Due to the pandemic, companies are forced to find ways to keep their businesses open during the lockdown, despite closed offices and mandatory social distancing all over the world. Did you know that 44% of companies globally don’t allow employees to work from home?
However, it seems like that number might change. Many employees have to be allowed to work from their homes during the COVID-19 crisis. According to a survey conducted in 2020, employees are recommending remote work to others, and they don’t want to return to an in-office setting.
Popular Apps for Working From Home Amid the Pandemic
Three great apps that you can use while working remotely during COVID-19 are Slack, Asana, and Zoom.
121,783 companies use Slack, the majority being located in the US. It serves as a virtual conference room. It has various features, like Communities, Channels, and Threads, as well as the ability to set your status and availability, drop files, and more.
If you’re working remotely for a company, communicate with your teammates in a channel. A channel in Slack is a place where a team collaborates and shares messages, tools, and files. There’s usually a general channel, where announcements are made, but teams can make customized channels, like for a specific project.
Messages in channels are posted in real-time, so you don’t have to worry about missing a message from your boss or coworker, especially if you’ve set desktop notifications. If you find yourself receiving notifications from too many channels, you can mute the channels you don’t need. This will lead to fewer distractions during your working hours and increase productivity.
Threads in Slack are used to organize discussions, give feedback on a specific message or file, or encourage open discussion without distracting others. Also, if there’s a need to voice or video call a team member, there are features that allow users to do that.
And lastly, another useful feature is Asana for Slack. The two connect—and Asana can be used without leaving Slack.
Asana is used by over 700 companies, mostly located in the United States. It’s an app used to organize teams, projects, and individual tasks.
Asana has five areas where users can access My Tasks, Inbox, Conversations, Teams, Projects, Search, Calendar, progress on files, and more. Using Asana integrated with Slack enables you to create new tasks, turn Slack messages into tasks, take action on tasks, get notifications, and link Asana projects to channels. Let’s focus on My Tasks, Inbox, and Conversations.
From the Homepage, you can favorite or unfavorite a project, reorder your favorite projects, or view recent projects. The projects you favorited will be shown at the top of the homepage and the sidebar.
My Tasks lists the tasks assigned to you. Tasks are organized into four priority sections: Recently Assigned, Today, Upcoming, and Later.
The Inbox is your notification center for Asana. You can choose to turn email notifications on or off. You can also archive notifications that you don’t need.
Your messages will be found under Conversations. You can have conversations with your entire team or for a specific project. Team Conversations are used to share team-wide announcements, celebrate accomplishments, or talk about multiple projects at a time. In contrast, Project Conversations are used to have project-level discussions, brainstorming, or any topic that goes beyond a single task.
If you need to make a call in Asana, it’s essential to know that you can’t make calls directly. For calling, you need to integrate Asana with GoToMeeting or Zoom.
22,777 companies use Zoom, the majority of which are located in the US. It’s a web-based video conferencing tool that offers quality video and audio, as well as wireless screen-sharing across different operating systems.
The Basic version of Zoom is free, with an unlimited number of meetings, usually 40 minutes at a time per meeting (a limit temporarily removed for primary and secondary schools affected by the Coronavirus). If you’re a teacher working from home due to your school being closed because of COVID-19, you can enjoy this convenience.
Zoom has the following products: Meetings and Chat, Rooms and Workspaces, Phone System, Video Webinars, and the App Marketplace.
You can schedule your meeting, schedule a recurring meeting, require registration for a recurring meeting, and customize your meeting options—such as setting scheduling privileges, meeting passwords, video and audio, and others. You can also invite attendees, add integrations, and record or live-stream your meeting.
A Zoom Room serves as a conference room with a ready cloud-based communications technology solution. It’s available for Mac and Windows operating systems. The room allows you to share multiple desktops simultaneously and provides wireless sharing options for guests and people on your network. You can save whiteboarding sessions and open up to 12 whiteboards at a time.
Video Webinars allow you to host online events with up to 100 interactive video participants. Users can mute and unmute panelists or promote an attendee or panelist for enhanced engagement. You can get reports on registrants, attendees, polls, attendee engagement, and Q&A for follow up. Event assistance is also available if you happen to need it.
While not every company can and will allow employees to work from home, more and more people are working remotely in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apps like Slack, Asana, and Zoom can boost employees’ productivity by offering numerous useful features. Most of them are easy to use, and there are guides and training available online. In these trying times, when we’re forced to isolate from one another, video chatting helps companies keep that human connection as well as high employee productivity.