If you are part of a team that has always worked in one physical location, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could be seriously affecting how you have traditionally worked together as a team. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, people are being forced to work remotely and the most difficult part is many people were not ready for that.

The problem is that working from home means having a different working environment with new challenges that may take time to solve before it can become a new normal. Fortunately, there exist practices and tools that can help with that.

With the cheese has moved, and here are a few things can consider and (free) tools to make your remote work a success.

A good and stable Internet connection

You need to have a good Internet connection, and also a redundant Internet connection. This is because any single connection can fail, and if it can fail, it definitely will.

In an urban setting, some people have home fiber connection or some other form of unmetered internet connection. However, you still need to have mobile Internet which can serve as a backup in the event that your primary internet connection is interrupted. For those who depend on mobile internet for connection, it is advisable to have a second one on standby to avoid disruptions.

Power backup

Most offices usually have the advantage of having standby power generators in case of a power interruption, but most people may not have that at home.

How do you cope with a power outage when working remotely?

In most cases, power will not be out for a long time without prior notice. You need to be ready for disruptions that last for two or three hours a day. A good laptop battery can help with this, or it can give you some time to finish pending tasks and inform your team that you might be unavailable for some time.

If you are not on lockdown, you can also think of an alternative working place you can work from if power is disrupted in one region. But the most important thing is to plan your schedule well and be several hours ahead of all deadlines so that you can have some buffer time to deal with the unforeseen contingencies.

Google Apps

Google came to help us find whatever we needed online and then won our hearts with the β€˜free’ Gmail service. Beyond that, most people do not know that there are a number of tools that individuals and organizations can use.

Google offers a number of services for free, although the same is available with enhanced features as G Suite. These include:

  • Gmail
  • Drive
  • Calendar
  • Docs
  • Meet

Gmail is a reliable email service while Drive offers Cloud storage space where you can store files and also make it easy to share them publicly or privately. A calendar is a good tool for scheduling meetings and activities while Google Docs offers a platform for working on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the cloud. These can easily be shared with coworkers and multiple people can be given access to edit or read.

Google Meet has been a premium product but with the COVID-19 pandemic, Google is offering it for free. This is a good tool for Cloud Meeting and an alternative to Zoom.

Zoom

For cloud meetings, Zoom has emerged as the frontrunner and you may need to have it because chances are that the person you want to connect to has ever used it. The premium version has more features but the basic one can save the day for short meetings.

If you are planning to have a meeting with fewer than four people, you could as well go with WhatsApp, for the simplest solution is the best to adopt at any time.

Slack

For team collaboration, slack helps keep communication moving without having to send an email for every simple communication. It makes it easy to organize communication into groups or teams, as well as allowing for private messages between team members.

Slack has a way of getting people to respond to communications easily, and the way the other advantage is that you can integrate several other apps right inside there.

Asana

The last is a project management tool which is very meant to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. This is essential because you may not have the chance to walk over to your colleagues’ desk and find out how far they are with the module that they are working on.

With a good project management tool like Asana, even projects for non-remote work can be handled better.

This list is not exhaustive, but it can give a guideline on where to start and how one can start making things work remotely. And if remote work becomes more common, the hustle of suit and commute will die, while geographical barriers that exist when one is looking for a job will end.

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