At the beginning of 2020, it’s safe to say most companies didn’t pay too much attention to video conferencing and meeting software. Why would they? Unless there was an outside client who couldn’t easily travel to the office for a meeting, the need to find, vet, set up, and utilize virtual meeting software was an afterthought.
Then 2020 and COVID-19 happened. Within a few short weeks, workers in many locations were quickly ushered into working at home, and the ability to mimic being in the office together was at a premium.
Almost a year into the pandemic, it’s possible some companies are looking to change things up and try something new when it comes to internal communications.
Here are some other tools to consider trying to keep your team communicating effectively.
Imagine a world that doesn’t heavily rely on email, in which people can talk one-on-one or in groups, sharing documents, ideas, and even a laugh. That’s what Slack is great for: It’s a way for a company to create “channels” for communication, tracking progress, sending instant messages and documents seamlessly. It’s also fairly intuitive and expandable, allowing people to add to and create groups quickly and set up open communication lines around the world. It’s a big hit with companies like IBM, Oracle, Airbnb, and more than 8 million users. There’s also a virtual meeting and video call component for impromptu discussions. It’s also free to start, with paid levels starting at $2.60 USD per month for a standard license, increasing to a higher premium for more expansive service.
2. Google Meet (formerly Google Hangout)
If your company has embraced a Gmail-based email system, it will make sense and an easy transition to try Google Hangouts. This is an integrated communication system that allows for video calls and chats from within Google’s interface. It also offers screen sharing capabilities, so people working on a project together can review presentations and make edits in real-time, plus it works seamlessly with all other Google-based offerings, including Documents and Drive. The basic program is free to use; for more complex and involved accounts, fees start at about $10 per month.
3. Microsoft Teams
In the early days of the pandemic, there were plenty of commercials singing the praises of this program, as doctors on TV told us how quickly and easily they were able to share research, files and work together from around the world. Teams offer support for meetings as large as 250 participants, in addition to integrated recording and file sharing with just a few clicks. As a Microsoft product, it can seamlessly integrate into Office and Outlook, making it easy to schedule meetings. Teams are free to download and use for both iPhone and Android phones, with paid plans starting at $5 per month.
4. Cisco WebEx
Much like the other alternatives, WebEx offers chat and file sharing functionality for coworkers across a network. But WebEx also offers whiteboarding capabilities, allowing people to work together in real-time to brainstorm and edit ideas. It’s the closest way to mimic working together in a conference room from the comfort (and safety) of your living room. Prices range from $0 per month to $26.95, depending on a company’s size and needs.
5. GoTo Meeting
This web-hosted video conferencing platform uses multi-layer encryption technology to keep users on both sides of the call safe and secure. Meetings can also be recorded in real-time and shared later, and if control of the presenting screen needs to be handed off at any point in the meeting, it can be done with the click of a button. File sharing and document collaboration are integrated, and meetings can be scheduled in advance. Up to 150 participants can utilize GoTo Meeting on the basic plan, at a rate of $12 per organizer per month, with fees increasing as capabilities and users increase.
Don’t feel restricted to just one tool for working remotely! There’s a whole world of options available, with more coming online every day as the world adjusts to the new demand for remote work options.
Find What Works Best for Your Company
If you’re unsure which tool works best for your company and your needs, contact Debbie’s Staffing. We’re ready to walk you through your options and help you find the right fit for your specific environment. And if you’re looking for new employees comfortable with working remotely and eager to join your team, we can help with that too! Call us today, and let’s get started.