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One Stop Shop to Home Working

Working hard, or hardly working? That’s often a misconception when someone says they are ‘working from home’. Daytime TV, online shopping, never ending coffee breaks, all from the comfort of bed. But, working from home isn’t always as luxurious and simple as some may think. In many ways, it can be much harder than working from an office. You need discipline, motivation and you have to be content in your own company. But, the benefits of working from home are obvious – for both individuals and business owners. No commute, no overheads and no office distractions. And of course, in this current climate, it’s also the only option we have…

To help, Croft Communications, have pulled together their top ‘must have’ tools, equipment and software to ensure you and your employees can set up the perfect, home working environment, allowing everyone to stay as connected and productive as ever.

Unified communications
Having multiple channels of communication can be confusing. Did they ring for Anna, email for her or leave an IM? Having a unified communications system brings together all of your communication platforms into one efficient system, including voice calls, instant messaging, email and video. This is especially important when all your employees are in different locations and working remotely. Croft Communications offer an extremely efficient system,
which incorporates call forwarding to manage incoming calls easily, voice mail features to allow everyone to access voicemail anywhere, as well as sending email notifications when calls are received. When you have one streamlined channel to keep in touch with your colleagues and customers, you can keep on top of all projects on the go and not drop the ball.

Laptop, tablet and monitor
Many of us are used to an amazing desk space set up. We’re able to move effortlessly between multiple screens, expanding pages and doubling up on documents where we can. At home, we’re not always quite as lucky, owning usually one laptop as a maximum. Yet, there are often situations where having multiple working screens is vital in getting the job done efficiently. As such, we recommend supplying your staff with a minimum of one second monitor. There are multiple to choose from online at a reasonable price, so you don’t have to break the bank. Indeed it’s just as easy to use an old TV and to connect up with an HDMI cable. Speak to your staff about the options available, as quite often, time is money and two screens can make all the difference to work flow speed and accuracy.

Printing Facilities
Whilst many of us may be able to get away without having a printer, there are often situations when we need to scan, print or make copies of a document. If this is common in your staffs’ day to day, encourage them to invest in a multipurpose printer. Whilst working online is great, we’ll all agree that nothing quite beats a good old-fashioned highlighting and red pen annotation session. You can even give your staff money off towards the cost of ink.

Telephone Headset
With whole families currently working from home, our house isn’t necessarily any less noisy than the office was. Depending on your line of work, consider supplying your staff with a telephone headset so they can keep connected with customers, clients and colleagues throughout the day. You might even want to invest in noise cancelling, or wireless versions, so employees can hear customers on the other end, loud and clear, even if they are on the move. It also allows them to carry on typing whilst listening – multi-tasking at its finest.

Webcam and speaker
There’s nothing quite like seeing someone face to face. And whilst we can’t do that in the traditional sense of the word at the moment, video is the next best thing. Whilst most laptops are fitted out with a video camera and audio speaker, it’s important to make sure these are fully functioning so your staff don’t get caught off guard when a client calls. Set up an internal meeting with everyone to make sure they are all fit and ready for purpose.

Communication software
Keeping up a ‘teamly’ atmosphere and sense of connection is vital when everyone is working from home. There are some really great pieces of software you can download and sign up to as a team to make sure everyone is contactable and in the loop of what’s happening. Our favourites include Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. You can get them both on your phone and computer and can even share meeting invites with external clients to organise a time to speak. They are the perfect way to keep connected.

Online content platforms
Google Drive is a free data storage service provided by Google, which allows you to store important files, documents, pictures and more. It uses cloud-computing technology, which means that your data is always backed up online so you can access it no matter your location. Google Docs are also great tools to use as they allow you to share documents with colleagues in real time, so multiple people can work on them at once, without creating conflicting copies. You can even see who else is making edits to the document as you go.