality option for people working with a range of other software and programs. It integrates well with other tools and applications, meaning it is appealing to a wide range of businesses regardless of their existing ways of working.

Pros

  • Integrates with Google Workspace, Slack and Microsoft 365
  • Works through the browser, reducing the need to download software
  • Integrates with a range of calendars

Cons

  • Higher cost than some rivals
  • Not quite as secure as it could be

Costs

Packages for using RingCentral start at £7.99/month, rising to £19.99/month for the premium package.


What are the best project management tools for remote workers?

Monday.com

What they say: “The platform your team will actually love to use”.

Features:

  • Time tracking
  • Automated notifications
  • Task dependencies
  • Timeline views
  • Integrations
  • Customisable
  • Modern interface

Anything they could do better?

Some have commented about confusing navigation options, as well as less than straightforward pricing plans.

Costs: There is a 14-day free trial offer for Monday.com. After your trial is up, you can opt for one of several pricing plans based on how many team members will be using the tool. This starts at around £7.99/seat/month, and the smallest number of ‘seats’ you can opt for is three, so that will be at least £21/month, which is billed annually - clear as mud, right?


Asana

What they say: “Teams don’t lose track of work with Asana”

Features:

  • App-based
  • Video messaging tool
  • Timelines
  • Reporting
  • Integration with your calendar

Anything they could do better?

Free version no longer gives you access to things like dashboards and timelines, which is a shame. It may also take a while for your team to learn how to use Asana, but it’s time well spent.

Cost:

Asana has a decent free option, which is at least enough to get you started and you can always upgrade. The Pro version costs £9.49/month per user if paid annually, rising to £11.59/user/month if paid monthly.



Clickup

What they say: “An all-in-one suite to manage people, projects, and everything in between”

Features:

  • Agile dashboard
  • Alerts
  • Integration with Slack and others
  • Customisable
  • Organise by task or assignee
  • Assign tasks and comments to individuals
  • Cloud-based and suitable for any size business

Anything they could do better?

Some users find it daunting at first, so more tutorials could help. The pricing structure causes some complaints.

Cost: Free to use for individuals with some limitations. From £3.62/user/month for smaller teams and around ££6.51/user/month for full unlimited business use.



Wrike

What they say:Empower your teams with Wrike’s collaborative and intuitive tools.”

Features:

  • Good for projects and ongoing work
  • Helps reduce emails
  • Predicts projects that are in jeopardy and send alerts
  • App based
  • Easy to start and set up
  • Dedicated accounts for marketers or professional services teams

Anything they could do better?

Users find the price plans complicated and many need to consult customer services to get the right plan for their business.

Costs: You can get started with Wrike for free, but will need to shell out £7.10/user/month for the professional package for up to 10 people.


The options above are just some of the many incredible tools and pieces of software that are available to business owners looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their remote staff.

We’re all finding our feet when it comes to working remotely, but there are definite savings to be made and work-life balances to reclaim if we get it right. On top of these video conferencing and project management tools, there are superb communication tools to help you simplify and improve collaboration within your team. Why not also consider business management tools that will help you organise things like payroll, HR and accounting.

The possibilities are endless, and yes, these tools take a while to learn and bed-in, but investing now could equip you and your whole team with what you need to make sure remote working can become a permanent and positive move for your business.




Caroline Ramsey

Caroline Ramsey, Editor

Caroline is mycashline’s business and finance editor and doubles as our copywriting whizz.

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