As the number of people who tested positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19) rises to twelve in Nigeria, Daily Trust explores how corporate organisations can stay connected and productive amidst the pandemic that is putting the world on its toes.
From cancelled religious gatherings, to shutting down of schools and public events, no region of the country is currently immune to the spread of COVID-19, just as the disease outbreak is forcing companies to embrace remote work.
This is just as many employers are encouraging their employees to work remotely as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.
So, here are seven technology tools companies can adopt to operate productively, creatively, and seamlessly during this period:
- Meeting Owl
For any company that cherishes telepresence, Meeting Owl is a video conferencing technology to achieving that with ease.
Meeting Owl is a 360-degree video conferencing camera that automatically focuses on the people speaking in the room. Eleven-inches tall, it uses an eight microphone array to pick up sound and lock in on the person speaking.
This enables remote viewers on the other end to get a panoramic view of all the meeting participants and a close-up view of the current speaker.
Other alternatives to Meeting Owl are Zoom, Double and MTN ePresence (this offers in-person video conferencing experience for corporate meetings and trainings with crisp CD-quality audio with people in different locations around the world as if you were in the same room).
From wherever you are in any part of the world, Slack enables you and your team to engage each other in real-time chat. Basically, Slack spares email inboxes and reduces the number of clunky ccs and bccs you need to manage.
With Slack, teams can be created based on departments, projects, or units… just anything you want. It allows users to send out messages to teams over the transom, or you can DM individuals or smaller groups.
Slack integrates with both Google Docs and DropBox, as it has a robust API, enabling IT professionals to tailor Slack apps for specific team needs.
Other Slack alternatives are Mattermost, Ryver, Glip, Twist, Fleep, Flock and Microsoft Team.
- Toggl/ Everhour
Toggl is a free time tracker that allows users to label how they’ve spent every minute of every day. It’s a great tool for personal productivity measuring, but it may not be appropriate for managers hoping to get an accurate picture of how employees are allocating time resources across projects assigned to each user.
But Everhour is a web-based service for tracking team members’ availability, as it synchronises with a lot of the productivity apps people already use and allows some lightweight scheduling functionality too. It has a timer function, which allows contractors to track billable hours or teams to keep track of how much time was spent on different projects and tasks.
Another alternative for Toggl and Everhour is Timely.
Basecamp is a web-based project management platform which evolved out of an in-house communications suite. Its core functions include task management, messaging & collaboration, file sharing, scheduling, reporting, and a universal search function that makes everything easily and quickly retrievable. It usually goes for $99 per month with unlimited users to enjoy all the features, though it has a free version with limited functionality.
Other alternatives to Basecamp are Asana, Monday and Trello.
- Zoom/Google Hangouts
For corporate organisations with big team meetings which include lots of remote workers, Zoom becomes your most reliable tool to communicate with all staff at a go.
Zoom is a video chat application that supports dozens of participants. It even allows large meetings with up to 500 participants via its add-on feature. The business/enterprise version of Zoom is $20 per month, which you’ll need, as the free version caps meetings at 40 minutes only.
Another alternative is Google Hangouts. This is a good work tool, and infact free, though it is limited to only 25 participants at a time. Other alternatives are Join.me and Skype for Business.
- Google Apps for Business (GSuite)
G Suite is an integrated suite of secure, cloud-native collaboration and productivity apps powered by Google’s Artificial Intelligence. Apps in the G Suite include Gmail alongside Google’s Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet, Current, Sheets, Slides, Forms, with an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and services, among others.
It allows users to write, edit, create infographs and presentations etc easily. Such documents are also very easy to share among work colleagues as well as download for keep.
TeamViewer is a good remote desktop app which gives you access to your office desktop or personal laptop right from the comfort of your home, on the field or where you’re working from.
It is free for personal use and available for Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, and Android devices. File transfer, clipboard transfer, wake-on-LAN, and easy setup make it a great option for remote workers who basically need to access their desktop. It also supports two-step authentication.
Other alternatives to TeamViewer are Splashtop, Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDC) and Apple Remote Desktop (ARD).