Building a culture within a professional environment takes time and dedication, and employees who spend time in such environments have the opportunity to connect with one another.
In unexpected scenarios, as we’re witnessing the ongoing pandemic, more businesses have had to send their employees home and attempt to retain and build the same, or similar levels of commitment and connection among their staff.
Managing a team is a challenge even without a stressful situation such as this health crisis, where tensions are high even on the best of days.
What makes it simpler for companies to accomplish this noble goal is technology! After all, you use it every day to stay informed, to keep an eye on your target demographic, and to stay connected to your customers via social media and your CMS systems.
There are dedicated tech tools and time tracking apps that help cross this particular bridge too – tools that are designed to manage communication more easily, but also to stay productive and keep growing that internal brand culture. Here are the most pivotal of those tools, and how you can use them in these difficult times to keep your brand strong and your employees productive!
1. Cloud-based collaboration done right
Email is still a prevalent communication channel for companies in every single industry. However, if your livelihood depends on quick and efficient communication, such as in the world of PR, then you need more advanced alternatives to simple email exchanges.
Preferably with stronger security measures and more opportunities to interact and collaborate. Dropbox has become a business favorite, and it serves as a cloud storage solution that also empowers companies to collaborate remotely with ease.
Of course, you can also use the classic Google Drive, or perhaps Microsoft OneDrive, whose many integrations simplify their use and allow your teams to safely store files, brainstorm in real-time, and communicate without delay.
2. Digital “water cooler” chitchat
Collaboration doesn’t solely depend on how your teams communicate on a professional level. Strong employee connections are also built thanks to those lunch breaks, team-building activities, and regular business events. Now that you cannot possibly attend any of the listed, you need a digital alternative for those bonding water cooler chat sessions.
In the past several years, Slack has remained at the very top of the most frequently used chat tools for companies of all sizes. It’s easy to integrate into your other tools, and the many features it offers make it a brilliantly simple choice for daily interactions, especially chitchat and quick calls to connect with your employees, check-in how they are, and exchange funny stories, personal anecdotes, and the like.
3. All-around communication with VoIP
To be successful and build their growth potential, companies need to masterfully handle any critical situation as well as they handle everyday interactions. On one hand, preparing a thorough crisis communication strategy will get you there, but you also need the right communication infrastructure that allows your business to thrive in the remote model.
Essentially, your employees need to be able to work seamlessly from home and implement the most effective communication practices, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology enables just that.
Comprehensive VoIP solutions come with a plethora of features that empower remote collaboration, not just one-on-one phone calls at a lower cost.
If you look at VoIP systems by Nextiva, you’ll see that you can also use video conferencing, the live chat feature, and the built-in collaboration platform with tasks, appointments, and reminders. All neatly placed on the cloud to significantly slash the costs of your entire communications strategy, such an approach will easily integrate all of your interactions into a single platform.
4. Project management tools for productivity
Offices serve more than just to build up the image of your business. They set the tone of your teams’ dynamics, they inspire cooperation, and they let people enter that “work mindset”. Much like you’d never cook in your bedroom or take a bath in the kitchen, the office creates the atmosphere our minds need to get productive.
That’s why it’s all too easy to procrastinate when we work from home, away from our teammates and supervisors – especially if you stay in your PJs and fluffy slippers.
Enter, project management tools that organize your workload, provide a digital insight into your progress, and let you communicate with anyone at any given time. If you look at Zoho’s functionalities, you’ll notice that a team can easily track project progress, conduct comprehensive analytics, and a bunch of similarly useful features.
Project management tools help streamline all of your work, no matter the department or the number of people working remotely.
5. Automation tools for a clean schedule
Automation is meant to help your teams manage their workloads, avoid menial, time-consuming tasks like tracking and reporting expenses or leads on spreadsheets, and focus on creative, brand-worthy work.
If you run a PR business or work with PR professionals in any capacity whatsoever, you already understand the importance of the human touch in that equation. As a result, many companies in PR avoid, or at the very least delay automating different portions of their operations, to retain as much as possible of their personal, human interactions.
However, in times when social distancing is the main course of the day, and you have stressed experts working from home, some amount of automation done right can make all the difference for your business as well as your relationships. Automation is meant to help your teams manage their workloads, avoid menial, time-consuming tasks, and focus on creative, brand-worthy work.
That’s why tools such as HubSpot, which enables marketing automation, and MailChimp for email automation have earned their rightful place in any modern business. By letting your teams not to handle every single aspect of every single task, you give them more time to build meaningful bonds, get creative, and collaborate with ease.
Collaboration in your business depends heavily on how prepared you are to adapt and keep an open mind for your employees’ ideas. Some might need more time to get the hang of your versatile cloud functionalities, while others might benefit from more video conferencing opportunities via your VoIP system.
Plus, keeping things organized with PM and automation tools will enable your teams to stay connected no matter the circumstances.
This is far from an ideal situation to completely switch to remote work, but it’s an opportunity you can use to establish your presence and provide your employees with precisely what they need to thrive. Start with technology, and these tools might be the perfect means to enable stronger company connections for the long haul.
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