The global response to the recent virus outbreak has been astonishing, with many schools, businesses, and public services shutting down, or people being advised to practice “social distancing.”
Many business owners have suddenly found themselves working from home… and advising their employees to do the same. Working remotely is a big change, and it can be tricky without the right systems in place.
The good news is that a lot of companies are offering special rates on their business tools to help with the transition. Here are six tools that can help your business succeed – some of which we actually use ourselves.
Zoom is a videoconferencing platfrom that we use daily for all our team meetings.
Although Zoom already offers a free service, this is being expanded for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
Educational services can apply to have the 40-minute time restriction on free accounts lifted, here. Additionally, in a blog post by its CEO, Zoom provided access to loads of resources for remote workers and businesses, and gave advice on how Zoom can be used to manage a temporarily remote workforce.
It also discusses the work they are doing to facilitate mental health training and online education.
For those just starting out with remote working, security may be a pressing concern. With your files and conversations now online, it could be especially daunting for those dealing with confidential client information.
Cloudflare is an IT services company that offers online security. They are specifically looking to help those smaller businesses who have smaller IT support teams. They are doing this by offering the Enterprise level features of their product Cloudflare for Teams free to small businesses, until September 1 with no commitment to continue using it after then.
They are also offering a free 30-minute onboarding session for those who take up the offer.
Box is an online file-sharing product which includes unlimited storage, Data Loss Prevention, and more.
Its CEO, Aaron Levie, announced that it have made its business edition free for 90 days. In addition to this free offering, Box, like many companies, is providing guidance on how to use their product for remote working.
You can sign up for Box business 90-day free trial, here.
CENTURY is a UK-based innovative online learning tool that uses AI to, “create a personalised learning path for each student, identifies gaps in knowledge and remedies misconception.”
It is offering free support to all schools and Further Education colleges that have closed due to the coronavirus outbreak., worldwide. This free support inlcudes access to thousands of learning resources in English, math, and science.
This may be particularly exciting to parents who are having to contend with the prospect of isolating their children at home for days or even weeks. Although they may not like it to start with, children do like to be kept busy!
Loom is a video messaging tool, that allows users to record a short video clip of themselves instead of email.
Because people talk six times faster than they type, Loom says you’ll save time and be able to communicate more clearly. Video messaging also allows you to see people’s expressions and hear their tone of voice, which improves clarity and prevents misconceptions about the message that is being conveyed. Loom also says that video messaging can improve information retention rates in the recipient, 95% compared to 10% with plain text messaging.
Their COVID-19 changes are quite extensive and include:
- Unlimited videos for Basic users
- Pro free trial extended from 14 to 30 days
- Pro is now 50% off
- Loom Pro free for the education sector, forever
- Students, teachers, admin staff
- Schools, universities, other educational institutions
Tandem is a virtual office tool. It integrates with many apps you’re likely already using, including Google Docs and Trello. It allows 1-on-1 and group video meetings, and has a minimal video call display so you can work while meeting, which Tandem says helps it feel like you’re working at the same table. It makes use of shared cursors, rather than screen sharing, so you can both work on the same screen instead of having one host.
To help with remote working due to coronavirus, Tandem is waiving fees for “the next few months“, and is providing a guide to businesses who are working remotely.
Many of these companies are also taking extra care of their infrastructure to ensure that online services operate smoothly and without hiccups during this period when people need them most.
We hope you’ve found this quick summary helpful, especially if you’re new to remote working and who may be concerned about the difficulty of maintaining productivity and communication.
Here at Beacon, we have some remote workers and we use remote working tools all the time, so we wanted to to share some of the tools that help us and give some support to those who need it.