Technology

Top Tech Platforms to Help SMEs Navigate Hybrid Working

Adam Harding | 21 March 2022 | 2 years ago

top tech platforms

The barriers to practical remote working have been toppled by technology and the COVID-19 pandemic and hybrid working is becoming the norm which sees employees split their time between the office and home (or another offsite location).

There are benefits for both parties, but this new way of working is creating challenges for many SMEs, particularly around communication, collaboration and management. These are easily overcome, though.

Adam Harding, Chief Technologist – Digital Workspace at Softcat rounds up some of the best low cost and low code tech platforms and tools that can help SMEs navigate the complexities of hybrid working and leverage the benefits of a more flexible approach…

Time Management

 The extent to which companies monitor time use and productivity within their business and teams differs greatly.

If you’re looking to understand time management at an individual, team or department level, the free-to-use Toggl is a stopwatch style project-based tool. It can create easy to understand reports daily, weekly or monthly, and can help employees understand their workload and productivity, as well as provide useful insights for leaders too.

Before introducing time management tools, you’ll need to clearly explain the reasoning behind doing so – you don’t want to give the impression you have little trust in your employees. It’s a positive step to boosting productivity, as well as identifying areas where improvements can be made, or extra support is needed.

Document collaboration

 Often underestimated and misunderstood, effective document collaboration is an absolute game-changer for teamwork, auditability, speed and accuracy within a hybrid working model.

Truly cohesive outputs read like they were created, edited and improved by a group of people on the same page in the same room. To replicate this experience for remote colleagues it is crucial that teams use a simple cloud-based application that enables people to co-create, review and update a single copy of a document or spreadsheet live.

Several options are available, but Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 are the standout candidates in this field.

Task Management

This is not about micro-management, this is about setting clear expectations, creating cross-silo visibility, and avoiding unnecessary duplication and confusion.

Task management platforms can be updated by multiple team members, customised to promote productivity and help to provide a clear overview of timelines – particularly good for project-based work.

There are several options available including Basecamp, Monday, Trello, and Asana. Most will have free and different paid-for options based on the size of your team, security needs and budget.

Whichever you opt for, where possible, ensure these are integrated with your Microsoft Teams, Slack or other collaboration tools.

Password Management

Hybrid working can make password management and cyber security more complex, for employees and organisations.

Password managers, like LastPass, make it possible to have unique, random passwords for every single account, storing them all in one place. And for businesses, these tools can offer vital protections such as bringing access and authentication together to securely manage user identity, getting rid of passwords once and for all.

Instant messaging

We have all grown accustomed to quick communication with our friends and family via instant messaging, but these types of apps can also support businesses within a hybrid working model too.

Email isn’t an immediate medium any more given the sheer volume we receive every day. If you need a more instant way of communicating with individuals or teams, and a place where you can be informal and conversational, try Slack.

However, video wins every time for remote communication. Video is rich, immediate and leaves little room for misinterpretation, so if you can’t all be together, opt for the best replacement for in-person conversation when you can.

Topic

Technology

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