7 Productivity Apps for Working from Home

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There are many companies now embracing work from home, especially with the current problems caused by the COVID-19 virus. Both Google and Facebook announced that they will let their employees to work from home until the end of 2020 if their work allows it. We can expect that some companies will follow in their footsteps and create a dynamic shift towards flexible hours and working arrangements.

While this allows workers to continue with their work at home and not have to worry about getting stuck in traffic or the long commute, it is not easy to do if you do not have the right tools you need for work at home to keep you going.

To help you set up your work from home computer and keep you productive, here are the best productivity apps you can use today:

1. Zoom

For meetings and group messaging, Zoom is one of the best apps you can try out. What makes Zoom great is the fact you can video call your teammates in HD and it can even accommodate up to 1,000 people in one meeting.

You can also send files in the app, as well as change your background as you video chat. This is a popular choice among many companies due to the ease of usage. You don’t even have to download their software to use it.

Read More: Best Video Conferencing Tools besides Skype and Zoom

2. Slack

Another instant messaging app that you can use for work is Slack. The app developers aim to replace emails using the app since teams can create channels to organize where messages should go to without having to spam emails.

Users can send files and links through the app, and they can opt out from a channel if they don’t want to follow it.

I really like using Slack and I wished more clients will move over from Skype to Slack.

3. Trello

For people who prefer to organize their work tables through a visual organizer, Trello is perfect.

The tool enables users to sort out their tasks through various columns and indicate which ones are important and which members should work on them.

Notifications will be given to all the members of the team and they can also edit the project page.

4. Dropbox

To make it easier to share files to your co-workers, you can use Dropbox. Dropbox allows users to share large files and store it in one platform.

There is also a special tab in the platform that allows teams to collaborate in one folder and also sort out to-do-lists through the Dropbox Paper tab.

5. Skype

Skype is an old name in the industry that offers video calls and messaging through various platforms like desktop or smartphones.

Aside from allowing users to have a group call to up to 50 people, the app also allows screen sharing and recording. You can also save these video recordings to your desktop.

Read More: Skype No Longer Accept Facebook Logins And The Crap Its Impacting Me

6. Google Drive

Like Dropbox, Google Drive allows users to share large files without having to use their email. It can also be shared easily between team members by sending the link of the file.

Since it is connected to Google’s platform, you can access your files from Google Docs and Sheets and edit them. You can also undo any of the changes your team members did on the app.

In case you run out of internet, you can check out the files offline.

7. WeChat

If you have colleagues living in China, WeChat is their communication staple, kinda like Whatsapp + Facebook.

Unfortunately, China has “the Great Firewall” to block out most communication apps like Whatsapp and Skype. Even accessing Google Docs will required them to use a VPN.

The only way out is to use WeChat for ease of communication and collaboration.

Conclusion

If you want to work at home, it is important that you check out the applications that will make your work faster and easier to do.

With these apps I mentioned above, I’m sure that you and your team will find it easier to work at home and keep things on time.

Want more tips to make your work at home a breeze? Check out these articles:
8 Mistakes To Avoid While Working From Home
How to Work at Home with Young Kids without Going Crazy
How to Make the Most of Your Day When Working Remotely

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Source: 7 Productivity Apps for Working from Home

Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19

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For the past couple of months, many workplaces have been shut down temporarily because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The virus can spread by having contact with infected droplets that an infected person can release through sneezing, coughing, speaking and exhaling. These droplets can also stay on surfaces for a long time and when touched, it can get into the body if one touches their face.

In the coming months, many countries will be easing their restrictions thus allowing more workplaces to open. However, it must be done with caution as we do not want to trigger another wave of infection when we just barely managed to flatten the curve. Everybody needs to pull their ranks and play their part, including businesses.

Hence, if you are a business owner, to prevent the spread of the virus in your workplace and be ready for the virus, here are some ways to do so:

Have workplaces regularly disinfected and cleaned

Always keep reminding your employees to disinfect their work stations regularly with alcohol or antibacterial wipes.

Wipe down table, computer, mobile phone and other things they have touched or used throughout the day. They should also clean it if someone has touched or used their stuff even for a short period of time.

Besides keeping your own work stations clean, have the cleaning company to increase their cleaning routine as well.

Promote regular hand washing and disinfection

A good way to combat the virus is by regularly washing your hands with soap or disinfecting them with alcohol or hand sanitiser.

Equipped your workplace with bottles of hand sanitiser placed in strategic positions like areas with the most human traffic ie. lifts, pantry, meeting rooms.

Practice good respiratory hygiene

While at work, you and your employees should wear a mask or face shields, especially if they will be speaking to each other during meetings or team building.

Teach your team the proper way of putting it on and off, and if they are using a disposable mask, make sure to replace them every 5 hours or as directed.

If you feel like you need to sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or your handkerchief. Dispose the paper tissue accordingly and disinfect any area that it touched.

Check the national guidelines for business trips during this time

If your employee needs to go for an essential business trip, check with the government with regards to business travel guidelines during the pandemic. You may be required to get a travel permit before you can do business trips.

You will also need to check with the arrival country on their entry and departure guidelines. Nobody wants to be stranded in a foreign country during this time so if travels can be postpone until later this year, try to do so.

Educate your employees about COVID-19

If your employees are still confused about the virus and what to do when the virus spreads in the community, do your best to explain it yourself. You can use the government’s COVID-19 resources to assist you in your efforts.

You can also reach out to conduct a special lecture on the virus and what can be done to prevent it, as well as how to act when a reported case is in the community or workplace.

Stagger Your Workforce

Instead of the normal office hours like pre-Covid days, stagger your employees to come into the office at different times and days.

A department can split into 5 to 7 groups of small clusters like these:
– Group 1 to report to work Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm
– Group 2 to report to work Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
– Group 3 to report to work Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm
– Group 4 to report to work Monday to Friday 10 am to 7pm
– Group 5 to report to work Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 4pm
– Group 6 to report to work Wednesday to Sunday 8am to 5pm
– Group 7 to report to work Saturday to Wednesday 9am to 6pm
– Group 8 to report to work Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 7pm

You can rotate them to be fair to everyone. Or get everyone to pick one weekday to be their off days. Not everyone prefers to be on off on Saturdays and Sundays.

Practice Social Distancing whenever possible

Space their work desk to away from each other. The further the better but 1 metre is the recommended physical space. Advice your employees not to gather during lunch time and if possible, stagger their lunch time as well.

If there are any team building events like company dinner or party, it is better to push them back until end of this year or early next year. You don’t want it to be known as the Killer Party of the Year.

Continue to Promote Remote Working

If it is possible, continue to allow your staff to work from home. It is of a lesser business risk to have most of your employees work from home than to have one infected case in your workplace that may result in a shut down for 14 days.

You can assume that this arrangement will probably be the new norm now until a vaccine is found or the infection is no longer threatening. Many international companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are now exploring to maintain work from home structure in the long run.

Conclusion

In these uncertain times, you can never tell when the virus can strike. Fortunately, everyone is now on high alert and there are ways to prevent its continuous spread. With these simple tips, you can definitely prevent it from spreading in your workplace and putting everyone’s health at risk.

For more Covid-19 related articles, you can find them here:
Covid-19: Malaysia Movement Control Order Announcement – Biggest Impact will be Workers
Covid-19: Employees asked to Take Unpaid Leave by Companies
Covid-19 Outbreak: What are Companies doing right by their employees

Can’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
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Source: Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19