Collaboration Tools for Remote Work

Google and Twitter have recently released statements encouraging their employees to work from home due to the lightning-fast spread of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). Companies aim to protect the health and safety of their workers and strive to lower the probability of the virus outbreak from spreading further. While there has been guidance on business continuity for the novel coronavirus, many businesses are still underprepared for their employees to work remotely. Using reliable collaboration tools is essential for working from home. These tools allow employees to complete their tasks efficiently and communicate with their coworkers and clients while continuing their workday in remote locations. With the right online collaboration tools for remote work, meetings can be held seamlessly with everyone in attendance, without requiring a conference room.

Here are our top collaboration tools for remote work:

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams (Teams) is a collaboration tool for remote work that brings communication and productivity solutions available through Microsoft into a focused workspace. It is included with the subscription of O365 and M365, along with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a variety of other business tools. Microsoft’s hub for teamwork, Teams enables effective communication by having the ability to host group chats, online meetings, calls, and web conferencing.  Here are some of the key features of Teams:

  • Seamless collaboration
    • Teams facilitates employee collaboration on files, with multiple users working on the same document at the same time. Having all solutions in one place for improved collaboration and information sharing as well as more efficient meetings saved users time from 1 to 8.0 hours per user per week.
  • Effective & efficient meetings that result in massive time savings
    • Research shows that thanks to Teams, most work and meetings have transformed into discussion threads. This results in massive time savings and resources. Information workers save 4 hours per week from improved collaboration and information sharing. Using Teams also results in the reduction of overnight trips, collaboration costs, and quicker decisions.
  • Reduced user downtime
    • Teams is reliable; research shows that Teams alone is estimated to reduce downtime by 14.6% because users had easy, online access to tools and information from any device. The platform also provides end-to-end security, administrative control, and compliance.
  • Customize your workspace
    • Teams enable users to customize their workspaces by adding their favorite Microsoft apps and third-party services to keep the business moving forward.
Cisco Webex Teams

The Cisco Webex Teams platform is another collaboration tool for remote work that allows teams to collaborate anywhere from any device, meet face-to-face over the internet, share information, and sketch out ideas in real-time. Webex Teams brings together a wide range of capabilities: virtual meetings, calls, messaging, file sharing, whiteboarding, and more tools to optimize teamwork. Webex Teams will help your business to stay in constant communication and continue collaborating during a possible pandemic. Here are some of the key features of Webex Teams:

  • Flexible ‘spaces’ and the ability to integrate with other tools for an uninterrupted workflow
    • Webex Teams seamlessly brings everyone together to communicate, share files, and easily integrate with other applications such as Google Cloud, and Salesforce to deliver complete collaboration experiences.
  • Meetings built for teams
    • Anyone at your company can start a Webex Teams meeting. Features include high-quality video meetings, screen sharing with annotation, and seamless whiteboarding. Webex Teams also offers native support for external video users; this means up to 200 video users can join each Webex Teams meeting.
  • Webex Teams is a great tool for Sales, Marketing, and Finance to collaborate
    • You can bring your teams together and address new opportunities, manage internal creative teams and external agencies, or share budgets quickly to keep projects on track. Webex allows all kinds of departments to collaborate, be it external and internal.
  • Enterprise-grade security
    • Not only is Webex Teams easy to use, but it’s also safe; no one outside your company will have access to your information unless you allow it. Webex Teams encrypts all messages and files from the moment you send them; this means any communication or file exchange that takes place on this platform will be 100% secure, and won’t be able to be accessed by anyone, not even Cisco.
Free Trials of Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams

To help businesses affected by the recent Coronavirus outbreak, both Microsoft and Cisco have offered extended periods for their free trials. Microsoft is offering a 6-month free license for the premium version of Microsoft Teams and will update the free version of Teams to allow users to schedule meetings for video calling. Cisco is offering a 3-month free license for Webex Teams and has released additional features including unlimited usage, support of up to 100 participants, and toll dial-in in addition to existing VolP capabilities.

Choosing between Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams as collaboration tools for remote work may be a challenge. SysGen can help! SysGen’s Digital Advisory team can not only help you install the technology in your workplace but will also offer end-to-end deployment for Microsoft Teams complete with full training to ensure that everyone is fully utilizing the application. Contact us today to discuss your options for the best online collaboration tool for your business.

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