As this past year has catapulted many of us toward full remote working, multiple organizations simply weren’t prepared and didn’t have the processes or tools to cope. Nor did they fully understand how to motivate and manage remote employees. It’s been a learning curve, and it’s persisting.
Of course, many would argue that remote work is the way of the future, and if this is the case, companies must be better prepared. We need to equip our employees with software and communication tools to work and interact with colleagues. We need to know what tech we need, but equally, we should know what tech we don’t need for remote working, as well as what tech is simply overrated.
Let’s have a look at some of the unnecessary or overrated technology for remote work.
Some managers panic in the face of remote working — if employees aren’t present in the office, how can we keep an eye on them? How can we ensure they are doing work? How do we know they are being productive?
For some, the answer comes in the form of time-tracking software, which tells managers how long and how often employees are working. Some solutions also capture periodic screenshots of employee work.
But is time-tracking software really necessary? Many claim not, and some go a step further and say that time-tracking software can be detrimental to trust, productivity, and performance. After all, isn’t it simply another form of micro-management, effectively peering over an employee’s shoulder?
Critics of time-tracking software argue that employers should shift their focus to goals and work completed, rather than hours worked. What truly matters is that people complete assigned work and that the work furthers company success. Furthermore, hours spent sitting down at a computer is not a great gauge of productivity. To ensure goals are hit, managers and employees need to create those goals together, discuss them openly, and regularly revisit them.
Paid Video-Chat Software
We need to keep the bottom line in mind, and this is one area where businesses can save money. While you can pay for video-chat software, there are a lot of free alternatives that do the same job. For example, while many businesses choose to pay for Zoom, others find that Google Hangouts is a better solution for them, given that it is free and unrestrictive.
Meanwhile, some have also pointed out the potential vulnerabilities of software such as Zoom. An article by eFax discusses the security problems of Zoom, which saw 500,000 hacked user-account details being sold on the dark web. This just goes to show that paying money doesn’t always offer peace of mind.
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Paid Scheduling Software
While we’re discussing money-saving alternatives, we need to discuss scheduling software. There are options out there that you can pay for, but this isn’t always necessary. There are free alternatives that work well — one great example is Google Calendar. You can organize meetings, one-on-one catch-ups, and set reminders for client meetings. Team calendars can even be created to keep everyone on the same page.
Work Cell Phones
Once upon a time, most professionals had a cell phone for work purposes. It made sense back in the day before the advent of video-conferencing software. Today, we need to question the importance of mobile phones for work.
What are they being used for? If it’s for internal communication, tools such as Slack or Google Meet are far more effective. If, on the other hand, cell phone conversations are for external and client calls, we have video-conferencing software to use instead.
So while cell phones are “nice to have” for remote working, the reality is that they are certainly not a necessity in the modern era.
Ultimately, by saving money on the tech above, you free your organization up to invest in more fitting software — software that will make a real difference to your productivity and bottom line. What’s most important is that we see past all the bells and whistles to look at what the software is offering and whether it’s compatible with our company’s culture, aims, and objectives.