Times and technology have changed considerably in recent years and when you look back just 10 years ago homeworking was very different compared with today, even the term has changed to Working from Home (WFH).
The advancement in technology for working from home has made the transition from working from an office or other place of work almost seamless and despite the lockdown, it’s still business as usual for thousands of companies.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic it was estimated that the number of people working from home in the UK had increased by more than 70% in the previous ten years to approximately 1.5 million homeworkers. You can probably treble that figure to give an indication of the number of people WFH during the lockdown.
This surge in the number of people WFH has resulted in tech companies enjoying extraordinary demand for their products and services. For example, Zoom, a video communications company, had 10 million daily users worldwide in December and figures released for March show demand had grown exponentially to an incredible 200 million users per day.
Zoom is not the only tech company playing a pivotal role in helping to make WFH easier so let’s look at other tech tools available.
This, more than any other facility, has transformed WFH. Zoom may be the market leader but there are other alternatives available. Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Whereby are just some of the other options for you to choose from. Have a look and decide which one best meets your needs at a price you can afford.
Workplace management tools
Slack is a group messaging platform that enables members to communicate with each other and access company data. Microsoft Teams, launched in 2016, is a chat based collaboration platform that acts as a hub enabling users to remotely work on projects together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organises work based projects into boards, allowing users to see who is working on what project and at what stage they are at.
Sococo takes things a step further by creating a virtual office where you can see the layout and who is working with who and in what room. This makes you feel less isolated and back to being part of a larger organisation. Remo is another choice for those businesses who like the idea of having a virtual office.
Peace and quiet
WFH usually means there are new sounds to get used to and they can often be distracting; from the neighbour mowing the lawn to dogs barking. This can have a serious effect on your productivity, so a simple solution is a pair of noise cancelling headphones. There are numerous makes and models available online including the Sony WH-XB900N from £139.
Another option is Noisli, which allows you to mix and match different sounds to create the perfect sound environment to work in, helping you to focus and boost productivity. Depending on what suits you best you can choose a diverse range of sounds from rainfall to waves and noise blockers such as white noise.
Time for a break
With all the focus on productivity it is important to remember to take a break. Tomates is an app for Mac, iPhone and iPad that uses the Pomodoro method – a time management method – to break the day into 20 minute segments with five minute rest periods.
Otter.ai is a transcription tool that will turn the spoken word into text using artificial intelligence (AI). Great for those long video meetings where nobody takes notes. The free version gives users up to 600 minutes of transcription every month.
There is a belief that once this pandemic is over the way we work will have changed for ever. Businesses may not have realised before the lockdown the technology that is available to make WFH such a smooth process. In fact, WFH is a very productive and cost effective way of working, so where it is possible, you can expect to see more businesses working this way in the future.