The world, despite growing expansive with its use of technology to reach others over the years, has only more recently begun seeing the true importance of it on a global scale. Due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic, many businesses that may have previously only been offline have moved online with the hope that they can continue to function and work from home.
Obviously video call software such as Zoom is one of the most common ways of thinking and communicating online as a business, but there’s much more to it if you want to maximize output. Sharing documents, organising workload and tracking hours, these are all things that a business will likely have to find a way of managing digitally.
Here are five essential online business tools or areas of importance that should be utilised in some way shape or form to maximise the productivity of a business working over the internet.
An application that has come up in one of our previous blogs, Slack is an excellent communication tool, purpose-made for business. It is a desktop app which is also partnered with a mobile app, giving you the freedom to communicate with your colleagues/employees when you’re out and about. It has the capacity to create different chats and channels, meaning you can compartmentalise and keep chats to where they need to be. It even has video call capacity, so if you’d rather quickly jump on a call to discuss something then you can do that. Document sharing is also simple as things like Google Drive (which we’ll have more details on later) are integrated. You can share images, videos/gifs within chats and even create custom emojis if you want to find a better way of conveying that you need a new project to work on.
Whether it’s in the form of Slack or another application, having a platform to communicate with instant messaging while having the ability to organise this communication effectively with chats and channels is important for any business looking to operate online.
Monday.com is just one example of a number of websites built for the purpose of organising workflow. Despite the name, this would be used throughout a working week, not just on Mondays.
On a website like this you can create profiles for employees and create task boards so everyone has a clear idea of the work and assignments. You can set specific tasks for people with deadlines and each person can set the status of each assignment so everyone knows what everyone else is working on. Clear indicators provide guidance on what work is priority or not. Monday is also set up for files sharing and communication via these individual work boards. In addition to all of that, it integrates seamlessly with email so you get notifications whenever someone makes an alteration to one of your tasks or tags you name in another requesting you to do something for a colleague.
A much more simple concept that not every business will need, but for some it will be essential. Some businesses will employ part-time remote contractors or freelancers who will be paid by the hour. Clockify is perfect for tracking the hours that people like this work. All you do is enter the project that you’re working on and press play and the time begins. When you stop working you press stop and you can resume it if you continue to work on the same project.
It is the simplest way of tracking employee working hours and pay by the project without having to rely on the individual tracking it by their own methods. With a number of employees it is also very convenient that they are all in the same place. It’s also 100% free.
Google Drive is the equivalent of everyone in an office crowding around a computer, looking at the same documents while commenting on them and making changes at the same time. From Sheets to Docs to Slides and more, there are a variety of different types of documents which you can create and save in the online space of Google Drive. Folders can be created for files to be stored which can be very useful for organisation.
Arguably its stand-out feature is its ability to to allow multiple people to edit documents simultaneously. One person can be editing one part of a document while another edits a different part of it, while a third person is able to watch them make these alterations. You can also upload images, videos and more, saving space or personal hard drives or computers.
Possibly the most obvious tool to manage an online business, video conferencing software is essential. Despite the ability to use applications like Slack to communicate, meetings and face-to-face contact are generally quicker than messaging and easier to get information across clearly, potentially saving time by avoiding misunderstandings. Meetings are an important part of any business anyway, so it’s not exclusively for online businesses, but tools like Zoom, Teams and Google Meet are useful in keeping colleagues in contact. Fortunately, these platforms aren’t new/revolutionary, so they have been around for a while now and many have acclimatised themselves with the culture of video calls.
There is a range of video call software to choose from, so you can choose the one that suits your budget and accessibility. If you’re not sure which are the best ones, we have our own dedicated blog giving you our top five video conferencing software, so be sure to check it out!
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